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Entrance to Lombrives
Map showing the location of Lombrives
Map showing the location of Lombrives
Location in France
LocationOrnolac-Ussat-les-Bains, near Tarascon, Ariège, France
Coordinates42°49′24″N 01°36′59″E / 42.82333°N 1.61639°E / 42.82333; 1.61639Coordinates: 42°49′24″N 01°36′59″E / 42.82333°N 1.61639°E / 42.82333; 1.61639

Lombrives cave is located in Ornolac-Ussat-les-Bains, at the eastern edge of the Pyrénées Ariégeoises Natural Regional Park, Ariège, southwestern France. Earliest excavations by Félix Régnault took place in the late nineteenth century that confirmed human occupation during the Neolithic.[1] The Lombrives cave has been declared the largest or widest cave of Europe in terms of volume. Having a length of 39 kilometres (24 miles) it is certainly not the longest cave, compared to several other European sites, that exceed a length of over 200 kilometres (120 mi).[2][3]

However, the cave's passages, caverns and galleries are distributed on seven superimposed levels, the 80-metre-high (260-foot) Cathedral cave alone has the size of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, "the rule of Satan" hall being four times as large.[4]

Due to its sheer size the cave accounts for a great variety of geological formations, underground landscapes, hundreds of karst and limestone concretions, speleothems, stalactites, stalagmites, countless minerals and crystals that can be viewed in a natural setting.

The cave has served as a refuge throughout history and in addition to prehistoric Neolithic human presence, the "heretic" Cathars gathered at the site between the 12th and 14th centuries.[5]

Homo sapiens Bronze Age, Noulet 1882 MHNT


  1. ^ Bon, François; Dubois, Sébastien; Labails, Marie-Dominique (2010). Le Muséum de Toulouse et l'invention de la préhistoire. Muséum de Toulouse. ISBN 978-2-906702-18-9.
  2. ^ "GROTTE DE LOMBRIVES". Ariege-Pyrenees. Archived from the original on 1 April 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Lombrives reçoit le Guiness [sic]". Ladepeche. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Grotte de Lombrives cave system, the most extensive caves in France". Francethisway.com. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  5. ^ "Lombrives: The Cathedral of the Cathars - History and Archeology". Historiayarqueologia.net. Retrieved January 25, 2017.

Official Website http://www.grottedelombrives.fr