Visit Les Grottes de Maxange
The Grottes du Maxange is a marvellous natural cave found on the edge of Le Buisson de Cadoin
Exploring the Grottes de Maxange
The Grottes de Maxange is two caves - a lower and upper cave which have been linked to make the visit possible. Most of the action is in the upper cave which has the most amazing ceilings. All along the long, narrow cavern are thousands of tiny 'excentriques' or eccentric concretions.
These are tiny stalactite-type formations but instead of growing vertically they grow in all directions producing an astonishing and beautiful display of tiny swirling concretions.
In one area there is a wall of these 'excentriques' and all along are the cave the ceiling is covered.
The cave has been carefully lit to maximise the beauty of the spectacle.
Formation of 'Excentriques'
The display of excentriques in the Grotte de Maxange is very rare, normally caves produce traditional stalactites or stalagmites. To form excentriques the rock must be particularly porous so that water oozes out. However the water flow must be very slow so that the water evaporates rather than falls. The capillary pressure of the water is higher than the gravitational pressure allowing the water to travel in any direction - even upwards. This process is infintessimally slow but all the while as the water evaporates, the calcium is deposited and the almost coral-like concretions result.
Relatively few caves have these conditions and whilst a small patch of excentriques can be seen at some other caves the sheer number in the caves of Maxange is amazing.
History of the Grottes de Maxange
The Grottes de Maxange were only discovered very recently. Whilst quarrying in July 2000, a narrow cavity was spotted. Curiosity drove Angel Cablallero, the owner of the quarry, to explore further. With the help of some friends he excavated earth and enlarged the cavity and eventually managed to squeeze into a space where he could see the wonderful formations on the ceiling ahead of him.
Experts were invited to view the concretions and they confirmed the highly unusual nature of the caves, full as they are of eccentric concretions.
Over the next two years tons of earth were excavated to enable a walking passage through the cave to be created.
The caves were opened in 2003. Their name is a mix of Maximilian (Angel's father) and Angel.
Grottes de Maxange Information
Address: Mestreguiral, 24480 Le Buisson-de-Cadouin; tel:05 53 23 42 80
The caves are open from the 8th April to the 11th November.
April, May, June and September: 10h00-12h00 and 14h00-18h00
July and August: 9h00-19h00
October and November: 10h00-12h00 and 14h00-17h00
Prices: Adults 8.50 euros and 4-12 years 5.90 euros
For further information see http://www.lesgrottesdemaxange.com/gb/accueil.htm
Places to visit near to the caves
The bamboo garden of Planbuisson is also on the edge of Le Buisson de Cadouin and there is an excellent river beach here if you wish to relax and do some swimming and sunbathing.