“A natural wonder, as old as time itself.”

A visit to the caves at Padirac is simply an amazing adventure for kids and adults alike.

The Gouffre de Padirac is one of the largest chasms in Europe and was opened to the public in 1899. Can you believe that more than 24 million people have visited so far and it continues to amaze all who see it?

It was previously referred to by locals as the “devils’ hole” and the chasm itself (being 75 ms deep and 33ms wide) leads to a collection of underground caves, created by thousands of years of water erosion carving out spectacular grottos in the limestone.

The caves are full of rock formations, underground pools and gigantic stalactites and stalagmites* and a joy to behold.

You can buy tickets on arrival but we would suggest you book online to avoid disappointment. It is worth looking into all of the packages available, especially if you are travelling with a group. Often they offer all-inclusive deals including lunch, parking, a guided tour and the boat trip.

We would also recommend that you bring jumpers or raincoats as it is damp inside the caves and often a little chilly even if the temperatures outside are soaring.

On arrival, you can pick up audio guides which are translated into every language imaginable. Our tickets included a Gondola type boat trip along the river, deep underground!

The kids were very excited and the parents a little apprehensive. To reach the gondolas, and to start the real adventure,  you can navigate your way down 100s of steps or simply hop in the lift.  The caves themselves are breath-taking. There are little stairways everywhere and lots to explore. Once we reached the boats, we were greeted by very exuberant guides, each of whom spoke perfect English and were able to put us immediately at ease.

The boats are a little wobbly, so caution is needed getting in and out and buggies are not recommended. Although fantastic for slightly older kids, parents may struggle slightly with babies and toddlers.

For young children, however, this is not only a day of sightseeing, it is a magical adventure which they will remember for years to come.

*Mark, Pagel’s founder asked me to include these! They each refer to mineral deposits in a cave, but stalactites form on the ceilings of caves, while stalagmites are found on the ground.

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