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Grotte de Niaux, Tarascon-sur-Ariege
(4.5/5 based on 300 reviews on the web)
Grotte de Niaux are known for the high quality of their Magdalenian paintings, which were finished over 14,000 years ago. An 800 m (2,625 ft) route over wet, uneven ground brings you to the "Black Chamber,” where paintings of large Magdalenian mammals have an international reputation for their amazing quality. Over 100 highly detailed depictions in black outline ibex, bison, horses, and deer. Begin your trek by walking through narrow, dark passages to several impressive galleries before arriving in the Salon Noir, a massive rotunda with walls covered in paintings. Advance reservations are required. English tours are offered at certain times but slots fill up quickly. You can download or purchase a pamphlet with descriptions of each gallery. Add Grotte de Niaux to your Tarascon-sur-Ariege travel itinerary, and discover new vacation ideas by using our Tarascon-sur-Ariege vacation builder.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I am fascinated by our origins and prehistory, and the Grotte de Niaux is a must see for anyone with similar interests. The quality of the cave paintings astounded me. I concede that the visit involve...  more »
  • a visit which is worth attention of market required or Sneakers Shoes good visits!
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  • a trip very interesting in the culture prehistoric, has been an experience pleasant and very surprising. Only note, should be banned entry to very young children, that there was one or even two years and passed the time crying and screaming (who obviously gets a so small child in a cave of a kilometer without light?), bothering the guide already throughout the group...
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Google
  • This is one of a very few painted caves with the original art still open for visits to the public. The Grotte is right above the hamlet of Niaux, and well sign-posted. Reservations are required, but easy to get online (except in the height of Summer). A strictly limited number of people are provided with flashlights and make the 800 meter cave walk to the Salon Noir, where several vivid panels of megafauna -- bison, horses -- and proto-writing are realistically portrayed. On a par with Altamira and Lascaux, and a thrilling visit to prehistory. There is an English tour; tours are conducted by an archaeologist who really knows. This was an exceptionally memorable visit. The tour takes about an hour and a half, but the exhibition and explanation (all in French, unfortunately) is worthwhile. The narrow road to the cave is a little harrowing, and the walk is not for uncertain walkers or children under 6.
  • AMAZING-despite french only guide (know about 6 french words)
  • Unique experience ... the guided tour costs 13 euros but it's worth it all! Inside a cave in the Pyrenees beautifull testifies of prehistoric people ... creepy! Do I need to book!
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  • Interesting prehistoric site with paintings representing animals (the veracity of the images remains despite everything a question mark). For visiting you need to book (show up without a reservation is equivalent to not enter). The visit takes place using flashlights to which each participant is provided with the ticket (if you are claustrophobic so keep this in mind; in any case, the tour route is smooth except for a single point at which you have to cross a narrow passage).
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  • Visit at no charge with lamps that do not even allow us to see what there is around us. We can only illuminate the ground without being able to enjoy the rest (of the stalactites and the geological phenomena that we are even not explained). Fortunately at the end of the prehistoric drawings galleries are the height. Too expensive to discover only the paintings.
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