Some ideas for great days out.....
Le Parc de l'Art Préhistorique, Tarascon Sur Ariège
Picturesque grounds with an excellent playground, with waterfalls, man-made caves and a great restaurant.
Children can create their own cave paintings, navigate a maze and be taught how to throw spears, not to mention the chance to play in tepees and make animal tracks from clay. Open Easter to mid-October. A 10 minute drive from Chez Arran. www.sesta.fr
Rivière Souterraine de Labouiche
This is Europe's longest publicly accessible navigable underground river and possibly the best formations in the area. The boat trip 60m underground and1500m long takes 1hr 15 mins. The caves are open 1st April to 1st November, commentary often available in English and French. You'll need waterproofs for the walk in and out if raining outside.
Grotte de Niaux
Has cave paintings dating back to prehistoric times - a popular choice for families and regularly visited by cave enthusiasts and scientists alike. The visits to this famous cave are strictly regulated in order to maintain an even temperature of 12 degrees C and thus preserve the wall drawings of bison, horses and ibex. July through September there are 11 visits per day of up to 20 people with 45 minutes between each group, including a tour in English at 1pm.
Grotte de Lombrives
This claims to be the largest cave in Europe with some incredible formations and just opposite Chez Arran - check our caving section for more details and other options for exploring in non commercial caves. There are concerts held in the cave from time to time.
High ropes courses
There are several high-ropes courses within 20 minutes drive. There are tree courses to suit different ages and abilities. They are extremely well designed, with excellent equipment and supervision. Children are secured in harnesses as they swing and balance between the trees. www.sequoia-vertigo.com www.acrobranche-ariege.com
Cost: 6 to 20 euros per person
A via ferrata is a mountain route that has been equipped with fixed cables, ladders and bridges. It allows people with little or no climbing ability to enjoy mountain routes that would otherwise be inaccessible. You wear a harness and clip into wires for safety. The routes have themes for learning about the local environment. In addition to the below there is a North Face route, more difficult and taking 2hrs 30-4hrs.
"Faune et flore"
"Paysage et géologie"
Facing South, Access : 5 min, Return : 10 min
Ascent: From 45 min to 1h, escape possible
Length : 180 m, Height gain : 80 m
Facing South, Access : 5 min, Return : 30 min
Ascent : From 2 h to 3 h no escape
Length: 350 m, height gain : 250 m
Cost: From 13 to 25 euros for a day depending on the route. Equipment included in the price.
Musee-Parc la forêt aux dinosaures
Explore tranquil woods to find dinosaur models and fossils. A sandpit area offers the chance for children to do their own excavations. Open all year around. (Winter – only Sunday afternoons after 14:00)
Feel like a day away from the mountains? Foix castle is just 20 minutes away and offers magnificent views over the mediaeval rooftops of Foix below. The caves in the Rock of Foix at the confluence of the Ariège and Arget rivers, on which the castle was built, were already inhabited in prehistoric times; a fortress was erected in the Merovingian era but the castle we admire today was constructed in around the year 1000. Foix offers cobbled streets, quaint shops and a few fine restaurants as well as a bandstand in the main square and a thriving summer festival programme.
See the activities page for more options.