Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tuesday 6th October: Aven d'Orgnac

I was really pleased this morning to find a Wood Mouse in one of the small mammal traps, and 4 small fish inside the Crayfish trap….well, it’s a start!!

With dark clouds threatening for the first time during the holiday (though rain never materialised in the end) we decided to visit the Aven d’Orgnac, a cave complex fairly close to where we are staying. This is advertised as a Grand Site de France and we found it the most amazing experience. The Cavern complex was discovered by Robert de Joly and his team of potholers on 19th August, 1935. The stalagmites and stalactites in the first of the 3 caverns open to the public made amazing shapes. The large stalagmites are called plate stacks because the drops that form them have dropped from a great height and splashed outwards, as opposed to the finer stalagmites that form under lower roofs.

This is a photo of the Organ Chest. You can just see a large urn in the middle. It contains the remains of Robert de Joly – he died in 1968 and requested that this be his last resting place! After descending some 700 steps over the hour’s guided tour, and enjoying a constant refreshing 11 degrees C temperature, we found ourselves in the last cavern and what followed was a dramatic music and lights show such as only the French can organise! I would’ve loved to have climbed the stairs back to the surface and taken in even more of the amazing grandeur of this experience, but there was a lift waiting for us, and we slowly ascended back to the surface where the warm sunshine enveloped us as we stepped outside!

No comments:

Post a Comment