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Visiting Gouffre de Proumeyssac

Discover a spectacular subterranean ‘Cathedral of Crystal’ in the Dordogne, France

Not far from the delightful medieval market town of Le Bugue, in the Dordogne region of south-western France, the Gouffre de Proumeyssac is a remarkable natural phenomenon and an unmissable attraction for visitors to the area.

Discovered in 1907, the ancient Gouffre de Proumeyssac is the single largest developed cavern in the entire province of Périgord; a region of France world-famous for its abundance of prehistoric caves, many of which contain superbly-preserved examples of engravings and paintings dating back thousands of years. The wonders of the Gouffre de Proumeyssac, by contrast, are entirely natural. Entered on foot via a tunnel or from above in a gondola that gently lowers visitors to the floor of this vast natural cavern eight at a time, once fully-illuminated the sight within is nothing short of breath-taking.

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The Charming Dordogne The Charming Dordogne

The Charming Dordogne

Based in pretty Le Bugue, this rail holiday takes you to one of the most beautiful parts of France, where you can marvel at medieval towns, and outstanding countryside, and journey on a unique heritage railway.

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6 days from £749 pp

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The interior of the Gouffre de Proumeyssac is densely packed with impressive stalagmites, stalactites and other glittering crystalline rock formations which have earned this place the nickname 'the Cathedral of Crystal'. These stunning deposits of accumulated minerals have 'sculpted', over centuries, recognisable shapes and have been given names such as the waterfall, jellyfish, siren and octopus.

An introductory light-and-music display highlights Gouffre de Proumeyssac's remarkable formations and rock pools and this is followed by the opportunity to explore the cavern on foot, accompanied by an optional audio guide if required.

The spectacular Gouffre de Proumeyssac is located within a large area of parkland and woodlands through which enjoyable forest trails lead. A picturesque spot in which to enjoy a picnic in the French sunshine, the site also boasts several visitor facilities in addition to the cave itself. These include a café and bar, a gift and bookshop, an area which explains the region's geology and a play area for children.

For those visiting the Gouffre de Proumeyssac, this area of the Dordogne region boasts many addition places of interest nearby. Le Bugue, five kilometres away, is a beautiful town on the banks of the Vézère River and is home to the largest private fresh water aquarium in Europe as well as the theme-village Le Bournat - a life-sized replica of a traditional nineteenth century French village complete with artisans and traders.

Also nearby is the ancient and fortified village of Limeuil which stands at the point where the the Dordogne and Vezere Rivers meet and which has been declared one of the most beautiful villages in France. Set on a hill, cobbled streets wind through the picturesque village, ascending until they reach the the Parc Limeuil from which excellent views can be obtained.

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