Set at the end of the path that has been laid out alongside the river, the entrance to the Gouffre is about 1 km away, and the main course of the river continues for a further 19 km before flowing into the River Dordogne.
The river comes to the surface at four places in the village of Montvalent, on the banks of the River Dordogne. The most significant point of emergence is Fontaine Saint-Georges, a natural basin that is several tens of metres deep.
In all, 42 kilometres of galleries have been mapped by speleologists who have worked in succession in this underground labyrinth. 42 kilometres each metre of which was an incredible discovery.
The great difficulty for expeditions in the Padirac network is the presence of siphons, ducts that are filled with water. The flooded sections force speleologists to use diving equipment that is essential for exploring natural basins devoid of air. Even today, many speleologists want to follow in the footsteps of Édouard-Alfred Martel and discover what the heart of the world has not yet yielded up of its secrets.