La Grotte de Glace Valloire

Useful Information

Location: Crêt de la Brive, Route des Charbonnières, 73450 Valloire.
Between Geneva and Grenoble, from Montmélian follow Isère valley upstream, A43, then Arc valley upstream, A43, exit Les Culées. D902 to Valloire, take the cable car Crêt de la Brive.
(45.161978, 6.452876)
Open: DE to MAR daily .
Fee: Adults EUR 6, Children EUR 5.
Classification: Subterraneaglacier grotto
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: La Grotte de Glace Valloire, Route des Charbonnières, 73450 Valloire.
Office de Tourisme de Valloire, Rue des Grandes Alpes, 73 450 Valloire, Tel: +33-479-59-03-96.
Société des Grottes de la Meije (SDGM), Les Hières, 05320 La Grave, 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.


1992 Bernard Lambolez and Bruno Gardent go to the cave of the "Mer de Glace" and have the idea to built such a cave at home.
1993 Société des Grottes de la Meije and first grotto at La Grave La Meije created and inaugurated.
2011 first ice grotto created.


La Grotte de Glace Valloire is located on the Crêt de la Brive, which is reached by a cable car and is the starting point of numerous cable cars and chairlifts. The town Valloire is famous inside France as tha capital of ice sculptures. It is one of six glacier grottoes created and operated by the Société des Grottes de la Meije (SDGM), which was founded by the two high mountain guides, Bernard Lambolez and Bruno Gardent in 1992. In 1992 the two visited the grotto SubterraneaGrotte de la Mer de Glace and had the idea to build such a cave at home. The first grotto was created on the Glacier de la Girose and is called SubterraneaLa Grotte de Glace La Grave La Meije.

Actually, while ice cave is often used for such grottoes, they are actually called glacier grotto. Ice caves are natural caves in rock which contain ice, glacier grottoes are dug, hence they are grottoes, inside a glacier, hence glacier grotto. However, although we classified it as a glacier grotto, it actually isn't, as there is no glacier on Les Arcs. At the beginning of the winter, when the first snow falls and the temperatures are low enough that it does not melt anymore, they create a huge pile of snow in which they dug the cave. You could say it's a snow grotto, or probably a kind of igloo. The snow is melted on the surface with a sort of heat stick, and the water freezes again making the snow more stable. Then artists create ice sculptures for a certain topic inside the cave. So as there is actually a completely new cave every year, the exhibition also changes from year to year. And the grotto exists only for about three months, weather depending.

As it is located on top of the mountain, at the ski area, it is necessary to get there first. Of course, you could walk up, if you have the right equipment, but as most people will either be skiing and just make a break visiting the grotto, we guess they already have a ski pass. To get to the summit you start at Valloire and then take the Crêt de la Brive cable car to the Alp De Zélie. From here it's only a short walk. The cave is open only during winter on the same days as the cable car. As most visitors are skiers, it's possible to visit the cave with skiing boots, though we do not recommend it. We recommend to bring walking shoes to change, it makes the visit far more pleasant.