Visiting the Niaux cave:
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. Three visits per day the rest of the year. The tour lasts 90 minutes. Details.
When you visit the Niaux cave (advance reservation required) you receive a coupon for a reduced admission to the nearby Prehistoric Art Park. However, if you don't speak French it's worth visiting the park beforehand for the background information in English about the cave as there is practically none available on site. In the summer months there is one tour a day in English, around 1 pm.
The cave floor has been left in its natural state: wet, very uneven and slippery in places so sturdy walking shoes are essential. There is a flashlight for every two people. Young children shouldn't be taken on this tour--once it's underway you can't turn back.
Strictly speaking you must book ahead. However, outside the ticket office a sign indicates how many spaces are left (if any) in the day's scheduled tours. If you arrive in the morning you might be able to reserve a spot in a tour in the afternoon. But don't count on this in July and August.
There are several other caves you can visit in the area, including the Grotte de la Vache on the opposite hill from the Niaux cave, and you'll find information on them here.
There are several tours each day throughout the year, with start times varying depending on the season and other factors. The tour lasts 90 minutes. When you call to reserve they will tell you tour times for the day you want to visit. From April through the summer there is at least one tour a day in English.
How to book a place in a tour:
By phone: +33 (0)5 61 05 10 10 (leave off the leading zero when calling from outside France). You'll be instructed to press zero for information in English.
Adult : 9.80 €