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No, we didn’t know what a ‘gouffre’ was either! However, we were conscious that as residents of Perigord we had not visited any of the amazing caves that can be found in the region. As some friends were visiting late in the season we decided to visit Padirac, as through the Summer the majority of our guests had recommended it as their favourite of the abundant cave sites here.

We headed off to the ‘chasm’ of Padirac which is about an hour’s scenic drive. We were lucky to go late in the season as many of our guests experienced very long queues in the high season.

As can be seen in the picture above, you can take the lift or the stairs deep into the chasm, and then it’s a short underground wander to the next stage which is a boat trip through the underground river! The crystal clear cold waters take you to another section where you then take a guided walk through the amazing caverns further along the river, where the rooftops are covered with spectacular stalactites, and on the floor stalagmites and pools are formed by millions of years of erosion.

There are some steep sections on the short guided walk which some older visitors found tricky. After the walk you return to the boat and are taken back to your starting point.

Outside there are several restaurants and refreshment areas to refuel if you decide to take the stairs back up to the surface instead of the lift!

More details can be found on the Gouffre de Padirac website.