From November 8, 2021, the Arcy caves will be closed for the entire winter, until early April 2022.
In winter, the water level may rise at the bottom of the Great Cave and limit visitors' access to certain rooms, but the winter closure is primarily for conservation reasons.
It allows the cave to be completely dark for several months, thus limiting the exposure of the cave paintings to light, to which they are sensitive. It also gives the air time to renew itself entirely in the cave and to eliminate the CO2 (carbon dioxide) accumulated by the breathing of visitors during the tourist season, in order to preserve the paintings in the best possible conditions. The cave indeed "breathes" through the cracks of the limestone, but at a rather slow pace, and a permanent exposure to CO2 would be harmful to the paintings.
Finally, the winter closure is an opportunity for us to carry out the maintenance work necessary to welcome visitors.
So come back in April, to visit a cave in top shape! Have a nice winter and happy Christmas celebrations.
Photo Patrice Ferrasse
Work of art from the summer exhibition STOP! which took place from July 15 to October 15, 2021, having the will to develop the heritage of Arcy-sur-Cure by making it dialogue with the work of a duo of contemporary artists: Sabien Witteman and Patrice Ferrasse. This artistic journey took place in the heart of a strong heritage: the manor of Chastenay, the caves and the village center of Arcy-sur-Cure, the Sauvin lake, the Chapel and the school of Beugnon.
Many thanks to Patrice Ferrasse, whose works were exhibited all summer in the Great Cave of Arcy.
This little lamp that fits in one hand is about the only source of light that photographer Juliette Agnel took with her to work at the bottom of the Grande Grotte d'Arcy.
For some time now, Juliette Agnel has been coming and going to the caves of Arcy for a long term artistic work, which we will have the pleasure to present to you in a few months. Little by little, she is learning to enter this unusual environment to fix some images in time.
Thirty meters underground, the environment is so rich and the darkness so deep, that a new landscape is drawn each time the lighting is changed even a little. Objects, shapes, and shadows change as the light changes location, color, or intensity. This is perhaps how we begin to glimpse the cave that our ancestors Homo Sapiens knew, when they came to paint here by the light of the flames, almost 30,000 years ago...
Around this work, we welcome the visit of Françoise Schmitt, founder of the IESA arts & culture (International School of Arts and Culture) and of AderamuS (Association for the Museums of Sens), as well as Marta Ponsa, responsible for artistic projects and cultural action of the Jeu de Paume, in Paris.
We also acknowledge the help and participation of Cécile Rusterholtz, Yisang Shin and Stéphanie Lefebvre.