Grottes du Cerdon
A closer look at the Grottes du Cerdon
The Grottes du Cerdon are caves that straddle the border between the towns of Labalme and Cerdon, in the Ain department. During the Ice Age, the caves were shaped by the river, which then receded over the years.
Soon, the first humans began using the caves as a shelter. Discoveries such as animal bones, pottery, and even a human skull prove that the Grottes du Cerdon were inhabited over 10,000 years ago. The caves have long been considered useful by humans, thanks to their strategically significant location on a belvedere overlooking the plain. Ideal for defensive purposes!
However, it was only in 1930 that the full extent of the cave, as we know now it, was discovered. At this time, a local cheesemaker was using part of the cave to mature his Bleu de Gex. His curiosity, piqued by bats, led him to discover an enormous underground gallery.
Now, the Grottes du Cerdon are open to the public. Visitors can admire the extensive underground network, stretching over one kilometre. But that’s not all! Visitors to the caves can also explore the Prehistoric Leisure Park. The leisure park allows visitors of all ages to learn about the site and about archaeology in general.
This unique attraction has proved very popular, as the Grottes du Cerdon welcomes tens of thousands of visitors every year. This makes the caves one of the most visited places in Ain and the Jura Mountains. So, if you’re staying at a campsite close to the caves, don’t miss the opportunity for a fantastic day out with family or friends.
Open from April onwards, the site is divided into two parts: the caves on one side, and the leisure park on the other.
If you want to visit the caves, there are several options. You can tour the caves with the help of a guide, or independently. On Sundays at 1 pm (booking required), there is a storytelling tour of the caves designed specifically for children, who must be accompanied by an adult.
Please note that there are two parts to the caves tour. The first part is a circuit, which will bring you back to the starting point. However, there is an option to continue along a route with a steep drop that leads to the belvedere, which offers an impressive panoramic view over the Cerdon valley and its vineyards. Caution: this option is more physically demanding.
The leisure park offers numerous interactive activities, putting visitors at the centre of the action. Discover how the first humans lived and what an archaeologist does. Try your hand at an archaeological dig for example, or painting and pottery, with the same techniques that were used during the prehistoric era. You can follow in our ancestors’ footsteps as you learn how to make fire with flint and hunt.
Worried you won’t be able to visit both? No problem – you can buy separate tickets for each part of the site.
There’s plenty for you to discover on your camping trip!