Grotte Célestine

Grotte Celestine de Rauzan - Grotte aux Torrents


Useful Information

Location: 8 Rue de Lansade, Rauzan.
(44.777289, -0.125728)
Open: JAN to MAR Tue-Sat 10-12:30, 14-17:30.
APR to JUN daily 10-12:30, 14-17:30.
JUL to AUG daily 10-12:30, 14-18:30.
SEP to OCT Tue-Sun 10-12:30, 14-17:30.
NOV tp DEC Tue-Sat 10-12:30, 14-17:30.
[2021]
Fee: Adults EUR 8, Children (1.2 m-) EUR 5, Children (0-1.2 m) not allowed.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 7, Children (1.2 m-) EUR 4.
Reservations mandatory 24 hours in advance.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: gum boots and headlamp provided
Dimension: L=2,100 m, VR=13 m, T=14 °C.
Guided tours: D=1 h, Max=18, Français - French
Booklets in English Nederlands - Dutch Deutsch - German Español - Spanish Italiano - Italian русский - Russian
Photography: not allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Grotte Célestine, 8 Rue de Lansade, 33420 Rauzan, Tel: +33-5-57-84-08-69. 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.

History

1845 discovered during the digging of a well, cave opened to the public.
1930 end of cave tours.
1958 cave description published in the Bulletin of the Speleological and Prehistoric Society of Bordeaux (SSPB).
1967-1969 explored and surveyed by the Speleological and Prehistoric Society of Bordeaux (SSPB).
1995 cave reopened on the initiative of the Rauzan town hall.
1998 new entrance shaft drilled.
2002 cave opened with new entrance shaft.

Description

Grotte Célestine is a river cave, and the tour is not a normal show cave tour. After descending a spiral staircase, the cave river is met 13 m below ground. The cave is not developed, has no electric light and no trails. The tour is a walk through the cave river with gum boots and helmet with headlamp, which are provided. As a result the cave is not suitable for small children and people which are not able to walk through water.

On the other hand the cave is located in the middle of the town. It is horizontal and there is no need to climb anywere on the 400 m long tour, there is no stooping or crawling and no getting dirty. As a result we guess this does not qualify as "caving" either.

The cave was discovered when the owner of a grocery store dug a well in 1845. At a depth of 13 m they discovered the cave and named it Grotte aux Torrents. The people became curious, and so they started tours, the visitors were guided by the employees of the grocery store. The visitors were equipped with candles, and postcards were sold. The cave tour was always low-key, only known to locals and never a tourist draw. The tours were finally discontinued in 1930 quite unspectacular, we guess from the lack of visitors.

The cave was explored in 1958 it was published in the Bulletin of the Speleological and Prehistoric Society of Bordeaux (SSPB). At this time 570 m of cave passage were known. From 1967 to 1969 SSPB explored and surveyed the cave again, extending it substantially. Nevertheless, there was no interest io reopen the show cave. This changed in the early 1990s when the Rauzan town hall wanted to reopen the cave to create an additional tourist site for the village. At the time the grocery store was long gone and the house on top of the cave owned by a woman, who actually allowed the reopening. When it was reopened in 1995, people had to walk through the living room of the owner to reach the cave. Hence the cave was re-named Grotte Célestine after her.

The situation was not satisfactory, and so the town hall financed the construction of a new entrance shaft with cave entrance building on top. After seven years the new entrance was opened in 2002 and Célestine was relieved from this burden.