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La Balme-les-Grottes

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Isère

La Balme-les-Grottes - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Isère

Village of a little over 1000 inhabitants located in Isere, La Balme-les-Grottes takes place at about forty minutes from Lyon, in the extreme north of the department.

Populated since Prehistory, as evidenced by the various flints found on the spot and left there by the Neanderthals, the town of La Balme-les-Grottes takes its name from the pre-Romanesque, balma, meaning cavern. It develops over the centuries, gradually taking its present appearance of charming authentic village.

Known for its caves and its ancient architectural charm, the Isère city has been able to highlight its history and traditions to attract more and more tourists. Its proximity to the largest city in the region definitely makes it a must visit place in Isere.

Geographical information

MunicipalityLa Balme-les-Grottes
Latitude45.8518020 (N 45° 51’ 6”)
Longitude5.3373460 (E 5° 20’ 14”)
AltitudeFrom 192m to 383m
Surface area14.61 km²
Population1023 inhabitants
Density70 inhabitants/km²
PrefectureGrenoble (66 mi, 1h20)
Insee code38026
IntercommunalityCC Les Balcons du Dauphiné
TerritoryAlps, Dauphiné

Nearest cities & towns

Parmilieu2.1 mi (9 min)
Vertrieu2.7 mi (8 min)
Lagnieu3.8 mi (9 min)
Saint-Sorlin-en-Bugey3.9 mi (9 min)
Charette4.5 mi (11 min)
Saint-Baudille-de-la-Tour4.7 mi (14 min)
Hières-sur-Amby5.2 mi (11 min)
Sault-Brénaz5.7 mi (11 min)
Vaux-en-Bugey6.3 mi (11 min)
Sainte-Julie6.5 mi (12 min)
Montalieu-Vercieu6.5 mi (13 min)
Vernas6.6 mi (15 min)
Leyment7.3 mi (13 min)
Porcieu-Amblagnieu7.3 mi (16 min)

Things to see and do

Considered as one of the seven wonders of Dauphiné with the Aiguille mount, the Fountain ardente, the tower without venom, the Cuves de Sassenage, the bridge Lesdiguières de Claix, and the Pierre Percée, the cave of La Balme is presented under the impressive shape of a porch sheltering two chapels, as well as a set of amphitheater caves of small-basins. Many prehistoric and medieval remains have been found, and the site probably would have been visited by King Francis I himself as evidenced by an apocryphal portrait. It is one of the most remarkable natural sites of the country, revealing a set of stalactites, stalagmites, underground lakes or labyrinths. The two chapels date back to the 11th and 14th century and have been classified as Historical Monuments. The cave of La Balme is accessible by guided tour.

The castle of Salette also worth visiting with its remains of the old Carthusian monastery. It is possible to admire elements of the nineteenth century listed historical monuments such as facades, roofs, stairs, park, factories and fence walls.

While strolling in the village, do not miss to go in the Romanesque church, to admire the wash-house or the ruins of the castle of Amblérieu registered with the Historical Monuments.

Places of interest

Leisure centres

Events and festivities

Many activities are offered throughout the year in the cave of La Balme as an Easter egg hunt, the Balm Halloween at the end of October, or the intervention of Santa Claus in December.

In August, place at Vogue and its many animations.

International Night of the Bat!


Caves de la Balme - Gours or Small ponds (© D.Junger)
Caves de la Balme - Gours or Small ponds (© D.Junger)
See photo
Caves de la Balme - Underground Lake (© D.Jungers)
Caves de la Balme - Underground Lake (© D.Jungers)
See photo
Caves Preview video of La Balme
Caves Preview video of La Balme
See photo
Minioptères (© DR)
Minioptères (© DR)
See photo
Great Fountain (© DR)
Great Fountain (© DR)
See photo
Labyrinth chuck (© DR)
Labyrinth chuck (© DR)
See photo
Caves entrance of La Balme (© DR)
Caves entrance of La Balme (© DR)
See photo


Sunday 16 july
Min. 15°C - Max. 28°C
Monday 17 july
Min. 14°C - Max. 30°C
Tuesday 18 july
Min. 15°C - Max. 30°C

Visits, leisure and activities nearby

Crémieu, site Larina (Hières-sur-Amby) ViaRhôna, Leisure Valley Blue.

Leisure activities

Last nameActivity typeRateCity
Visit of the Abbey Notre Dame des Dombes
Culture and education5 € Le Plantay (17.3 mi)
Vanciaventure Adventure Park
Entertainment14 € to 20 € Rillieux-la-Pape (21 mi)
Canyoning around Lyon
Sports sensations45 € to 70 € Lyon (25 mi)
48 hour Duo Lyon Pass - 48 hour hop-on hop-off bus access & 1 hour tram access
Culture and education26 € Lyon (25 mi)
Tramway ride through the historical quarters of Lyon - 1 hour
Culture and education9 € Lyon (25 mi)


Last nameOuting typeDifficultyDurationDeparture municipality
Circuit Cuny's tour
HikeEasy4h10Villebois (4.7 mi)
Circuit The four villages
HikeIntermediate7h05Saint-Denis-en-Bugey (6.9 mi)
The Evosges Memorial Trail
HikeEasy3h30Évosges (10.8 mi)
Circuit ovens of Bressolles
HikeEasy1h10Bressolles (11.7 mi)
Coastal Walking Tour
HikeIntermediate4h25Pizay (12.2 mi)


Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals



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