Visit the major historical sites in the Ariège department

There are many ways to spend your holidays in Ariège. But one cannot miss the history that has marked this great department and whose vestiges occupy an important place. The valleys of the Ariège in Occitania speak to us today...

The spirit of prehistoric man and later the Cathar adventure have left their mark on our department. The remains of this unique heritage can still be seen today. Your Les Grottes campsite offers two authentic destinations that you should not miss. Visit the treasures of the prehistoric Pyrenees in the caves of Niaux and Mas d'Azil and explore the medieval cities of Foix and Montségur. Immediate boarding!

The prehistoric Pyrenees in the caves of Niaux and Mas d'Azil

Are you looking for an activity that your children will enjoy? Discover the largest underground network in Europe. It is located in Ariège where 14,000 years of history separate us from the first men and women who lived in the caves. Since the dawn of time, they have found refuge there, leaving many traces of their passage. The most remarkable caves are, among others, the cave of Niaux and the cave of Mas d'Azil. Located a few minutes from Tarascon-sur-Ariège, near your campsite Les Grottes, they reveal treasures, masterpieces of cave art. In Niaux, buried at a depth of 700 metres, you will discover a vast rotunda "the Black Room" where bison, horses and magnificent deer roam the wall. In the cave of Mas d'Azil, live a unique experience. It is the only cave in the world that is crossed by both a river and a road. Accompanied by a guide, walk through the impressive dimensions of the cave. You won't believe your eyes!

The medieval cities of Foix and Montségur

This exceptional heritage, unique in France and in Europe, is marked by the crusade against the Cathars. Between the 10th and 13th centuries, these groups of Christians dissident from Christianity advocated a return to the purity of the Gospels and a life detached from material goods. They were condemned by the Church and fought against by the Kingdom of France. Close to each other, between Corbière and the Pyrenees, these medieval castles of the Cathar country form fascinating remains. The castle of Montségur is considered the capital of the Cathars. Although it is in ruins today, it still impresses with its dominating effect. Nestled on its "rocky peak" at an altitude of 1207 metres, it arouses the fantasies of curious tourists who come to observe it. Don't miss the visit with the local guide who will share his passion with you. A few kilometres from Montségur, the castle of Foix is just as impressive. Built on a limestone rock, it dominates the prefecture of Ariège. Proud of its intact walls, towers and machicolations, the castle erects a dungeon from which you can admire the Pyrenees. Thrills guaranteed!

Photo: The Château de Foix overlooks the town (Credit: Jean-Philippe Damiani)