Close to Foix,about 15 Km, south on the road to Andorra, in the next village of Tarascon,you can see this interesting theme park.
The Prehistoric Art Park's outdoor installations show how caves are formed by water flowing over rock,and also the life on this remote age.
Grotte de Niaux - 09 400 Niaux
The Caves are open every day of the year except 25th Dec, 1st Jan, Mondays in November to March and all national holidays. Like the others it is guided tours hourly. Another one where you need to do some route homework before you set out as it is (or was) poorly signposted. Cracking views of the mountains from the mouth of the cave. You could certainly see if your fellow prehistoric man was planning a maraude on your cave!
The visits to this famous cave are strictly regulated in order to maintain an even temperature of 12 degrees C and thus preserve the wall drawings of bison, horses and ibex.
These caves are very very popular, it is suggested you now book ahead. Also were sensible shoes.
I am not a lover of caves, I suffer from claustrophobia, but my now late husband went and said it was a great experience. he said the paintings were some of the finest, especially the hunting scenes.
More info below - Niaux is very popular even though some of the caves have been closed since we visite.
April, May, June, Oct.
10h15, 11h, 13h45, 14h30, 15h30, 16h15
July, August, Sept.:
9h*, 9h45, 10h45, 11h30, 12h30*, 13h45, 14h45, 15h30, 16h15, 17h, 17h45 (*in English)
Nov, Dec, Jan, March:
11h, 14h30, 16h15
In July, August and September the 9:00 and 12:30 tours are in English
Groups (20+ pers.):
How to book a place in a tour:
Phone or fax
(33) 05 61 05 88 37 (leave off the leading zero when phoning from outside France) *
headphones and several languages available.
Mas-d'Azil, W of Pamiers, 09103. Fascinating limestone caves at the centre of the ancient Azilian culture.
Guided tours leave hourly so check with them first because if you arrive at a popular time you can sit outside just trying to get your car into the car parking! Well worth the wait though. s.
| Admission charge | Opening Times: Daily
You cannot visit a town with a 1,000 year old castle without very soon realising what inhuman atrocities took place there during centuries of conflict. It is a sobering and salutary reminder that even in ones own lifetime such things were - and still are -perpetrated .
We made our way over to read the inscription on the Memorial in the Square.
Foix was "governed " by the Vichy regime during WW2 and its citizens and their descendants had first hand experience on mans inhumanity to man.
To read more about the events commemorated here see -:
A fascinating tour can be made on foot around the old town. Sadly many of the oldest buildings are crying out for restoration and I guess for the people who live in them maintenance and repairs must be a heavy drain on finances.
The town was once rich in minerals - including gold found in the waters of the Ariège but gold panning came to an end in the late 19th Century.
Rich deposits of iron ore were to be found in the region but the last mine closed in 1931.
Now Tourism and diminishing agriculture seem to provide the main employment with younger people seeking work in places like Toulouse and farther afield. The elderly man we spoke to in the Market Place told us that his daughter worked in London.
If you are in the area of Foix or visiting the Grotte de Niaux, this is a really fun thing to do, especially if you have the kids along. If you are visiting the Niaux Caves and don't speak French, you might visit the Theme park first to get information on the caves in English. They have a laser audio tour of a cave reproduction. They also have several caves from different parts of the world on the laser tour and it is fascinating. We were delighted to find Kokopelli from our American southwest.
In the park you walk through-around-under rocks and waterfalls that show how caves are created. If you time it right, you can stay dry. We did. On the other hand if it's August and very hot, get wet; you'll be glad you did. There is a meadow with stone buffalo (American bison) and a bamboo maze with prehistoric-sounding flute music. It is just a lovely experience and the views surrounding the park are fabulous.
Foix Castle was built around the year 1000 AD, strategically placed on the top of a hill.
In 1002 the castle belonged to Roger, first count of Carcassonne. The castle continued to belong to the counts of Foix for several centuries.
The castle was never taken during the Albigensian crusade, but French King Philippe the Bold in 1272 did manage to take the castle by force.
In the 17th and 18th century until 1862, it was a garrison and Prison.
It has been a museum since 1950.
We enjoyed our visit here. From the top, you get great views of the Ariege Valley.
Be aware that like a lot of attractions in France, the castle closes for 2 hours at lunch times(between noon and 2 pm)
Tarifs: Adult = 4€. Children from 5 to 18 yrs & students = 2€
Open hours: 9.45 am - 6 or 6.30 pm depending on the month of the year. (October to May, the castle opens later and closes earlier) Closed January.
Succédant à une construction fortifiée (castrum) des VIIe et VIIIe siècles, le château est signalé dès 987. En 1002, il figure dans le testament de Roger 1er, comte de Carcassonne qui lègue la forteresse à son cadet Bernard.
Jusqu'a la Révolution, la forteresse demeure siège de garnison. La tour Ronde élevée au XVème siècle est la plus récente, les deux tours carrées ayant été bâties avant le XIème siècle. Elles ont servi de prison politique et civile durant quatre siècles jusqu'en 1862.
Depuis 1930, le Château abrite les collections du Musée Départemental de l'Ariège. Préhistoire, archéologie gallo-romaine et médiévale... témoigne de l'histoire de l'Ariège depuis les temps les plus anciens. Actuellement, le musée redéploie les collections autour de l'histoire du site du Château s'attachant à restituer la vie à Foix au temps des comtes.
Following a walled construction (castrum) of the VIIth and VIIIth centuries, the castle is signalled since 987. In 1002, it appears in the will of Roger 1st, count of Carcassonne who bequeaths the fortress to his Bernard cadet.
Indeed, the manorial family reigning on the country, had gotten settled to this place that permitted to order the accesses at the high valley of Ariege, to supervise this strategic point the low country while protecting itself behind impregnable defensive walls.
Until has the Revolution, the fortress stays seat of garrison. The Round tower raised to the XVth century is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the XIème century. They acted as political and civil jail during four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the Castle shelters the collections of the Departmental Museum of Ariege. Prehistory, Gallo-Roman and medieval archeology... testifies the history of Ariège since the oldest times. Currently, the museum redeploys the collections around the history of the site of the Castle trying to restore life to Foix in the time of the counts.
Foix is located at Midi Pyrenees,so when you visit this city,don't miss explore the mountains and see the beautiful landscapes.
Also you can find here some nice ski resorts and good accomodations in small hotels or gites,they are the French version of bed and breakfast, along this area.
On this area of France you can find some beautiful and interesting caves to see,this one it is the largest in Europe: LOMBRIVES,also close to Tarascon and Foix another one not to be missed is:NIAUX Cave drawing.
In your visit to Foix,don't miss a visit to this beautiful Castle.There is a guided tour few times a day and you can see some interestings things and expositions inside.
This is a picture taken at top of the Castle's walls.
This is the tallest tower at Foix Castle,inside you can see some very interesting expositions about the medieval age .
This picture was taken on the way up to see the castle,also you can see here a partial
view of Foix.
In your visit to Foix,don't miss a visit to this beautiful church of St. Volusieu reconstructed on 14th and 17th cent.