Grottes et Canyon de Saulges

Useful Information

Location: North of Saulges, near Thorine-en-Charnie, département de la Mayenne.
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: n/a
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.
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1870 first archaeological excavations in Saulges.
1931 excavations by Raoul Daniel in the grotte de la Chèvre (Cave of the Goat) and the Grotte de Rochefort.
11-JUN-1967 discovery of cave paintings.


The Grottes de Saulges is a series of prehistoric caves located at the Canyon de Saulges, north of the small village Saulges. The tranquil valley is framed by white limestone rocks and cliffs with caves and abris. The most prominent caves are the Grotte de Rochefort and the Grotte à Margot, both are open to the public as show caves.

The most impressive discovery in the area were probably cave paintings in 1967. The équipe spéléologique (Speleo Group) of the association Mayenne-Sciences (Mayenne Science Association). The group was reseaching in the far end of the Grotte Mayenne-Sciences. They descovered two chambers connected by low and narrow passages. At the end the cave was blocked by debris. On 11-JUN-1967 Roger Bouillon removed the debris and discovered the third room with its beautiful speleothems. It also contains line drawings showing animals: four horses, a mammoth, and a bison. The paintings were partly covered by calcite, but their preservation and freshness is excellent. The site is of national and international interest. To protect this cave and its paintings, it is closed.

There is a series of other small caves, like the Grotte de la Chèvre for example. Most of them revealed at least some archaologic remains. All of them are closed, so you may hike through the pleasant valley and visit the entrances, but it is not possible to enter the caves.