Grotte de la Luire

Useful Information

Location: 675 Route de la Luire, 26420 Saint-Agnan-en-Vercors.
Saint-Agnan en Vercors. Southwest of Grenoble, west of La Mure.
(44.890788, 5.428749)
Fee: Adults EUR 10, Children (4-14) EUR 7.50, Children (0-3) free, Student EUR 8.50, Unemployed EUR 8.50, Family (2+2) EUR 29, Additional Child EUR 6.50.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 7.50, Children (4-14) EUR 6.50.
Cave Trekking: Adults EUR 120.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: lanterns provided
Dimension: L=37,563 m, VR=547 m.
Guided tours: D=1 h.
Cave Trekking: VR=200, Min=5.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Site naturel de la Grotte de la Luire, 675 Route de la Luire, 26420 Saint Agnan en Vercors, Tel: +33-475-48-25-83. 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.


1896 some inhabitants of Chapelle-en-Vercors tried to explore the cave.
World War II cave entrance used as shelter for a partisan hospital.
27-JUL-1944 hospital discovered by Germans, all personell and patines killed or imprisoned.
15 to 16-NOV-2002 enormous floods in the area.
03-DEC-2003 enormous floods in the area.


The Grotte de la Luire (Cave of the Light) is located to the south of the Vercors plateau. The huge entrance portal with a seasonal spring is known for a very long time. It is the location of some prehistoric discoveries. The first attempt to explore the cave was made in 1896. Some inhabitants of Chapelle-en-Vercors tried to enter the cave, but it seems they were discouraged by rising water.

But the most important, although disreputable, historic event of the cave happened during World War II. The cave was used to evacuate the people from the two military hospitals at Saint-Martin and Tourtre. The cave has huge chambers, and it was considered to be well hidden. But on the 27-JUL-1944 an airplane saw the flag of the red cross, and a troop of German Gebirgsjäger was ordered to the cave. Some severely injured patients, a North African and one nurse were shot immediately inside the cave, the others were imprisoned. Later two doctors and a Jesuit were shot and seven nurses deported.

The cave is entered through a huge portal, where the Maquis hospital was located during World War II. Today there are only a few walls remaining. There is a main passage leading to another cavern, which is smaller. The most spectacular this is a deep shaft. A bridge was built across the shaft, so it is possible to have a good look down the shaft. Unfortunately there is a bend 50 m deeper, so it is not possible to see the floor. The cave system actually drains to the Grotte de Bournillion, so the normal direction is down the shaft and flows 18 km to the north. But after very heavy rains the cave fills with water. There is obviously a narrow part which restrict the flow, if there is more water the lever rises continually. As a result the cave system above the constriction flods rather fast. Cavers exploring the system generally check the weather, but still there is an alarm system installed in the cave, in case the heavy rain falls after they have already entered the cave. In such a case it's a race against time, there are certain key spots which must be passed before the arrives there. And finally the water flood the shaft, spills over the tourist sectiond and flows out the cave portal. Such events are but during the 2000s there were several.

The tours are lantern tours, as the cave has no electric light.

The Grotte de la Luire is located in a mountain range south of Grenoble. This whole mountain range, part of the northern limestone Alps and composed of limestones and dolomites, is karstified and has numerous huge caves and karst springs. The most important caves are the Grotte Favot, the Grotte de Bournillion and the Grotte de la Luire. The most important karst springs of the area are the Source d'Arbois, the Goule Blance (White Spring) and the Goule Noire (Black Spring) in the gorge of the Bourne. All those karst features belong to the Luire-Bournillon-Arbois system. The valley of the Arbois became rather infamous in the last years with repeated floods caused by enormous rainfalls. The karst springs, being very sensitive to changing weather conditions, spilled enormous amounts of water, which flooded the valley below.