Grottes du Pic du Jer


Useful Information

photography
Grottes du Pic du Jer, Lourdes, France. Public Domain.
photography
Grottes du Pic du Jer, Lourdes, France. Public Domain.
Location: On the Pic du Jer, at the upper station of the funicular.
(43.080390, -0.032528)
Open: 23-MAR to 05-JUL daily 11:10, 14:10, 15:10, 16:10.
06-JUL to 09-SEP daily 11:10, 14:10, 15:10, 16:10, 17:10.
10-SEP to 04-NOV daily 11:10, 14:10, 15:10, 16:10.
[2020]
Fee: Cave:
Adults EUR 4, Children (6-17) EUR 3.50, Children (0-5) free.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 3.50, Children (6-17) EUR 3.
Funicular:
Adults EUR 12.50, Children (6-17) EUR 10, Children (0-5) free, Family (2+1) EUR 30.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: T=11°C.
Funicular: L=1,110m, VR=438m, 28% to 56%, S=11km/h, C=80 persons.
Lower Station: A=450m asl.
Upper Station: A=888m asl.
Guided tours: L=360m, D=40min. Français - French English Español - Spanish Italiano - Italian
Tour text available on paper in Français - French English Español - Spanish Italiano - Italian Português - Portuguese Deutsch - German Nederlands - Dutch Polish - Polski Slovenčina - Slovakian Hrvatski - Croatian
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:  
Address: Funiculaire du Pic du Jer, 59 av. Francis Lagardère, 65100 Lourdes, Tel: 05-62-94-00-41.
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

AUG-1898 begin of construction.
MAY-1900 funicular opened to the public.
1958 cave opened to the public.

Description

photography
Grottes du Pic du Jer, Lourdes, France. Public Domain.
photography
Grottes du Pic du Jer, Lourdes, France. Public Domain.

The Grottes du Pic du Jer (Caves of the Pic du Jer Summit) are said to be highest show cave of France. Located at the Pic du Jer or Grand Jer above the pilgrimage destination Lourdes, the caves are located at the upper station of the Pic du Jer Funicular. The caves were formed 20,000 years ago, when the glaciers started to melt and the melting water reached the limestone which had been burrowed by ice before. But the water not only created the caves, it also filled them partly with gravel. When the caves were explored there were only shafts and crevices. To make the show cave several small caves were connected by a tunnel and cleared from the gravel.

The cave was obviously opened because of the Funicular. The Lourdes Grotto draws enormous numbers of visitors to the small town. And after completing their pilgrimage many of them spend a little time at Lourdes and will probably ride the funicular for the view.

A funicular is a sort of tramway where a single railroad track goes up an incline. There are two cabins, one at the upper end and one at the lower end, connected by a cable. When the cabins start, their weight is in equilibrium, only the weight of the passengers has to be lifted. When the two cabins meet in the middle, there is a short piece of double railway track, so they can pass. The incline of the Pic du Jer is not the same, there is a sort of gorge half way up, so it was necessary to build a bridge across the gorge. This funicular has an incline which is 1,110m long and goes up 438m to a place right below the summit. Each cabin weight 5,500kg and has a capacity of 80 persons. An electric motor at the upper station with 185 horsepowers accelerates them to a speed of 11km/h. The viaduct is is 200m long, 4m wide and 18m high, and has 12 arches.

There is a walking trail to the summit, and it is possible to walk up to the summit and back again. But the cave tour is a much better alternative. The cave entrance is right opposite the upper station, from here a tunnel across the summit starts. It connects 11 caves all across the summit, the biggest gouffres or shafts are on the opposite side. The shaft La Cheminée is 25m deep and Grande Fracture is 45m deep. The cave tour ends at an elevation of 909m, the trail back goes up to 925m where the trail to the summit branches of, which is 948m high. The cave tour is actually an alternative way to the summit. The recommended trip is to visit the cave first, then go to the summit, and finally have a cafe at the restaurant with the view.