120 Years of History
The Great Adventure
Although he lacked the money to carry out his project – to make this fantastic place publicly accessible – fate came to his aid.
One day Martel forgot his bag containing maps of the Gouffre and his design ideas in a Parisian cab. The next passenger was George Beamish, heir of the lrish beer of the same name, who found it, opened it and was amazed. He contacted Martel and offered to join his project.
The Gouffre de Padirac’s great adventure could finally begin!
There would only be nine more years of Herculean labors before the first visitors could descend into the Gouffre on 1 November 1898.
The official opening took place on 10 April 1899 in the presence of the media and numerous personalities. One year later, the Paris World Fair substantially increased the popularity of the Gouffre de Padirac.
From 6,000 visitors in 1899, there were nearly 104,000 in 1947.
The attractiveness of the Gouffre de Padirac has never faded ever since. The Gouffre de Padirac speleological society today employs around a hundred people during their high season.
Each year more than 400,000 visitors descend into the pit to observe the wonders patiently carved by water drops for millennia.
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