According to local legend, this vast chasm - it has a diameter
of almost thirty-five metres - was created by the Devil, who
challenged Saint Martin to leap across it in order to save the
souls of peasants sentenced to damnation. Naturally, Saint Martin
In fact, Le Gouffre de Padirac was first explored in 1889 by
lawyer and explorer Édouard-Alfred Martel, who quickly saw the cave
system's potential as a public attraction. Funded by brewing
entrepreneur George Beamish, Martel was able to invite the caves'
first visitors in 1898.
More than a century later, Le Gouffre de Padirac is considered one
of the world's foremost underground attractions. The spectacular
initial chasm can be descended either by stairs or by lift. A
gondola ride along a tranquil subterranean river then transports
visitors deeper into the cave system where the beautiful rock
formations within further chambers can be explored.
In an area of France renowned for its caves, visiting Le Gouffre
de Padirac stands out as a truly unique and unforgettable