Grotte de Lorette

Grottes de Lorette-Rochefort - Grottes de Rochefort

Useful Information

Location: Drève de Lorette, B-5580 Rochefort.
E411 (Brussels-Luxembourg) exit 23 (Wellin). Han/Lesse is 5 km further. Follow signs to Grottes de Han, stay on same road for 3 km to Rochefort. In Rochefort turn right, uphill, signposted.
(50.155262, 5.226582)
Open: APR to JUN Sat, Sun, Hol 10:30, 12, 14, 15:30.
JUL to AUG daily 10:30-16:45, every 45 min.
SEP to mid-NOV Sat, Sun, Hol 10:30, 12, 14, 15:30.
Fee: Adults EUR 12.50, Children (4-11) EUR 8.
Groups (): Adults EUR 8, Children (4-11) EUR 5.50, School Pupils EUR 5.50, reservation mandatory.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightLED Lighting LightSon et Lumière
Dimension: L=6,595 m, T=8 °C.
Guided tours: D=75 min, St=600, Max=25.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Yves Quinif, Marc Legros (2021): Stratigraphie dans la Galerie Ouest de la Grotte de Lorette (Rochefort, Belgique) : Apport de la coupe des gours suspendus, Geologica Belgica - Volume 24 (2021) number 3-4. online DOI Français - French
T. Camelbeeck, M. van Ruymbeke, Y. Quinif, S. Vandycke, E. de Kerchove, Z. Ping (2012): Observation and interpretation of fault activity in the Rochefort cave (Belgium) Tectonophysics, 581, pp 48–61. DOI
Yves Quinif (2016): Étagement dans la grotte de Lorette (Rochefort) - Relation avec les dépôts souterrains, Regards N° 81 – 2016. pdf Français - French
Yves Quinif (1999): Karst and the evolution of rivers: a case study of Ardennes, Geodinamica Acta, Volume 12, Issues 3–4, May–August 1999, Pages 267-277, ISSN: 0985-3111. DOI pdf Français - French DOI pdf English
Anne Court (1968): The Caves of Han and Rochefort The Speleologist, Vol 2, No 14, Winter 1968, pp 8-9. online
M. Legros, J-L. Nandance, M. Pauwels, Y. Quinif, B. Maboge (1993): La nouvelle galerie de Rochefort Regards, 11 : 18-22. Français - French
Address: Grotte de Lorette, Drève de Lorette, B-5580 Rochefort, Tel: +32-84-212080. E-mail:
During winter closure: Grottes de Han et de Rochefort, rue J. Lamotte 2, B-5580 Han/Lesse, Tel: +32-84-377213. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1865 cave discovered by Alphonse Collignon.
MAY-1888 visited by E. A. Martel.
1991 discovery of new cave passages.


Map of Han-sur-Lesse and Rochefort, Belgium. Public Domain.
Grotte de Rochefort, Belgium. Bulletin de la Société belge de géologie, de paléontologie et d'hydrologie (1893). Public Domain.

This cave has two names and a combo version, which is a little confusing. Until about ten years ago the cave was advertised as Grottes de Rochefort, but that's just the location, it means "the cave at Rochefort". The actual name of the cave is Grotte de Lorette after the nearby chapel of Lorette, and that's how it is named in scientific literature and the cadastre. It seems the two names sometimes caused confusion, and so they changed the name of the show cave officially to Grotte de Lorette, the signs at the road, the huge sign at the cave entrance, all were replaced, new brochures printed and so on. The sign now says Grotte de Lorette and in the second line Rochefort, which is not the name but the location. However, the name confusion has obviously not yet ended as now the names Grotte de Lorette, Grotte de Lorette-Rochefort, and Grottes de Rochefort are still used.

The name change was only one point of a complete renovation of the show cave. It included the paths, the light, a new sound system, a new reception building with audiovisual displays, and a small museum showing the scientific work at this place.

The entrance area of the cave contained prehistoric remains, and is of some interest to archaeologists. The cave has two entrances, both are collapse dolines. and one is used as the entrance for the tour, the other as the exit. The ticket office and car park are on the opposite side of the road, and there is a cul-de-sac which leads to the namesake Chapelle de Lorette which offers a great view on the valley of the Lomme, a tributary of the Lesse.

The cave was discovered in 1865 by Alphonse Collignon. Caves have blocked sections, or openings which are too high above for the available equipment, or passages which are not easy to see, and so the history of a cave is typically a succession of explorations and new discoveries, and caves "grow" in length with each new discovery. Loretto is quite exceptional, as despite all the efforts of various Belgian speleologists since the original discovery in 1865 until 1991 no new sections were discovered. In 1991 members of the Spéléo Club les Fistuleuses wanted to attempt a climb from the old Salle du Val d'Enfer to an emerging opening in the cave ceiling. They got permission and they succeeded.

The tour goes down 540 steps to the 37 m high chamber called Salle du Sabbath, which is the largest chamber of the cave, 65 m below surface. Here, the guide launches the Montgolfière, a small hot-air ballon to the accompanying light and sound show. The vanishing ballon gives a very good impression of the size of the chamber. That's actually one of the few Son et Lumière shows we can fully recommend.

Although the cave is close to Han - and there is a combination ticket sold - it is still rarely visited. This makes the experience of a tour much friendlier. So if you do not need "attractions" like train ride and animal park, this cavern is well worth a visit. The cave is today managed by the non-profit association Association de Gestion Touristique de Promotion des Grottes de Rochefort et du Site de Lorette (Tourist Management Association for the Promotion of the Caves of Rochefort and the Site of Lorette). Some years ago it was managed by the Grotte de Han and the two caves still have connections. During winter, when the cave is closed, visits by reservation for groups are still possible, but are handled by the Grotte de Han, which is open all year. Also, there is a combo ticket for both caves. But despite this, the cave has dramatically fewer visitors, which is a shame, but also a good thing because a cave visit here is not only more interesting, it is cheaper and far less crowded. Franz Lindenmayr guessed in his description about 10 % of the visitors of Han, which are half a million per year. We guess Lorette has 20 to 30,000/a. If you are in the area and have only enough time to see one cave we strongly recommend this cave, not the crowded Grotte de Han. The huge chamber and the hot air ballon are unique!