Grotte de Tourtoirac

by Bert Schwarz

We found the Tourtoirac cave only by chance, because the road through Tourtoirac is not wide and there were real trucks coming towards us. While driving on slowly we saw a small sign, turned off and found a nice employee who helped us to get the permission to film.

This underground vault has not been known for a long time. It was discovered on January 28, 1995 by a speleologist from Mussidan, Jean-Luc Sirieix.

Grotte de Tourtoirac

Story, Camera, Editor : Bert Schwarz

© travel-magazine TV 2020

The source of the Clautre creek in Tourtoirac had already attracted the attention of speleologists for many years. In the spring of 1980, Gerard Bugel, a speleologist, dived and made it 130 meters and reached a small open air gallery. There he could not find a way that led further and had to turn back.

On January 28, 1995, Jean-Luc Sireix, more experienced and with more luck, dived into the spring and managed to get further and discovered this beautiful cave. Proud of his discovery, he showed the cave to other speleologists : Philippe Marchive and Annie and Michel Maire. He organized a second expedition the following Saturday, February 4th 1995.

Grotte de Tourtoirac © Bert Schwarz
Grotte de Tourtoirac © Bert Schwarz

They dived several hundred meters into the cave, but on the way back fate struck: Jean-Luc and Annie Maire drowned. Philippe Marchive and Michel Maire barely escaped.

Through the initiative of Jean-Luc's parents, Jean and Arlette Siriex, the cave was opened to the public in May 2010.

The combination of the beauty that nature has shaped and the knowledge of the tragedy that ultimately made it possible for visitors to see and admire all of this, creates a humble sense of humility before the power of nature and the possibilities of man.