The Canalettes Caves are several grottoes located in the commune of Corneilla-de-Conflent, in the heart of the Catalan Regional Park in the Pyrénées-Orientales department, in the Occitania region (PyreneesFrance).

There are La Grotte de Fuilla, La Grotte des Canalettes, La Grotte des Grandes Canalettes, La Cova Bastera, and La Grotte de Villefranche.

Grandes Canalettes is the biggest grotto. These caves excursions are like a trip to another world. Grandes Canalettes cave is less than one kilometer from the Villefranche-de-Conflent medieval town, which is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list, along the road from Corneilla-de-Conflent to Vernet-les-Bains.

The inscription at the grotto entrance says: “The one who enters the cave and then leaves it, seizes the secrets of the hidden world … Know another universe where the sun never looks, where there is no night because there is no day. Time does not matter here, it is innumerable here… ”

Grandes Canalettes Cave is part of an extensive network of underground canals and lakes of the Canigou Massif, called Fuilla-Canalettes. Mr. M. Motte, the researcher, discovered the cave accidentally in 1951, and Henri Salvayre, a hydrogeologist and a specialist in the underworld, became interested in it in 1957.

Edmond Delonca began the first drilling works to commence the cave’s full-scale exploration in 1978. The “White Room” discovery happened in 1982; it is the part of the grotto with huge white stalactites and stalagmites, which prompted researchers to open the cave to the public.

Festivals and music events take place regularly in the caves. Halloween is one of the most popular days to visit it; they offer free entry for visitors (children and adults) in the most original suits. The cave turns into a dance floor sometimes (for example, there was the “Odyssey Terror” theme party on October 31st, 2018).

Children should visit the caves during the Christmas and Easter holidays. There are light and sound shows lasting up to 40 minutes (designed for 250 spectators).

As for music events, here you can see a concert with stirring music. There is the “Secrets of the Earth” (“Les Secrets de la Terre”) light and sound show in the summer, usually in July and August, every hour from 11.00 to 18.00.

Part of the cave is accessible to wheelchair users.

A visit to the cave of Grandes Canalettes:

From April 1 to June 30: from 10.00 to 17.00 (last visit)

From July 1 to August 31 : from 10.00 to 17:30 (last visit)

From September 1 to September 30: from 10.00 to 17.00 (last visit)

From 1 October to 11 November: from 11.00 to 16.00 (last visit)

School holidays – from 11.00 to 16.00 (last visit)

The cave is closed on December 25 and January 1

Ticket price

Adult: 10 € – Children: 6 € (from 5 to 12 years inclusive). Children under 5 years – free of charge

How to get to?

From Paris: 9 hr 11 min (894 km) via A71 and A75

From Toulouse: 3 hr 8 min (245 km) via A61

From Andorra: 2 hr 12 min (119 km) via Eix Pirinenc/N-260 and N116

From Barcelona: 3 hr 2 min (206 km) via C-16

From Madrid: 8 hr 1 min (720 km) via A-2

From Monaco: 6 hr 4 min (558 km) via A8

From Moscow: 38 hr (3,469 km) via E30/M1

From Belgrade: 19 hr 12 min (1,847 km) via E70

From Istanbul: 30 hr (2,796 km) via E70

From Bern: 8 hr 37 min (816 km) via A9

See here Pyrenees travel guide

See here France travel guide

See here Spain travel guide

Read more: Interesting places in the Pyrenees and around with Jane Cautch ...