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The Two Caves: Le Gouffre Géant and Grotte de Limousis, Languedoc, France - 11th August 2018

Another of the recommendations of the dude who owns the house is a visit to some nearby (~40km) caves - the Gouffre Géant at Cabrespine and the Grotte de Limousis. The Gouffre Géant wins on sheer epic scale (it's truly enormous) but we do the smaller of the two, at Limousis, first, and it proves to be the better visit. This is partly because the tour actually takes us through several chambers in the extensive cave system, so you get to feel a bit more like you're actually exploring the underground world, but also because the guide is amusing and talks slowly and clearly enough so that we can both easily translate for the boys, so that they also know what's going on. The tour of the Cabrespine "giant" is much less extensive and the tour guide rattles through her spiel rapidly and with a heavy accent, making it frankly baffling. However, the size of the cave is truly staggering, so it's still worth a look. In between the two, we stop off at Villeneuve de Minervois for a spot of lunch, and afterwards, after Harry spots some actual otters in the river, as we head back to the Cité of Carcassonne to watch the evening light show of the living stones: Les pierres sont vivantes en ma Cité de Carcassonne!

next album: Petanque and a Lightning Storm, Carcassonne, Aude, France - 12th August 2018
previous album: The Lac de la Cavayère, Carcassonne, Aude, France - 10th August

2018 Isobel has a tiny coffee as we wait for our first cave tour to kick off

Isobel has a tiny coffee as we wait for our first cave tour to kick off

2018 The tour group assembles by the small Hobbit-hole door to the cave

The tour group assembles by the small Hobbit-hole door to the cave

2018 Harry and Isobel appear

Harry and Isobel appear

2018 The stalactites and stalagmites are nicely reflected in water

The stalactites and stalagmites are nicely reflected in water

2018 In the green pool, which stays at 8°C all year round

In the green pool, which stays at 8°C all year round

2018 The tour guide perches on a fence

The tour guide perches on a fence

2018 Twisty rocks

Twisty rocks

2018 Lines formed by several different river levels can be seen

Lines formed by several different river levels can be seen

2018 Delicate crystals in the Aragonite 'chandelier'

Delicate crystals in the Aragonite 'chandelier'

2018 The Aragonite chandelier

The Aragonite chandelier

2018 More stalagtites

More stalagtites

2018 The tour guide pretends to hold up the cave

The tour guide pretends to hold up the cave

2018 Spectacular columns of concretion on the way out of the cave

Spectacular columns of concretion on the way out of the cave

2018 Hundreds of needle-like stalactites dangle from the roof of the cave

Hundreds of needle-like stalactites dangle from the roof of the cave

2018 Vineyards and mountains

Vineyards and mountains

2018 The town of Villeneuve de Minervois and some vines

The town of Villeneuve de Minervois and some vines

2018 The sleepy town of Villeneuve

The sleepy town of Villeneuve

2018 Fred and Harry do 'cheers'

Fred and Harry do 'cheers'

2018 There's a fiddle statue which looks just like the straw one at the Cambridge folk festival

There's a fiddle statue which looks just like the straw one at the Cambridge folk festival

2018 Tree-covered French street

Tree-covered French street

2018 A closed-up bakers

A closed-up bakers

2018 Looking down from the top of the hill

Looking down from the top of the hill

2018 Villeneuve back street and clock tower

Villeneuve back street and clock tower

2018 Harry eats a Croque Monsieur

Harry eats a Croque Monsieur

2018 Up in the hills outside cave 2: the Gouffre Géant

Up in the hills outside cave 2: the Gouffre Géant

2018 The gang roam around

The gang roam around

2018 Cabrespine 'giant hole' sounds a bit less romantic than Gouffre Géant

Cabrespine 'giant hole' sounds a bit less romantic than Gouffre Géant

2018 It's hard to get a sense of the size of this cave, but it's 200 metres from top to bottom

It's hard to get a sense of the size of this cave, but it's 200 metres from top to bottom

2018 Epic stalactite structures

Epic stalactite structures

2018 There's a structure that looks just like the Jules Rimay world cup

There's a structure that looks just like the Jules Rimay world cup

2018 More groovy stonework

More groovy stonework

2018 ALien-like concretions

ALien-like concretions

2018 Back at the house, Harry tries to hack up a cork

Back at the house, Harry tries to hack up a cork

2018 Harry's got some pants on outside his trousers

Harry's got some pants on outside his trousers

2018 Fred does his astro jacks out in the street

Fred does his astro jacks out in the street

2018 Harry spots actual otters in the river

Harry spots actual otters in the river

2018 One of the otters - which we name Lottie or Otis - swims around

One of the otters - which we name Lottie or Otis - swims around

2018 Isobel, Harry and Fred wander back up to the Cité

Isobel, Harry and Fred wander back up to the Cité

2018 The sun sets over Carcassonne

The sun sets over Carcassonne

2018 The boys run around again

The boys run around again

2018 There are some impressive projections on the walls of the Château Comtal

There are some impressive projections on the walls of the Château Comtal

2018 A map of France in lights

A map of France in lights

2018 More impressive lights from the Cité des Pierres Vivantes light show

More impressive lights from the Cité des Pierres Vivantes light show

2018 There's a performance from a highly-unusual 6-stringed cello

There's a performance from a highly-unusual 6-stringed cello

2018 Some kind of dance occurs within the Château Comtal

Some kind of dance occurs within the Château Comtal

2018 A dancer stands on his head

A dancer stands on his head

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Isobel has a tiny coffee as we wait for our first cave tour to kick off