It’s one of a series of concretion caves in the Aude department that have been declared a World Natural Heritage Site.
Limousis A refuge since prehistoric times
Thanks to archaeological excavations carried out in conjunction with the development of the cave for visitors, we know that the Limousis cave has been occupied by man since prehistoric times. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the century, the science of archaeology was still in its infancy, and earthworks were carried out without any method, resulting in the loss of many remains. It was the chance visit of Abbé Janard, an amateur archaeologist, that saved some of the pieces from oblivion and demonstrated the interest of the site. It is thanks to these finds that we can confirm that man has occupied this cave from prehistoric times right up to the Middle Ages, finding refuge whenever a threat alerted the local inhabitants, or shelter for those who worked in the area: shepherds, hunters, woodcutters etc…
Limousis From a simple cave to a major site
In 1825, the cave was opened to visitors, under the supervision of a guide, with the entrance fee donated to the commune’s poor by municipal decision.
A lease was then granted to manage the cave and its visitors. The first footbridge was built to access the part of the cave containing the previously inaccessible inner lake. During maintenance work in 1913, the site workers guessed that another gallery lay beyond a stalagmitic wall… He dug down and discovered the famous aragonite chandelier, which was to become the centerpiece of the visit.
It wasn’t until 1935 that visits were conducted by electric light, which significantly increased the number of visits until the discovery of the Cabesprine chasm, which stole the limelight from the Limousis cave.
In 2003, the manager in charge of the cave renovated the site’s electrical system and set up a sound and light show to highlight the aragonite chandelier: it was a success, with visitor numbers soaring to 37,000 a year.
Visit to the Limousis cave
The first room is modest in size, opening onto the much larger “Columns” room further down, which in turn leads to a gallery leading to the “Green Lake” room. Then, in the “ball” room, you’ll discover the first aragonite stones. This hall takes its name from the local tradition of celebrating with music and dance in the cave every year.
Finally, the tour ends in the “lustre” room, the largest and most prestigious of all, featuring the “aragonite lustre”, a concretion measuring several cubic metres and the only one of its kind in the world.
Open daily from March 1 to November 11
camping Limousis, limousis caves