The Gouffre de Padirac is one of the largest chasms in Europe. Discovered by the famous French cave explorer Edouard Martel, it was opened to the public in 1899. More than 24 million visitors (and counting) have come to marvel at this natural wonder, and it continues to enthrall those who see it.
In times gone by it was often referred to by the local population as the devil’s hole, and it’s a sight to behold as you and other awestruck visitors gaze down into the enormous 75-metre chasm into the earth, 33 meters wide. This enormous sink hole then leads into a cave system, created by millennia of subterranean underground water erosion which has carved out spectacular caverns in the limestone, full of enormous stalactites and stalagmites deep under the ground.
First, you descend by lift or the impressive metal staircase, the design of which was inspired by the Eiffel Tower of Paris. Once at the bottom, you can’t help but look up in wonder at the small circle of sky that now looks decidedly faraway.