Grotte de Rochefort

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: T=13 °C.
Guided tours:  
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.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1873 first excavations.
1879-1882 tunnel by Arsene Roblot.
1931 excavations by Raoul Daniel.
1967 Norbert Casteret and a team of cave divers explore the lake.
2001 excavation by Stéphan Hinguant.


The entrance section of the Grotte de Rochefort (Rochefort cave) to the salle des Troglodytes (Hall of the Cave Dwellers) has been known for a very long time. First excavations in the cave took place in 1873. But the owner of the cave started in 1879 to dig a tunnel, by removing sediments from a completely filled passage. In 1882 he reached the end of this passage after 20 m, and on 17-APR-1882 he first explored the passages behind. At the age of 70, accompanied by a farm boy, he climbed down a 13 m deep shaft on a knotted rope and discovered new chambers and an underground lake. By a strange twist of history, this tunnel was later named Leveille corridor after one of his tennants Couloir Léveillé.

This cave has been excavated for a long time, starting with the excavation of 1873. Those early excavations more or less destoyed the archaeological wealth of the cave. Some drawings, old black and white photographs, and a few findings spread over various museums are the meager result. The first true scientific excavation was actually started in 2001 by Stéphan Hinguant.