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“Amazing!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Grotte de Niaux

Grotte de Niaux
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: A giant of the prehistory ! Niaux Cave is one of the last decorated caves still open to the public. An 800-metre walk will take you to the Salon Noir, a majestic room where more than 80 paintings of animals offer themselves to you. For conservation reasons, the number of people and the length of the
Appledore, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Amazing!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2013

A visit to the Grotte de Niaux is a must! Astonishing, beautiful cave paintings dating back 13,000-14,000 years. Everything about the caves is so well presented. Our English guide was excellent. Friendly, welcoming and very informative, ready to answer all our questions. The torchlit walk through the various caves was a wonderful experience itself. Just enough modifications to make it safe with handrails in the trickiest parts of the walk but without spoiling the experience of the vastness, the dark and the wonder of the various caverns before you each the 'salon noir' - a huge domed cavern where the astonishing paintings can be seen. You don't need to be a specialist in cave art or pre-history to make the most of this visit. We knew nothing and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I'd recommend it to anyone - as long as you're fairly sure-footed with a good pair of shoes. At the time of our visit, there was one guided English tour a day at 1.30pm. You must book in advance as they cannot take more than 25people at a time. When we phoned, the English tours were fully booked for the next two days.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Ruth L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Weymouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Fantastic”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 15, 2013

Just amazing and I would not have wanted to miss it. The walk in and out is about1800mtrs and there are no lights everyone is given a torch. The cave floor has been left as it is and therefore wet in places, slippery and uneven but if you where trainers or walking boots the paintings are definitely worth the wait and the walk

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank sarahcknight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
36 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Fantastic experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 3, 2013

This was our second trip to the Niaux prehistoric caves, the first being in 2008 when our children were younger. It was just as good second time around!

I feel that the price of the family ticket was good value for the experience. Ticket office staff were helpful and there was, (in April), one tour in English at 1.30pm. Unless you have very good French it's worthwhile ensuring you make the English tour. Although in April it was quiet you should reserve in peak time as numbers on each tour are limited. The visit will probably not be suitable if you have limited mobility or are unsteady on uneven, slightly slippery uphill and downhill surfaces or have very small children, (I would say under 6). Wear sensible walking shoes with good tread as even trainers will be a bit slippery.

You are not permitted to take photos in the caves although there are viewpoints and walkway installed above the entrance where you can use your camera. There are also toilets there.

Every visitor has their own flashlight as there is no lighting installed in the cave for reasons of preservation. This does add to the authenticity of the experience and it's hard to imagine how people could have coped with using naked flames to negotiate their way through the cave and spend time creating large paintings.

The guides are very professional and one has the impression that they are knowledgeable academics rather than employed to merely entertain tourists. They provide clear and easy to understand explanations about the caves and what is known about the paintings and answer visitors questions very well.

The entire visit took around 1 1/2 hours and although the prehistoric cave paintings of horses, bison and ibex are the main attraction the experience of walking so far through a cave so vast is very worthwhile.

http://www.grands-sites-ariege.fr/en/grotte-de-niaux/detail/1/presentation-10

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank RazzyLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montcabrier, France
Level Contributor
43 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“A space into which you would not normally go”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 30, 2013

There are some 30 prehistoric caves in France open to the public out of about 300. Niaux is one if the few that are accessible. The setting is remarkable, even before you enter the cave. An architect/engineer has designed a permanent outdoor museum space that allows you to have a view of the valley beneath that nature did not provide for. This modernist structure is a wonderful piece of design that complements the experience that follows : going into the cave. You are given lanterns to carry as there are no other sources of light. This is the only cave I know that gives you this opportunity, an chance to pretend to be an explorer from another century! Most caves have electric lighting installed everywhere which interferes with your understanding of what it is really like to go into a cave - a space in which there is total darkness, a space where you do not normally go!

What I remember most from my visit is this experience of modernity and prehistory, the projection into space and the journey to the centre of the earth. The drawings themselves did not stay with me, however remarkable they are, but in my opinion they do not stand up to the special qualities of caves like Font de Gaume and Pech Merle.

Having said this you should not hesitate to go there. It is a privilege to have access to images made some 13,000 years ago. It is magical!

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank AtelierdeLaRose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin
Level Contributor
41 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Worth the trip :)”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2013

Grotte Des Niaux are a worthwhile trip out - if you're interested in cave paintings, natural history, archeology or art. Reservations are essential - don't bother bringing young children and wear shoes with good grips! You get your own torch which is pretty cool.

It is one of the most famous Palaeolithic caves in Europe and one of the few ones open to the public.
It houses paintings and traces of Man dating back 14,000 years.
You start by going through some impressive caves before entering the Chambre Noir, whose walls are covered with paintings of animals: bison, horses, ibex and deers and more.
The drive there is scenic but bring your own snacks and drinks and your camera of course.
Only certain tours are in English so check before you book. Plus you will need your own car to get there.
All details are on http://www.grands-sites-ariege.fr/

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank EDSDublin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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