Top Choice Cave in Vallée de l’Ariège

Grotte de Niaux

Most people know about the prehistoric artworks of the Dordogne, but far fewer realise that ancient painters left their mark in caves all across the Pyrenees. Halfway up a mountainside about 12km south of Foix, the …
Cave in Vallée de l’Ariège

Grotte du Mas d’Azil

Twenty-five kilometres northwest of Foix, near Le Mas d’Azil, this rock shelter is famous for its rich finds of prehistoric tools. Visits are by guided tour, which take you through underground galleries and describe…
River in Vallée de l’Ariège

Rivière Souterraine de Labouiche

Deep beneath the village of Labouiche, 6km northwest of Foix, flows Europe’s longest navigable underground river. Discovered in 1908 by a local doctor, it’s been open to the public since 1938. Barge trips lasting 75…
Chateau in Vallée de l’Ariège

Château de Montségur

For the full Monty Python medieval vibe, tackle the steep 20-minute climb to the ruins of this hilltop fortress, 32km east of Foix (and don't forget to bring your own water). It’s the westernmost of the string of Ca…
Museum in Vallée de l’Ariège

Parc de la Préhistoire

Eighteen kilometres south of Foix, near Tarascon-sur-Ariège, this excellent museum-park provides a useful primer on the area’s prehistoric past. The centrepiece is the Grand Atelier, which uses film, projections and…
Cave in Vallée de l’Ariège


Twenty-two kilometres northwest of Ax-les-Thermes on the N20 near Ussat-les-Bains, Europe’s largest cave system burrows its way through the soft limestone rock beneath the Pyrenees’ peaks. Guided tours take in more …
Chateau in Foix

Château de Foix

The Ariège’s most unmistakeable landmark is Foix’ triple-towered castle, the stronghold of the powerful Comtes de Foix. Built in the 10th century, it survived as their seat of power throughout the medieval era, and …
Museum in Vallée de l’Ariège

Musée de Montségur

Tucked into the sleepy village of Montségur, this small museum contains a collection of Cathar relics, models of siege weapons and visual displays of what the town's castrum would have looked like during its glory d…
Museum in Vallée de l’Ariège

Musée de la Préhistoire

In the town just north of the Grotte du Mas d'Azil, this prehistory museum contains a trove of objects unearthed in the nearby caves. It's small, but well worth visiting, particularly for its reproductions of cave a…
Museum in Vallée de l’Ariège

Les Forges de Pyrène

In Montgailhard, 4.5km south of Foix, this ‘living museum’ explores Ariège folk traditions, with live displays of ancient trades such as blacksmithing, shoe-making, bread baking, tanning and thatching.