Grotte de la Glacière

Useful Information

Location: In the forest Chaux-Les-Passavant near Vercel. From Besançon 30 km on N57-D492-D30, from Baume-les-Dames 20 km on D50-D30, from le Saut-du-Doubs 50 km, from Belfort 80 km.
Open: MAR to MAY daily 10-12, 14-18.
JUN to AUG daily 9-19.
SEP daily 10-12, 14-17.
OCT Mon-Sat 14, 15, 16, Sun 10-12, 14-17.
Fee: Adults EUR 5, Children (5-10) EUR 3, Student EUR 4.
Groups (+): Adults EUR , Children (3-18) EUR .
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyice cave.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: 525 m asl, T=80 m, H=30 m.
Guided tours: D=40min
Address: Grotte de la Glacière et la Maison des Minéraux, Chaux-Les-Passavant, 25530 Vercel, Tel: +33-381-604426, Fax: +33-381-604344. E-mail: contact
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.


1712 mentioned in the Mémoires de l'Academie Royal des Sciences.
1869 opened to the public.
1910 damaged by flood
1953 damaged by flood


The most spectacular fact about this cave is the low temperature of about 0 °C. It is caused by the form of the cave, a single room with a large opening on the top. The same effect occurs, everybody knows from the supermarket: as cold air has a higher density (is heavier) than warm air, it has no possibility to escape from the refrigerator, if there is just an opening at the top.

In winter cold air flows into the cave, in summer there is no possibility for the cold air to escape or for warm air to enter. Many caves contain ice flowstones in winter, but it is very rare if they stay all the year.

This is the only ice cave of its type in France. Inhabited in prehistoric times it was first visited in the 16th century by Boissotnot in 1584 by Gollut in 1592 and Boissot in 1686. Later it was visited by E A Martel and Fornier who studied the temperature, and the glacial phenomena. The cave has also attracted the attention of scientists and poets, who have come to marvel at the rich decorations.

At the entrance there is the Maison des Mineraux - a Museum of Minerals with samples of over 500 minerals from all over the world. Admission free.

Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.