Discovering Armand sinkhole
The cave was named after the man who discovered it, Louis Armand.
A locksmith from Rozier who found it by chance on September 18th 1897, during a stroll in the causse Méjean.
People in the area already called this hole aven, a French word referring to a chasm dug by percolated water in the limestone.
But it remains completely unexplored!
Armand threw a stone in the hole to see how deep it was. Whoa, a real abyss!
Indeed, the aven is a vertical and narrow chasm, about 195 metres deep!
He came back on next morning with stuffs and team.
Armand get down in the hole. Aah, he was so happy! People at the surface heard his reactions with a telephone. ″More beautiful than the cave of Dargilan! A real stony forest!″ said he.
Immediately after his amazing discovery, Armand met his friend the famous speleologist Martel.
He said: ″Listen to me and don’t say a word to anyone. I think I have discovered a second cave of Dargilan! Oh, mine is more beautiful, of course!″
Martel himself discovered Dargilan and Bramabiau in the area.
But...now, another place to explore! Curious, Martel get down in the hole 2 days later, on September 20th.
Amazed, he decided to give the name of Armand to the cave. The cave was fit out in 1926 and one year later, the first visitors arrived.
A plaque at the entrance echoes ″Martel, Armand, Viré, benefactors of the Causses. Inventors of the most beautiful aven of the world.″ Is that all?
We take a long tunnel and finally turn up where the first explorers arrived.
At the top of the tunnel, a kind of gazebo with an amazing view is waiting for us: the room below is 50 metres deep...
The main room is known as the ″virgin forest″. Where does this name come from?
There are 400 unique stalagmites looking like a kind of petrified forest, with stony trees (some of them are 25 metres high). Oh, several of them look like palm-trees trunks, aren’t they?
Don’t miss the draperies, the concretion as known as the ″Breton calvary″ and the Big stalagmite: when Armand discovered the cave, it was the hugest one in the world!
Before that, the highest stalagmite was in the cave of Aggtelek (Hungary).