Les Grottes de Bèze

Useful Information

Location: Chem. des Grottes, 21310 Bèze.
30 km northeast of Dijon. From Dijon D70 to Mirebeau-sur-Bèze, turn left on D959 to Bèze. From Dijon A31/E17 north exit N°5 Péage de Til Chatel, then D974 to Til-Châtel, turn left on D959 to Bèze.
(47.4708009, 5.2694483)
Open: APR to mid-MAY Sat 14-17:30, Sun, Hol 10-12, 14-17:30.
Mid-MAY to JUN Wed-Fri 14-17:30, Sat, Sun, Hol 10-12, 14-17:30.
JUL to AUG daily 10-12, 13:30-18.
SEP Wed-Fri 14-17:30, Sat, Sun, Hol 10-12, 14-17:30.
OCT Sat 14-17:30, Sun, Hol 10-12, 14-17:30.
The Season begins and ends with School Holidays.
Fee: Adults EUR 9.50, Children (13-17) EUR 7.50, Children (4-12) EUR 5.50, Children (0-3) free, Students EUR 7.50.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 9, Children (13-17) EUR 7, Students EUR 7.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyriver cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension: Grotte de la Crétanne: L=2,800 m, VR=26 m, T=12 °C, A=218 m asl.
Source de la Bèze: A=218 m asl, Ymax=20 m³/s.
Guided tours: D=50 min, L=1,000 m.
Boat trip: L=300 m.
V=30,000/a [2017]
Photography: not allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Robert Lavoignat (2012): La Grotte de la Crétanne - Source de la Bèze, Revue scientifique Bourgogne-Nature n°15 - 2012 Balbuzard pêcheur, pp 109-118. Français - French online online
Gardaine, La Ureau (1974): La résurgence de Bèze Sous le Plancher - Bulletin du S. C. Dijon n ° 3-4-1972. Français - French
Degouve, La Ureau (1981): L'écho des profondeurs Spélunca, Bulletin de la FFS n° 2 p 5 et 6. Français - French
Address: Chemin des Grottes, Chem. des Grottes, 21310 Bèze, Tel: +33-380-75-30-84. 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.


SEP-1950 the continuation behind the sump discovered by cave divers Renaud, Sage and Velard.
1953 beginning of speleologic exploration by the Spéléo Club of Dijon.
1970 opened to the public.
1990 cave renovated.


The entrance to the Grottes de Bèze was known for a long time. A huge portal called Grotte de la Crétane which was used by the villagers and the monks to hide in times of danger. Nearby is the huge Résurgence de la Bèze (resurgence of the Bèze river), which flows through the cave, but is only accessible by diving through a sump. This was first done in SEP-1950 by the cave divers Renaud, Sage and Velard. They discovered a huge river passage behind the sump, which was explored from 1953 with the help of members of the Spéléo Club of Dijon. It took many years, but then an artificial entrance to the river cave was created, which is the show cave. The realization was only possible because the mayor at the time, Mr. Robert Poinsot, was a fan and supported the work.

The cave is entered through the natural entrance, then an artificial tunnel leads to the river cave. The next part of the visit is made by boat from the underground jetty. Finally, the salle Blanc (White Room) is reached, which was named after one of the speleologists from SC Dijon, whose last name was actually Blanc. This chamber is visited by foot. Finally, the group returns to the entrance, again by boat. The visited passage is 500 m long, and as it is crossed twice, the tour is 1 km long. Most of it is done by boat, the boats have no engine, they are pulled by the guide with ropes along the ceiling.

The cave has the spectacular cave river with its green-blue hue. Underwater light makes it glow in different colours, depending on the depth. The river passage has not many speleothems, as they are regularly destroyed by floods, they are concentrated on the dry part at the end. A specialty of this cave are rare cave pearls.

The resurgence nearby is the karst spring of the cave river. The source of the Bèze is the most important resurgence in the Côte d'Or department. The valley continues upstream as a dry valley, it was a valley until drainage went underground. It was reactivated during the last cold ages, when the pround was frozen by permafrost and the water was not able to enter the cracks which were filled by ice. The catchment area of the spring is a plateau which has a size of more than 225 km². Also the nearby rivers Tille and Venelle have ponors in the riverbed where they lose a part of their water. The karst develops in Upper Jurassic limestones.

The cave was a popular water cave for the French cave divers and was regularly visited by them from the early 1950s to the mid 1990s. However, the cave is a show cave and the spring is captured for drinking water. Cave divers who pollute the water on weekends were not very well liked, and as a result, the diving was finally prohibited.

This is one of the few exceptions, a cave where it is not mandatory to book in advance, actually it is not possible to make a reservation, except for groups. The point is, that the water level, which often quickly changes due to the weather, makes it necessary to adapt the number of visitors per boat, so the maximum number of visitors may change daily. As a result, they suggest picking up the tickets first when you arrive in Bèze, the visit time will be indicated. Depending on how long it might take, there will be time to visit other sights of the village, like the architectural and landscape heritage and the abbey. What they do not mention: in times of extremely low water and extremely high water, the boat trip is not safe, and the cave is closed.

The open hours are a little complicated, so they publish a calendar on there website every year. Our list of open hours above may be a little inaccurate, with all details and specialties it would by quite lengthy and also outdated quite fast.

They do not allow pictures in the cave, but this was actually the first time we ever found a site which actually has a good reason. First, they admitted that it was about the image copyrights. Then they explain that the boat trip is dangerous, and people taking photos could be unfocused and possibly violate safety regulations, which is especially dangerous when the current is strong. And finally, they explain that the water is collected at the source for drinking water, electronic object falling accidentally into the underground river would cause pollution. We actually find the two last reasons quite obvious, and understand why it is not allowed to take pictures during the boat trip. But what about the walking part of the tour?

The cave is operated by the municipality, contact is the Bèze Town Hall. It is a team of 12 volunteers, mostly under 18, 4 seasonal guides and 2 reception agents. Like always, it is quite difficult to operate a show cave with fully paid personell.