We decided on one big day out and plumped to go to le Gouffre de Padirac, which is a huge underground cavern and waterway system. It was over a hours drive from where we were staying but it was worth it. The drive itself was quite a interesting thing as it was nearly up hill all the way and if we could have gone as the crow flies it would probably of only taken us about 15 minutes. The roads were a like a slalom course of steep up hills and down hills with acute bends and the most amazing views.
On the way to the gouffre we stopped at the beautiful place called Rocamadour. It is the most gorgeous place and is at the top of a very high ravine, with a town and monestry hanging off the cliff face on one side. I stopped to take a photo, hanging out over the ledge to do so and my legs went all wobbly because of the height. That's never happened to me before. For more photos and info look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocamadour
|Rocamadour with the village below it|
And from such highs came huge lows - at the Gouffre de Padirac. The Gouffre de padirac is a giant abyss in the ground that is 105 meters or 345 feet (in old speak) deep. To get down (or back up) you need 3 lifts or 550 steps. It's so popular we had to queue for 45 minutes to go down.
The Gouffre was discovered in 1889 by Edouard-Alfred Martel. Can you imagine being lowered down on a rope with 1800's technology and discovering something like that, it must of been mind blowing. Currently 2.5 kms of tunnels are open to the public but 40 kms have been discovered. There is loads of info on their website and also lots of cool videos and animations. http://www.gouffre-de-padirac.com/#/en
Well we descended down down down into the depths, we were aloud to take pictures until we got to the boats. We had to dress warmly even though it was 34 oc outside in the caves it holds a steady 13-14 oc. The tour guides were really funny and they must have one of the best jobs in the world paddling through that lake system underground every day. When we finally came out we were quite tired it was a hour and a half journey through the system with lots of stairs to climb in between boat rides to get to all the levels. But I would recommend it to anyone.
|Further in and at the mouth of the caves.|
|Part of the lake system|