Ariège : 5 Ideas For Refreshing Outings

When the mercury rises, it is pleasant to go underground to take a breath of fresh air in surprising places. The Ariege, where the very first underground reserve in France will be created, has several unusual sites where you can practice surprising activities underground. We have listed for you 5 ideas for refreshing outings in Ariège.

1- Navigate on the underground river of Labouiche

With its calm waters, the Labouiche underground river, discovered in 1908, is nothing to worry about. It offers a refreshing outing and underground journey for the whole family.

Don't be afraid to embark on this river located 60 meters underground, it is not the Styx and you won't meet Cerberus! On the contrary, you will be comfortably installed in a boat to survey the meanders of the longest navigable underground river in Europe, in a setting worthy of an adventure film.

Copyright : M. HOARAU

Get ready to admire waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites throughout this trip lasting about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let yourself be rocked by the lapping of the water while listening to the scientific explanations and anecdotes of your guide.

Rates 2022 : adults 14,80 € / children 12,80 €

2- Visit the cave of Niaux

Another underground jewel of the Ariège, the grotto of Niaux is unique in the Pyrenees and in Occitania for its authentic prehistoric paintings. It therefore offers a refreshing and particularly impressive outing.

Go deep into the bowels of the earth and go back in time contemplating by the light of an electric lamp the works left by our distant ancestors! These are the original works, not facsimiles.

Copyright : Stéphane MEURISSE ADT09

During this visit of about 1h45, your steps will tread the same ground as the Magdalenians who left their footprints on the walls of this cave.

You will experience complete darkness before your guide's lamp offers to your stunned eyes the striking spectacle of prehistoric paintings dating back 16,000 years.

Nearly 80 animals (horses, deer, ibex and bison) animate the mineral walls of this cave, which, be sure, will not leave you unmoved!

Visit on compulsory reservation
Rates 2022 :
- Adults 14 €.
- Child 10 € (€)
- Family pass 42 € (2 adults + 2 children)

3- Explore the cave of Mas-d'Azil

The grotto of Mas-d'Azil in Ariège is the only one in the world to be crossed by both a river and a road. It is therefore possible to cross it by car. This singular cave offers a refreshing and quite unusual visit to discover its geological and archaeological riches.

Copyright : Pinpin

After crossing the cave by car, you will enjoy a magical lighting and go back in time on the tracks of the Magdalenians. This site, which is more than 35,000 years old, has revealed many things about the habits, lifestyle and diet of these Cro-Magnon men.

To complete your knowledge, you can then visit the Museum of Prehistory located in the heart of the village of Mas d'Azil. The entrance to the museum is included in the ticket to the cave.

4- Walking in the Lombrives cave

A shelter occupied by humans for millennia, the Lombrives cave made headlines for hosting the Deep Time scientific experiment in 2021. Fifteen volunteers lived there in autarky for 40 days and relearned to live by following their biological clock.

This place, which is one of the largest visitable caves in Europe, offers a refreshing outing between stalactites, stalagmites and an underground lake.

Its different rooms are indeed filled with concretions bearing imagined names like the mammoth, the witch or the tomb of Pyrene.

Copyright : Stéphane MEURISSE ADT09

The 2-hour guided walk costs 8 € for children aged 6 to 12, 10 € for young people aged 13 to 17 and 12 € for adults (Rates 2022).

In July and August, it is also possible to book a guided night hike on Wednesday and Thursday evenings (fee: 14 €).

5- Bivouac in the hollow of the earth

If the Deep Time scientific experiment has made you want to experience the same sensations as the volunteers of this project, you should know that the company Horizon Vertical specialized in outdoor activities organizes underground bivouacs.

Leave your watch at the entrance and come reconnect to your biological clock in the caves and tunnels of the Ariège.

Copyright : Stéphane MEURISSE ADT09

This refreshing outing is a unique adventure, to be experienced in a small group. You will start by making a rappel descent before embarking on the caving exploration of the local underground wonders.

After all these emotions and a convivial dinner, you will have well deserved a good night's rest in the darkness and coolness of the underground galleries. You will spend about twenty hours underground before returning to the daylight.

The underground bivouac is possible for young people from 12 years old. The experience takes place in a group of 4 people minimum.

Rates 2022:
- 100 € the night underground
- 130 € for two days

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Studio Leon ADT09
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More informations:
In French: Ariège : 5 idées de sorties rafraîchissantes
En español: Ariège: 5 ideas refrescantes para las salidas
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