Grottes de Beaume les Messieurs

Source du Dard

Useful Information

Location: At Beaume les Messieurs.
Close to Lons le Saunier.
(46.690330, 5.638403)
Open: APR daily 10:30-12:30, 13:30-17.
MAY to JUN daily 10:30-12:30, 13:30-18.
JUL to AUG daily 10:30-19.
SEP daily 10:30-12:30, 13:30-18.
Last entry 1 h before closing.
Fee: Adults EUR 9, Children (6-12) EUR 6, Children (0-5) free.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 8, Children (6-12) EUR 5.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave KarstGrowing Rock
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension: L=2,303 m, VR=50 m, T=11 °C. Catafalque Gallery H=80 m.
Guided tours: D=60 min, L=1 km, . Français - French English
V=51,000/a [1994] V=50,000/a [2015]
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Grotte de Beaume Les Messieurs, Beaume les Messieurs 39210. Tel: +33-384-482302, Cell: +33-643-420613. 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.


1610 cave discovered and first explored.
1893 cave explored.
1900 cave developed as a show cave, entrance staircase built by Ms. Voisin, with subsidies from the French Alpine Club and the Speleological Society of France.
1901 opened to the public.
1970-1980 submerged gallery explored for 500 m by cave divers.
2009 Franz Lindenmayr is too late and the cave is already closed.


The Grottes de Beaume les Messieurs, named after the nearby abbey, is an active river cave. The entrance is the spring of the river Dard, this is why it is also called Source du Dard. The spring flows during spring, at the time of snow melt, which is very impressive. An enormous beam of water comes virtually out of the middle of a steep cliff. The path into the cave crosses the spring twice on two bridges at different heights. The waterfall from the cave entrance is below the upper bridge, but above the lower bridge. This view is really impressive, and the entrance is definitely the most extraordinary part of the cave.

The cave is the underground gorge of the river Dard, with gours, dolly tubs and many other signs of erosion by flowing water. There are virtually no speleothems in the cave, as they are regularly destroyed by the floods. The path is built like bridges, right above the water. After the entrance gallery, visitors are taken through tall, narrow passages and chambers.

The Salle des Chauves-Souris (Chamber of Bats), located 70 m behind the entrance, is little more than a widening of the main passage. This is the intersection between the entrance passage and the transverse main corridor. The system is formed along east-west running fractures in the limestone, so all passages run from east to west, the entrance passage is one of those. However, the main corridor runs north-south. But it looks a little like a stack of plates when you look at the map, numerous parallel east-west running passages, which in connection form an irregular north-south passage.

The Salle du Lac (Chamber of the Lake) is located 200 m from the entrance, and has superb acoustics. From the Salle Renaud the path leads up to a dry passage on a higher level, and returns to the river cave at 400 m from the entrance. This part of the cave is called Catafalque and ends at its most northern point 450 m from the entrance.

The cave has another karst related sight, which is located at the parking lot, so it is impossible to reach the cave without mentioning it. It is called Cascade des Tufs, a name which is unfortunately quite common and exists multiple times in France. The limestone rich water from the cave forms a waterfall which consists of deposited limestone or tufa (hence the name) from the water. In other words, the rock grows continually by deposition of limestone, forming a bed for the water and the edge of the waterfall. The waterfall has formed a characteristic bulbous limestone formations including several small tufa caves. Where the limestone is wet from the water, it is overgrown with moss. Some caves show artificial extension, including trails and stairs.

Baume les Messieurs is located in a short valley with vertical walls, a cul-de-sac which is typical for the Jura and normally called a reculée, in this case the Reculée de Baume-les-Messieurs and it side branch Reculée de La Seille. The Abbaye de Baume-les-Messieurs (Abbey of Baume-les-Messieurs) is a former Benedictine abbey. According to legend, it was founded by the Irish monk Columbanus, who Christianised the area in the 6th century. According to archaeologists it was founded in the 9th century, and historians tell that Bernon, a Burgundian aristocrat, founded the abbey on his lands in Gigny-sur-Suran in which he applied his reinterpretation of the rule of Saint Benedict. He received the land in 888 from the king of the Provence Rodolphe I, so it was later. And it was before 910, because in this year Bernon and of his monks leave the abbey at the request of William of Aquitaine to found the abbey of Cluny. At this time it was named Baume-les-Moines, which could be translated as "cave of monks". The abbey continued to grow and in the 12th century it was the home of 40 monks. It was also very rich with about 100 priories and a lot of land. But in the meantime Cluny had also grown and tried to swallow it and reduce it to a priory. The conflict lasted for three hundred years until finally a compromise was found. In 1790 the abbey was secularized and renamed Baume-les-Messieurs. During the Revolution the buildings of the abbey were declared national property and sold to the inhabitants of the village.