Whole lifetimes could be well spent enjoying everything that France has to offer. Between the exotic Riviera, stately Alps, gourmet cuisine, world-class wineries and countless gorgeous and historic destinations, it’s impossible to fully list all the great reasons to explore France in a rental car. But if you hadn’t included spelunking on your list of things to do in France, you may consider adding it. The unique experience of descending into a cavern in France can accentuate any travel itinerary. These three caves rate highly among our travel favorites!
The Ice Cave
Imagine walking right into the heart of a glacier. That’s what you can do when you visit the Mer de Glace Ice Cave, near Chamonix, France. Quaint and pretty, Chamonix itself is a gem for skiing enthusiasts for its location at the foot of Mont-Blanc. As the tallest mountain in Western Europe, this Alpine ski region offers intense trails, breathtaking views and plentiful white powder. This is the site of the 1924 Olympics and an adrenaline-packed scene in the James Bond film, ‘The World is Not Enough’. You reach the glacier with a short and gorgeous train ride. From inside the cave, in the quiet icy corridor, you can contemplate the enormity of a real glacier. The cave is a marvel of engineering and is re-made every year for safe exploration by the many enthusiastic visitors. You can rent a car right in Chamonix, or if you wish to include it in a European Alpine road trip, it is only around an hour from both Annecy and Geneva. Auto Europe can help you rent a car with snow tires for your winter Alpine adventures!
Lascaux Painted Caves
If you’re touring the vineyards surrounding Bordeaux in a rental car, you will be treated to a glimpse of prehistoric life when you stop at the Lascaux painted caves. The Lascaux Caves have preserved Paleolithic paintings estimated to be over 17,000 years old. Symbols, people and animals that lived in the area during that time period are all portrayed with great detail in the nearly 2000 painted figures in the great hall. Recently, researchers have theorized that the paintings may also include celestial patterns, and give insight into the constellation bodies perceived by earlier man. Ongoing preservation and reproduction efforts are in place to ensure that the paintings aren’t aged or damaged by climate change or visitation, so access to the actual caves is strictly limited, but the expertise of the tour leaders and the incredible quality of the reproductions will make this site a delight for the whole family. The charming nearby village of Montignac with its beautiful stone bridge, meandering river and sweet little shops is also worth a visit. Perhaps enjoy a lunch of provincial French cuisine before continuing your wine tours or driving on to the bustling and beautiful medieval city of Toulouse.
The Clamouse Cave
It takes less than an hour to drive from Montpellier to the Grotte de la Clamouse, in English, the Clamouse Cave. Visitors to this ancient geological formation are rewarded with the otherworldly beauty of the underground river. The stunning and drippy stalactites and stalagmites also feature sparkling crystal formations. The cave networks expand an impressive 17 miles into the earth, but the well kept tour areas safely and easily show you the some of the most impressive and beautiful sites. After your subterranean adventure, make a day of it by visiting the picturesque medieval stone village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert, a popular UNESCO World Heritage site. You can dine at the charming restaurants, tour the ancient early Christian monastery and take on Herault River rapids by kayak or canoe! Renting a car in Montpellier allows you to freely explore the wineries and olive groves that adorn the rolling hills of the warm Mediterranean region of France.
Whether you plan to sample the piquant vintages of Bordeaux, catch Mediterranean sunshine or ski the Alps, a cave tour can enrich your travels in France. So can a rental car with Auto Europe. We offer our clients high quality car rentals at discounted rates, and serve convenient locations all around the globe. You can book a rental for your overseas travel with our online booking enging, or you can speak to one of our ravel experts by calling us at 1-888-223-5555.