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The Demoiselles caves: hairy ghosts, fairies and dread in the dark

Inside the cave | Palickap / CC-BY-SA
Natural cavity Exploration Legend Les Demoiselles caves

The one who saw stars

A shepherd, Jean, discovered the grottes des Demoiselles for the first time… by chance!

The legend says he fell in the biggest room. At the bottom, a little groggy, he saw stars… he saw fairies!

People call that cave bauma de las Doumassallas, ″young ladies’ cave″.

The cave’s little stories

Ghosts or hairy savages?

Men occupy the cave since a very long time. They took shelter here against winter’s rigour, wild beasts, wars…

The book Description de La Baume ou Grotte des demoiselles, à Saint-Bauzile, près de Ganges, dans les Cévennes by M. Marsollier Des Vivetières (1785) tells a family hid here during wars of Religion, because of slaughters and persecutions.

Sometimes they stole goats and scared inhabitants, at night, wandering in rags, looking like ghosts!

Soon, they were forced to eat roots, plants and little animals.

Living in the darkness, their children moved stark naked, on all fours… real wild creatures!

Marsollier, a real Indiana Jones!

Marsollier, councillor at the French audit office of Montpellier, explored the cave for the first time in 1780, but without results.

He came back in July 1780.

With his friends, he get down to the bottom: he let a sealed bottle with the report of their exploration inside, plus a leaden plaque with their names on it!

Indeed, what an expedition!

During his first visit, Marsollier wrote he nearly fainted in the darkness, while he was getting down on a rope ladder in the empty space, in this ″terrible precipice″!

He added: ″The deep silence, the disturbing sound of some broken stalactites falling from the vault... our travel looked like a real adventure.″

The two friends who get down before him had tired the ladder. With their weighs, the rope's rungs stretched!

He groped his way along on the ladder, he hanged the best he could so his arm started to hurt.

He stayed for a moment one feet on a rung, the other in the air, completely blocked... he couldn’t neither get up nor get down.

He stayed like this about 15 minutes, overlooking ″frightening precipices″...

The visit of the grotte des Demoiselles

One of the most gorgeous cave in France!

After a little travel in a funicular, let’s discover the Cathedral room: 120 metres long, 50 metres high!

Giant columns seem to support the ceiling. There, look: here’s the stalagmite looking like the Virgin Mary with her baby Jesus! Amazing…

On the other side, here’s the Organ. Marsollier wrote about his wonder:

″We have petrified cascades as white as enamel, others yellow, looking like superposed waves… The vault is full of festoons and spears, transparent as glass, the other as white as alabaster, crystals, diamonds, porcelain, blend of weird and rich materials...″

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!