Osselle cave: golden city, underground parties and giant mammals

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Inside the cave - ©Arnaud 25 / Public domain Inside the cave - ©Arnaud 25 / Public domain
Osselle caves Natural cavity Exploration Festivities Legend

The mysterious Golden city

Men knew these caves of Osselle since a very long time… they discovered it in the 13th century, and visits began in 1504! The cave inspired lots of books, like the one wrote by Loïs Gollut, Mémoires historiques de la République Séquanaise.

According to this chap, the name Osselle comes from Auricella, a Latin word meaning ″full of gold″. Yes, the legend says in Osselle there was the legendary city of Gold, which hid the most incredible treasure…

De Marchangy in his book Gaule poétique wrote about Osselle: ″Here, concretions are like giant alabaster forests. There, graves, pyramids, capitals, Gothic and Moorish architecture looking like lace. It’s like entering in the Spanish Alhambra or in some chapel"...

Osselle’s little stories

The steward’s palace

In 1763, a pretty eccentric chap made nice parties in the caves: he was the province’s steward, a guy called Toulongeon. He decorated a room, brought torches and paper lanterns: once they were lit, whoa, the light just reflected on the concretions… awesome!

By the way, since we’re talking about concretions: Toulongeon found the stalactites gorgeous, so he decided to take some in order to decorate his own castle! He began to cut columns, he put them in a cart, but because of the narrowness of the cave’s entrance, he never succeeded in putting them out! Toulongeon also raised a stony bridge on an underground river… then he stopped his crazy things!

Pursued priests and giant bears

After that, pursued priests during the French Revolution came secretly here to say the Mass: besides we can see a kind of altar they used, in one of the rooms! In 1826, archaeologists found animals fossil bones under a big layer of rocky pieces…

Including an entire skeleton of cave bear, Ursus speloeus, today displays in the British Museum: this creature weighs more than 1 ton! In 1970, besides, about 15 others bears skeletons were found here...

The visit of Osselle

Come on, let’s discover Osselle and its 15 rooms! Bats’ room, Theater room, Chaos room… Even stalactites have name here: the Draped Curtain, Colonnades, Palm trees trunks... and don’t miss all those beautiful colors, from red to blue, from green to orange!


And also!