Niaux cave is one of the most famous decorated caves. The 14,000 year old drawings were discovered centuries ago, but it was not until 1906 that they were recognized as being paleolithic. The Salon Noir (Black Chamber) at the back of this long cave is one of the great treasures of prehistoric art, with its realistic drawings of bisons, horses, stags and ibex. 

The entrance to Niaux Cave, featuring the paleolithic car park.

This site is a companion to the Parc de la Prehistoire which is just up the road. A replica of the Salon Noir is featured there, with no need to go in a cave. Admission to Niaux allows you discounted admission to the Parc. 

Guided tours only. There are 2 English tours a day in summer, one a day the rest of the year. Tours are about 90 minutes and reservations are strongly recommended, especially if you want an English tour. In winter, you may be able to show up without a reservation, but I wouldn't count on it. Email them at or book online.

This is one of the most physically strenuous decorated cave tours. You walk for about 1.5 km with only lanterns to light your way. The ground is uneven and can be wet and slippery. There are some ropes to hold onto in some of the tricky parts, but there aren't nearly enough of them in the cave and I almost fell once. There is also a very steep climb at one point in the cave. Make sure you wear proper footwear and clothing. I felt like this was the coldest cave and wished I had worn 2 pairs of socks. This is not a good cave for young children or people with limited mobility and once you start the tour you can't turn back.


Cave Homepage (French)

Cave information (English)

Reserve online here

Address: 09400 Niaux, France (just south of Tarascon-sur-Ariege)

Services: English tours, Free parking, gift shop, toilets