The Aven d'Orgnac is a subterranean cavity classed as a Grand Site de France and situated near the town of Orgnac-l'Aven, to the south of the limestone plateau of the gorges of the Ardèche river in the Ardèche department of the Rhône-Alpes region.
With its origins going back more than 100 million years, the Aven d'Orgnac presents a sight of spectacular beauty. Time has fashioned fabulous and wildly diverse crystalline formations that can be seen in the gigantic chambers.
Thanks to the speleologist Robert de Joly and his team, we can today visit and admire the site. It was during an expedition in 1935 that the explorer made the discovery of a lifetime. The town then quickly carried out the necessary work and the cave opened to the public in 1939.
The Second World War brought about the closing of the cave and it did not reopen until 1946. Different works and the installation of the elevator have now allowed for a complete tour of the chambers.
There are three chambers.
The first, called the Robert de Joly chamber, invites you into a totally dream-like world of remarkable stalagmites standing there since millions of years ago and reaching heights of 11 metres beneath a 30-metre high ceiling!
The Chaos chamber lies 100 metres below the ground; the colours, lights, shapes and arches are extraordinary. You can admirer the white, nearly translucent calcite draperies along its sides.
The Red chamber is the deepest, buried at 121 metres below the ground. Six million years ago an underground river flowed through it, shaping the gallery. The natural and grandiose décor is enhanced by a sound and light show that will make for everlasting memories of your visit.
A tour of the City of Prehistory should not be missed either. You will discover there the daily life and activities of our ancestors. It's a trip through 350,000 years. Go “meet” the pre-Neanderthal, the Neanderthal man and others up to present-day Man. A fascinating, animated and fun tour of sound and touch shows you the life of the hunters, the gatherers, the animal farmers and also the metalworkers of the time.
The Aven d'Orgnac is in the heart of a holm oak forest in which, during a stroll or a hike, you will discover the natural heritage of the Ardéche.
In the area around the Aven d'Orgnac
Vallon Pont d'Arc: a spectacular natural stone arch carved out by the Ardèche river
Gorges of the Ardèche: 40 kilometres long with remarkable landscapes
The Caverne du Pont d'Arc where you can admire a splendid recreation of the Chauvet Cave .
Organ case at the Aven d'Orgnac
Esplanade of the site of the Aven d'Orgnac
Neanderthals at the Aven d'Orgnac
La Grotte et la Cité de la Préhistoire - 07150 Orgnac-l'Aven
+33 (0)4 75 38 65 10http://www.orgnac.com