Grotte de Médous

Useful Information

Location: Quartier Médous, near Begneres de Bigorre
Open: APR to JUN daily 9-11:30, 14-17.
JUL to AUG daily 9-12, 14-18.
SEP to OCT daily 9-11:30, 14-17.
Fee: Adults EUR 7.80, Children (5-10) EUR 3.90, Children (0-4) free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Karstkarst spring.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=60 min. (Français - French English Nederlands - Dutch Español - Spanish Italiano - Italian Deutsch - German)
Address: Grotte de Médous, 60 Route des Cols, 65200 Aste, Tel: +33-562-917846, Fax: +33-562-950203 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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1588 Virgin Mary appears to the shepherdess Liloye.
1789 first written mention of the cave.
08-AUG-1948 three local speleologists discovered the cave behind the Médous springs.
1949 development for a show cave started.
1951 opened to the public.
OCT-2000 first pilgrimage after 200 years of recess.


Médous are two karst springs, which were known and used for a very long time. The name originates from the Latin Mellis Dulcis (sweet honey). This may be a name for the sweet water of the springs, but possibly its a result of the Virgin Mary at the site.

Long ago, in 1588, the young shepherdess Liloye (Flower) had two apparitions of the Virgin Mary at the springs. In this year the area was threatened by the plague, the black death, the great disease of the Middle Ages, the hail, and flooding. But the apparition gave hope to the people and the area was spared by the plague. This was interpreted as a wonder, and the place became the destination of pilgrimages for hundreds of years, until the end of the 18th century. A small chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame de Médoux (Our Lady of Médoux) is the remains of this history, once one of three most important shrines dedicated to Virgin Mary in the diocese of Tarbes-Lourdes. On the initiative of Eminence Perrier, bishop of Tarbes-Lourdes, this tradition was revived in 2000.

The cave behind the springs was inaccessible until it was opened and explored by three local speleologists who followed the cave river in 1948. The walk into the cave follows a huge passage with numerous formations. There are all kinds of dripstone, rimstone pools and helictites. The way back in a parallel passage is done by boat on the cave river Rivière Tranquile (quiet river). The cave river is a tributary to the Adour river, which is 335 km long and draining into the Bay of Biscay near Bayonne.