Author Topic: Caves in Jura, France?  (Read 2358 times)

Offline Caverdaddy

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Caves in Jura, France?
« on: July 16, 2016, 01:24:54 pm »
I'm taking the family to France in Aug and looking to do some caving with them possibly in the Jura region. I'm hoping to find information or recommendations for caves with entrance series that are suitable for kids. Don't want entrance pitches as just planning relatively short horizontal stuff. They've caved in the UK and have appropriate equipment. I'm not interested in show caves. Looking for 'wild' caves that are not a huge hike in. Have googled this but no luck in my search for info.

Anyone able to point me in the right direction?

Many thanks...

Offline Fulk

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Re: Caves in Jura, France?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2016, 02:01:10 pm »
Hi, we went to the Jura 3 years ago, and did a bit of caving.

The only cave we visited that would fulfil your criteria is called the Grotte des Faux-Monnayeurs, which is not far from Ornans, where we were staying.

We actually did the cave in T-shirts and shorts, it being an easy walk in to where the roof gets a bit low and the floor a bit damp; given our clothing, we aborted at this point, so I'm not sure how much further you can get (and whether it's worth it).

Incidentally, there is a side passage that leads to an alternative entrance, but it's part-way up a cliff, and the drop off is about 35 m. It's rigged with bolts for abbing off . . . if your sprogs are up to that; if not, keep them on a tight lead if you venture there!

I guess you should be able to  get more information by Googling the name.

Cheers, enjoy your holiday – what about hiring canoes for a trip down the river that flows through Ornans? The staff see you off and pick you up and bring you back.

Offline Caverdaddy

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Re: Caves in Jura, France?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2016, 03:08:54 pm »
Many thanks for that Fulk. Sounds interesting. How far in roughly in metres to where it gets lower? Am I understanding right that the side passage goes to an entrance 'window' up the cliff and you ab out of the cave to ground level? If so I might take a rope with view to doing that as an entertaining exit  We're planning a bit of a multi activity holiday with climbing, via ferratta, wild swimming etc.

Offline Fulk

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Re: Caves in Jura, France?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2016, 03:51:12 pm »
We stayed at a pleasant camp site just outside Ornans (near Besançcon), and combined caving with walking, a bit of canyoning and as I mentioned, canoeing on the nearby river. We also did some via ferrata, although there aren't (weren't in 2013) that many VFs nearby.

I can't remember just how far the cave I mentioned goes before it gets low, but there is information on the Internet. You're right in inferring that the side passage leads to a 'window' in the cliff; I guess you know the capabilities of your kids, and whether it would be appropriate for them to abb off; you're also correct in inferring that it's an entertaining exit.

Offline Clive G

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Re: Caves in Jura, France?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2016, 02:55:24 pm »
There's a good summary of caving in the Jura to be found in the Chelsea Spelæological Society Newsletter 28(1), October 1985, pp. 2-30, with many surveys and plans.

I don't recall many caves there, apart from show caves, not having either at least one pitch to get in or lakes (with cold water) requiring swimming attire (wetsuits) and ability. The Gouffre de Granges-Mathieu was a failed show cave when we went there in 1985, so things may well have changed since. It has a 22m pitch (tree belay) to get to the 'gated' cave entrance which could then easily be passed by cavers. The columns at the end of the cave are well worth seeing and photographing. However, it was felt to be unsuitable for small children without some degree of lifelining in places.

Clive Westlake is the most knowledgeable person on caving in the Jura who I know and he may well be able to advise as to the best non-technical caves to visit in the area. If you have the name of a cave you are interested in and want accurate location details then I have some good guidebooks, which would also be helpful to browse, if you can find copies in a caving club library somewhere: Inventaire Spéléologique du Doubs, Vols. 1 & 2, and Topoguide 1: Spéléologie en Franche-Comté.

Offline Caverdaddy

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Re: Caves in Jura, France?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2016, 09:12:38 am »
Thanks Clive. Google search of Gouffre de Granges-Mathieu brought up more results and saw that SWCC had an exped in area in 2005. All looks good for a club trip but not so easy for a family trip. Would love to ab them in but harder work hauling them out!

I'll check with my club if they have the CSS newsletter in the library.

If anyone else thinks of horizontal entrance series caves then please let me know.

Offline Jeanrr

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Re: Caves in Jura, France?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2016, 02:19:20 pm »
Try the Grottes des Cavottes

Offline paul

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Re: Caves in Jura, France?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2016, 07:15:59 pm »
Also Grotte de la Baume du Mont. Short drive from Ornans. Involves a short fixed ladder down into a large opening and steep walk down into large well-decorated passage with easy walking.

There is a small chamber at the end with various bits of graffiti including signatures from local artist Courbet and the earliest dated 1674.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 08:33:39 pm by paul »
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Offline Caverdaddy

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Re: Caves in Jura, France?
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2016, 01:30:38 pm »
Thanks Paul & Jean. Spot on!
Have got more info and surveys of both caves off the web and will be putting them into our itinerary

Offline Caverdaddy

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Re: Caves in Jura, France?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2016, 10:16:38 pm »
Thought I'd report back that we had a successful family trip down Baume du Mont with a 5,7 &10 yr old. We didn't manage any other caving unfortunately but had a fantastic holiday with lots of wild swimming, via ferratas, mountain walks, climbing etc. (Also went to The Vanoise)
The Jura has a lot to offer and we'll definitely go back there for more next year.
NB There's a good very cheap municipal campsite at Moulins Neuf, about 10KM SE of Ornans 

Offline paul

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Re: Caves in Jura, France?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2016, 12:51:49 pm »
Excellent.  :thumbsup:
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