Grandes Canalettes cave is located at 300 metres from the medieval town of Villefranche-de-Conflent on the road to Corneilla-de-Conflent and Vernet-les-Bains, in the département of Pyrénées-Orientales, France. The cave was discovered by chance in 1951 by Mr Motte. A few years later, in 1957, the Fuilla network of underground galleries was presented to Henri Salvayre, a hydro geologist and expert in underground galleries. In 1978, he met Edmond Delonca, a driller by trade. Together they embarked on the monumental job of exploring the galleries. It was the start of a long and deep friendship between the two men. Exploration of the galleries commenced in 1981 with the help of former miner Joseph Pujol and GEK caving member Henri Lozano. Salle Blanche (the White Gallery) was discovered in 1982. Stringent planning and development studies ensued with the view of opening the unique Grandes Canalettes cave to the public.
Les Canalettes cave is located near Corneilla de Conflent. It was explored for the first time in 1952 following the discovery of a natural opening one year earlier. With considerable difficulty, a team of cavers from Prades managed to get through the first 15 metre shaft leading to the gallery from where visitors now have access to the ramifications of the cave.
This magical underground world was first opened to visitors at Easter 1954 by Jean Castillo. His son Elie and his daughter-in-law Georgette took on the management of the cave.
(Guided tours in July and August).