Lombrives cave is located in Ornolac-Ussat-les-Bains, at the eastern edge of the Pyrénées Ariégeoises Natural Regional Park, Ariège, southwestern France. Earliest excavations by Félix Régnault took place in the late nineteenth century that confirmed human occupation during the Neolithic. The Lombrives cave has been declared the largest or widest cave of Europe in terms of volume. Having a length of 39 kilometers (24 mi) it is certainly not the longest cave, compared to several other European sites, that exceed a length of over 200 kilometers (120 mi).
However, the cave's subterranean passages, caverns and galleries are distributed on 7 superimposed levels, the 80 meter high Cathedral cave alone has the size of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, "The rule of Satan" hall being 4 times as large.
Due to its sheer size the cave accounts for a great variety of geological formations, underground landscapes, hundreds of karst and limestone concretions, speleothems, stalactites, stalagmites, countless minerals and crystals that can be viewed in a natural setting.
The cave has served as a refuge throughout history and in addition to prehistoric Neolithic human presence, the "heretic" Cathars gathered at the site between the 12th and 14th century.