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News & Events

from 08 to 16 november 2008
Salon Marjolaine
Bio & Sustainable Development
At the Parc Floral in Paris, the fair exhibition Marjolaine is the event of bio and eco-consumer responding to the needs of those who decided to make another choice of life and society.

from 15 to 23 november 2008
Week of Solidarity
The world is changing, and you?
The 11th week of international solidarity invites you to participate to more than 5000 original animations and friendly throughout France.

18 november 2008
"Children from here, children from elsewhere"
Game-animation created and hosted by Hum Anim, intervention at the primary school of Beauville (47) within the week of international solidarity in the class of GS/PA for children 5 and 6 years.

The Pit of Padirac...

  Pech Merle Padirac Photo Gallery  
The Pit of Padirac
History and Creation

The Pit of Padirac is a monumental entry of natural cavity, of 35 meters diameter approximately, at the bottom of which, with 103 meters of depth, a river runs underground which course part of a wide-area network of more than 40 kilometers of development.

The formation of the pit is due to a collapse of the vault at one undetermined period. We simply know that there existed already at the 3rd century of our era. In 1907, there existed still a small wall in dry stones and remainders of an ancient hearth on the ground of the detrital slope of the pit. Armand Viré thought that these vestiges had been left by defeated of the One hundred Year old War. « Ashes, coals, remains of kitchen and weapons were found there » and were exposed thereafter to public in a window at the entrance of pit. He was inhabited at the end of the 14th century like in the end 16th century. At that time, according to Guyon of Malleville, the men benefit from the climatic conditions place to extract some from salpetre. The speleologist Edouard-Alfred Martel was the discoverer of the river underground of the pit of Padirac.

Tourist Exploitation

In 1897 and 1898, Armand Viré was charged to arrange the pit. The metal staircase was designed and manufactured by the house Carpenter and Bush of Puteaux. The first tourist visits took place 1st November 1898, but the official unveiling was organized on April 10th, 1899 under the presidency of the state minister of education Georges Leygues. Today 1.1 km of galleries, on the 40 explored km, can to be visités.

By 1900, electric lighting was installed under the direction of Mr. engineer Roumazeilles. In 1906, a small power plant fed the pit. Since the years 1930, the access to the underground river is done by elevator, the being done remainder of the visit on foot (approximately 1,300 m) and in the boat (700 m). The length of the underground river is of 2,400 meters and its depth varies from 50 cm to 4 m, the temperature of water is constant with 10.5 °C, that of the cave is always of 13 °C.

Padirac holds the record of frequentation for underground tourism in France: more than 350,000 visitors a year with a record of 460,000 entries in 1991. 85 people, as a majority of the seasonal workers, are employed by the speleological development company of the pit of Padirac.