The abyss of Bramabiau is a cavity from which flows an underground river. Bramabiau, in occitan language, means “lowing ox“, because of the clatter of the 10 meters high waterfall.
A little geography…
The way to Saint Guilhem is the only way where you can be sure to find Happiness!
The Bonheur river (which means, in french, « Happiness river ») originates on the mountain of the Aigoual. It flows along the bottom of a little valley through about 5 km ; the nit becomes a sinking river. It divides in several underground rivers which dig a maze of more than 10 km long galleries, and finally reappears in a waterfall with the name of Bramabiau.
Discovery and exploring
Edouard Alfred Martel, the father of modern speleology, discovered the abyss in 1884 and was the first to successfully cross it some years later, in 1888.
Thereafter, other speleologists made significant discoveries in this cave : human footprints in the clay and a necropolis dating from later prehistory, and dozen of dinosaur footprints dataing from c. 200 million years.
The first facilities for public were developed in 1925. Nowadays, the abyss of Bramabiau is open to the public April 1 through All Saints Day, with a 1 km guided walk (paying visit).