With the emotion of an explorer and by the light of a lamp, follow in the footsteps of the Cro-Magnons: you have an appointment with a part of your history.
The cave of Niaux is unique and this is not a false promise. The visit allows you to admire, like nowhere else, the authentic paintings of our ancestors which are concentrated in the Salon Noir. Here no facsimiles but superb paintings of animals associated with enigmatic signs that transport you to distant times on a sacred adventure.
- Spoken Languages: English
an exceptional natural site
55 meters high, 50 meters wide, the porch of the Niaux cave has aroused all the curiosities since Prehistoric times
The men of the Magdalenian did not fail to notice this immense porch located at 678m in height and to leave their imprints there.
Abbé Henri Breuil said when speaking of this place: “ Nature seems to have predestined Tarascon-sur-Ariège to become an important center of prehistoric habitat. We are there (…) in the vicinity of the great plain, also at the entrance to one of the deepest penetrating valleys of the central chain. It is the passage of the great path dug by Ariège that animals and man had to
follow at all times. »
The entrance to the Grotto is marked by a daring contemporary creation, marking the artistic permanence of the Prehistory of Humanity to the present day. In 1994, the Italian artist Massimiliano Fuksas signed a completely new reception building located in and outside the porch. Its architecture surprises, questions and invites visitors to forget their world and prepare for a journey to the origins of art ...
a guided tour to our origins
Walk through the Grotte de Niaux, go back in time to the Salon Noir by the glow of your lamp and finally discover the unique…
The cave of Niaux extends over two kilometers of spacious galleries, low vaults and underground lakes. About a hundred animal representations and several hundred signs were found on the walls and on the ground.
Here no spots or LEDs! Accompanied by a guide, you move in the dark, lit only by portable lamps. Lasting around 1h40, the visit starts with a 800-meter walk through a vast gallery. The vaults are several meters high, even several tens of meters, and, in places, are lost out of reach of the lamps. The ground has remained unchanged since the dawn of time ...
In this gallery, we can see graffiti left by visitors, the oldest dating from 1602. But we can especially see "the sign panel" on which are concentrated many geometric signs generally painted in red, the meaning of which is still mysterious. . These signs are also scattered throughout the cave ...
The apotheosis of the visit is found during the discovery of the Salon Noir, a vast rotunda with an impressive vault height. It is in this majestic room that our ancestors chose to represent more than 70 paintings of animals: bison, horses, ibex and deer.
Made between 17 and 000 years before our era, they provide everyone, initiates or not, with incomparable emotion: the unique encounter with our History, the one-on-one with Cro-Magnon, between poetry, magic and questioning.
A protected site
Since the closure of the Lascaux cave to the public in 1963, scientists have shown the need to regulate visits for conservation purposes. At the Niaux cave, studies on the cave's climate were set up in 1972 and made it possible to set a visit protocol in the 1980s.
Groups are now limited to 25 people and must respect a certain time interval between them.
Since the application of these rules, no destabilization of the cave's climate has been observed. This approach, certainly restrictive, will allow future generations to also admire the drawings and paintings and rule out any possibility of the site being closed.
For conservation reasons, only the first 800 meters of the cave are open to the public. In order to allow you to appreciate all the riches found in the cave of Niaux, like the paintings and footprints of the footsteps of the Clastres Network, facsimiles have been reproduced at the Prehistory Park of Tarascon sur Ariège, do not hesitate to go and discover them!
a restaurant nearby
Where to eat at the Grotte de Niaux?
Complete your day with a visit to the Prehistory Park and take the opportunity to have lunch in its restaurant! Near the cave, the restaurant at the Parc de la Préhistoire offers you a friendly setting and a panoramic view of its lakes and waterfalls.
In accordance with the gastronomic traditions of Ariège, we favor local cuisine with quality products in short circuits and offer you a wide choice of menus from 14 to 26 €.
- Mandatory reservation
- Online ticket office accessible 24 hours a day
|Child (-17 years old)||10€|
|Student (-26 years old)||11€|
|Family pass (2 adults + 2 children)||42€|
|From Monday December 14 to Sunday December 20|
|Saturday||Open from 10:45 a.m. to 15:45 p.m.|
|Sunday||Open from 10:45 a.m. to 15:45 p.m.|
|From Monday December 21 to Sunday January 03|
|Monday||Open from 10:45 a.m. to 16:45 p.m.|
|Tuesday||Open from 10:45 a.m. to 16:45 p.m.|
|Wednesday||Open from 10:45 a.m. to 16:45 p.m.|
|Thursday||Open from 10:45 a.m. to 16:45 p.m.|
|Saturday||Open from 10:45 a.m. to 16:45 p.m.|
|Sunday||Open from 10:45 a.m. to 16:45 p.m.|
Due to the news related to covid-19 and the containment measures taken by the government, the Grotte de Niaux is temporarily closed.
Cave of Niaux
Phone : +33 (0)5 61 05 10 10Calculate my route
By car : from Toulouse take the A61 motorway towards Montpellier. Then take the direction Foix by the A66 motorway. Go past Foix on the RN 20, exit at Tarascon-sur-Ariège. Take direction Niaux. Then follow the Grotte de Niaux signs.
Are there reduced prices at the Grotte de Niaux?
Discover our different packs and visit our sites at reduced prices!
The Family Pass entitles you to 2 adult tickets + 2 child tickets at only € 42 (additional child: + € 7).
Children up to 17 years old benefit from a reduced rate of 10 €.
Students under 26 benefit from a reduced rate of € 11.
Anyone with a disability who has a disability card benefits from a 15% discount applicable on the basic rate. Please note that access to the cave is difficult, see section Affortability.
How long does the visit to the Grotte de Niaux last? What do you need to know before coming?
The visit of the cave is guided and lasts approximately 1h40, the conservation rules are strict there in order to preserve the premises, which is why walking sticks, backpacks, canes, strollers, and taking photos are prohibited.
Walking or sports shoes and warm clothing are essential, the temperature inside the cave being 12 ° C all year round.
Please note, you must arrive 15 minutes before the start of the visit, any delay will result in the permanent loss of your seats. We cannot under any circumstances be held responsible for any delay linked to traffic conditions. Find out about the traffic situation before coming (accident, roadworks, traffic jams, etc.).
Is the Grotte de Niaux accessible to people with motor disabilities or reduced mobility?
The cave is neither fitted out nor lit, the route (2,5km in total) is hilly and must be done in a limited time, which is why the visit is not possible for people with motor disabilities, strongly discouraged for children under 6 years old and people with locomotion difficulties.
Where to park at the Grotte de Niaux?
Free parking is available on site, it is accessible to motorhomes during visiting hours. Be careful, the access road to the cave is a small, narrow mountain road.
Are animals allowed at the Grotte de Niaux?
Animals are not allowed in the cave, even on a leash.
Can we buy souvenirs at the Grotte de Niaux?
A shop is present and open after each guided tour. Installed in the reception building, it offers a wide choice of works on prehistory and children's books, handicrafts reproducing prehistoric tools (propellant sticks, spears, smoothers, necklaces ...), t-shirts with effigy of the cave, children's souvenirs ...