Cascade des Baumes

Cascade de la Baume

Useful Information

Le Grande Cascade, Saint-Rome-de-Tarn, France. Public Domain.
Location: D73, parking lot opposite Saint-Rome-de-Tarn, 500 m after the bridge.
(44.051510, 2.894483)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstTufa Deposits
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Office de Tourisme, 5 Place du Ravelin, 12490 Saint Rome de Tarn, Tel: +33-565-62-50-89.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Cascade des Baumes (Waterfall of Balms) is a rather harmless waterfall, not really spectaular. It is located at the shore of the Tarn river, below the small town Saint-Rome-de-Tarn, where the Ruisseau de Lévezac, a small tributary of the Tarn, falls 18 m from a plateau into the river. The waterfall is rather spectacular as it falls down a vertical limestone wall which is full of small caves. The place is quite beautiful and popular despite the fact that most people have no idea about the geological background, the site is advertised as filming location.

The plateau is a tufa deposit, limestone which was deposited by the limestone rich water of the small river, building its own bed. The limeston is deposite on top of the plateau and at the rim, but obviously its not possible to deposit limestone on the river, the Tarn simply washes it away. As a result the tufa deposit ends at the river, forming a vertical wall. Bulbous limestone protrusions are typical for such tufa deposits. The moss and other plants which grow in the water consume carbon dioxide, the water is not able to hold the limestone any more and it deposits on top of the plant. When limestone covers the plants, they die and decompose, leaving small holes or pores in the limestone. That's why it is called tufa.