Dwight Peck's personal website
Grottes de Vallorbe
the fairies keep their treasure, supposedly
The River Orbe begins near the Lac des Rousses in France,
just over the Col de la Givrine from St Cergue in Switzerland, and flows northeastward
some 30km along the Swiss frontier to the Lac de Joux. Then, near Le Pont under
the Dent de Vaulion at the northeastern end of the lake, it just disappears down
into the bowels of the, er, depths of the limestone
mountain . . .
. . .
and, having tumbled and roared through whacking great caverns, it pops out, 250
meters lower down, just near here (whereafter it carries on past the town of Vallorbe
and turns eastward out past the town of Orbe to the Plaines de . . . [guess]
. . . l'Orbe, where by this time thoroughly channeled into irrigation systems
it reaches Lac de Neuchâtel at Yverdon).
is the ticket-taker's cabin, where you can also buy ice cream(!) and rent a jacket
to wear if you want to into the caves -- the temperature remains about 8-10°C
all year. An artificial tunnel walks you about 80 meters back to where the real
caverns take over.
de Vallorbe were apparently discovered in 1962 when some cave divers were exploring
a "siphon" at the sources of the river. Excellent and safe walkways,
stairways, catwalks, and lighting have been laid on and the caves were opened
to the public in 1974.
have got the full array of great cave stuff, like stalactites and stalagmites,
of course, and long scrolly things and things like organ pipes and spiraly sheets
of tissue paper, along with lots of towering ceilings and pits into hell, etc.
narrator called in on the Grottes in early October 2003 with visiting daughter
Alison . . .
. . .
who is here trying to photograph the River Orbe about 60 meters below this catwalk
(though a sign on the wall somewhat above her head shows the river's high water
mark during a rainy season in about 1977).
through the public parts of the caves takes about an hour, and a map shows how
little of the cave systems have even been explored, let alone improved for the
posing with displays of the equipment the caves' first explorers used. Before
leaving the caves, you also pass through four hollowed-out chambers, opened in
1992, which display the "Trésor des Fées" or fairies'
treasure, a couple of hundred jewel-like and sometimes weird pieces of mountain
crystal, quartz and what not, from all over the world. It's an acquired taste.
not all the cave-exploring to be done round here, though.
to the Grottes de Vallorbe sets you back a rather burdensome 12 Swiss francs or
so, but before walking the 10 minutes back towards your automobile you can cross
the famous River Orbe itself, climb up the forest
hillside for a while and see, absolutely free . .
. . another Fairies' Cave.
amenities here, and you can't go far inside without lights, even when . . .
. . you try to light your way along with the camera flash.
with her very nice Sony digital in a little cave not far from the Grottes de Vallorbe,
again, three years later, 15 April 2006
sped through the Grottes de Vallorbe (see above), determined to discover what's
really going on at the back of the Fairies' Cave, a few hundred meters up the
hill from the Grottes de Vallorbe.
and Teny on a scoping mission into the Grottes des Fées . . .
. . and reporting back from behind the photographer's exhalations.
way leads onward, despite the photographer's breath condensations.
narrator, breathing heavily from all the exertion, photographs Kristin in his
narrator holds his breath and lets Kristin take the next photo.
our way out again. We didn't get very far into it, but perhaps next time.
to brave the mud on the way out.
peaking (or peeking) down into the cave through the roof.
that's enough of that for one day! On to Romainmôtier.
And again, 5 May 2013
See that here.
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 11 December 2003, revised 8 March
2008 and 4 October 2013.