• Explore the Paleolithic cave art of the Ariège region of France, its development and meaning
• Visit the impressive galleries at the Grotte de Niaux, its walls covered with highly detailed paintings of animals, including bison, horses, ibex and deer
• Explore the fortified medieval city of Carcassonne, with its views towards the Pyrenees and Black Mountains
author and art historian
Archaeologist with interests in Paleolithic and Mesolithic Europe
Depart London Heathrow 0735 on British Airways, arriving Toulouse 1025. Transfer via the bastide town of Mirepoix (walking tour) and Vals (fortified Romanesque church) to Le Manoir d’Agnès, Tarascon-sur-Ariège, for six nights.
Morning lecture: Paleolithic / Cave Art followed by visit to Le Parc de la Préhistoire (cave art reconstructions, exhibits on Magdalenian life). Afternoon: Grotte du Mas-d’Azil (huge natural cave, museum) and Museum of Prehistory.
Excursion to St-Bertrand-de-Comminges (cathedral) via Saint Just-de-Valcabrère (Romanesque). Afternoon: Gargas Caves (hand stencils and figurative engravings).
Whole day exploring caves of the region including the Grotte de Niaux (extraordinary Paleolithic cave paintings) – visit details subject to confirmation.
Morning lecture: The Cathars followed by Chateau de Puivert (links to the Cathars). Afternoon: Montségur (view of castle, memorial and village museum).
Excursion to fortified city of Carcassonne (tour of town and citadel) and Abbaye de St Hilaire.
Depart Toulouse 1050, arriving Heathrow 1150.
22 Jun — 28 Jun 2020
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This tour has a more strenuous itinerary; a good level of fitness is essential and participants should be comfortable walking over rugged terrain. The Niaux cave visit will entail walks of up to 3km in dark conditions with flashlights, on uneven and sometimes slippery surfaces.
For customers happy to organise their own flights or travel arrangements, we are happy to offer a reduction of:
Cost of £2195 includes: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, one lunch, dinner with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £355.