The Chaire-à-Calvin shelter is found near the village of Mouthiers-sur-Boëme in the département of Charente, about ten kilometres south of Angoulême.

The shelter is located on the left bank of the Gersac River. This deep indentation – also known as the La Rochandry Shelter, La Papeterie Grotto and Mouthiers Grotto – takes its name from a local legend, according to which John Calvin preached a sermon nearby in the 16th century. The shelter has been the property of the Charente General Council since 1980, and it became a listed monument in 1986.


The site was discovered by Alphonse Trémeau de Rochebrune in 1864, and it was excavated on and off until the early 20th century. In 1924, Pierre David reopened the site and in 1926 and 1927 discovered the frieze, which had been covered over by deposits. In 1960 or 1961, Denise de Sonneville-Bordes and François Bordes carried out a sondage of the embankment and excavated the shelter's interior, work that was carried on by Jean-Marc Bouvier and André Debénath between 1966 and 1972. An overall study was begun in 2005 under the leadership of Christophe Delage (occupations) and Geneviève Pinçon (wall art).