Out and about my weekend a la lyonnaise

To stay cool, go underground!

Julie Masson
By Julie
Published on 19/05/2023

Sometimes, when it gets stiflingly hot in the summer, an outdoor activity is the last thing you want. Our suggestion? Grab a sweater and head to one of the region’s caves to explore the cool underground world!

Les Grottes de la Balme

Lying in the northern part of Isère, these caves offer more than one kilometre of underground passages to explore, where you can hear a hidden river rumbling deep below. What’s more, you can learn about the 23 bat species that have made their home here. These little winged mammals fascinate some and give others the creeps, but there’s no need to worry as, unless you’re a mosquito, they will probably leave you well alone.

Les Grottes du Cerdon

You will find more than just caves here! Located in the Ain, this site includes an underground passage between stalactites and stalagmites, as well as a prehistoric leisure park with lots of activities that will get you back in touch with your neolithic roots. 

La Grotte Chauvet 2 

Imagine yourself contemplating the first of humanity’s masterpieces... A replica of the real cave, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chauvet 2, in Ardèche, offers a chance to get up close to cave paintings dating from 36,000 years ago! Make sure you don’t miss the new immersive show ‘Animal, de la Préhistoire au Street Art’ (Animal, from prehistory to street art). 

La Grotte de Choranche

Located in the heart of the Vercors, this cave is crossed by two underground rivers and contains thousands of stalactites that are as fine as straw. It is a unique sight in Europe! Another wonder of nature to be discovered, the giant ‘Salle de la Cathédrale’ (cathedral room), nearly 25 metres high, features a spectacular sound and light installation.

La Grotte de la Pierre de Volvic

While Volvic is famous for its mineral water, the star of this former mining tunnel in the heart of an ancient lava flow is the Volvic stone! Over the course of a fun and immersive trail, discover the history of this volcanic rock, its everyday uses and the work of quarrymen in the Puy-de-Dôme in the early twentieth century.