Grotte à Margot

Useful Information

Location: North of Saulges, near Thorine-en-Charnie, département de la Mayenne.
Open: 16-MAR to JUN daily Mon-Sat 14, 14:50, 15:40, 16:30, Sun, Hol 10, 10:45, 11:30, 14, 14:50, 15:40, 16:30, 17:20.
JUL to AUG daily 10, 10:45, 11:30, 14, 14:50, 15:40, 16:30, 17:20, 18:10.
SEP to 14-NOV daily Mon-Sat 14, 14:50, 15:40, 16:30, Sun, Hol 10, 10:45, 11:30, 14, 14:50, 15:40, 16:30, 17:20.
Fee: One Cave: Adults EUR 6, Children (6-15) EUR 4, Students EUR 4.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 4.
Two Caves: Adults EUR 9, Children (6-15) EUR 6, Students EUR 6.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 6.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=319 m, VR=14 m.
Guided tours: V=20,000/a
Address: Grottes et Canyon de Saulges, 53270 Thorigné-en-Charnie, Tel: +33-243-905130, Fax: +33-243-905544. 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.
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1701 first written mention.
1924 Medieval skeletons discovered.
1925 declared a Monument historique.
2006 excavations by Stéphan Hinguant.


The Grotte à Margot is one of the caves belonging to the complex of the Grottes de Saulges. It is named after the Fée Margot (Morgan le Fay, fata Morgana). Morgan le Fay is a character from the Arthurian cycle, the half-sister of Merlin, the magician. It is not clear how the cave got connected with Morgan.

This cave is heavily damaged by human interference, over centuries it was visited and damaged by visitors. Early excavations during the 19th century destroyed a lot of archaeological remains. But the excavation also revealed signs of Mousterian, Aurignacian, Solutrean, and Magdalenian habitation. The cave was used by cave bears and hyenas, the palaeontological remains were overwhelming. A new examination of the cave was made since 2002 by the program Occupations paléolithiques de la vallée de l'Erve organised by Romain Pigeaud. According to this research the cave has 95 figurative paintings, 18 black marks, three red traces, and eight hands. The paintings were created mainly during two periods, the Gravettian (29,000 to 23,000 years BP) and the late Magdalenian (12,000 to 9,000 years BP).

This cave was originally very low, the passages were crawl, and even in the chambers it was impossible to stand upright. The was even a water filled crawl between Palais de Margot (Palace of Margot) and the Salle des Squelettes (Chamber of skeletons). Today the sediments are removed and the cave is not low any more.