I recently walked to the Cascade D’Ars waterfall in southern France from Aulus les Bains. The Cascade d’Ars waterfall is a major tourist attraction – and there is more than one reason why. The area is of outstanding natural beauty in the Pyrenees, about three hours away from Toulouse. The trail takes about an hour and a half from the old spa town of Aulus les Bains at the bottom of the hill all the way up to the Cascade d’Ars.
Getting to Aulus les Bains from Toulouse
It is easiest to rent a car and drive to Aulus les Bains as public transport is very scarce. If you drive from Toulouse it will take you about 2.5 hours via Foix Castle.
Watch this video below to find out what I did there and then scroll down for some more pictures and ideas.
The Area Around Cascade d’Ars
Here, clouds often cover the entire mountain area in the spring and autumn. It was the same during my visit – it rained there for about three days. Walking around here is quite a nice experience because the Cascade d’Ars is only about an hour and a half away from the cave of Grotte de Niaoux, which is one of the oldest cave paintings in Europe. Those people were the hunters and gatherers of their time about 28,000 years ago. And this is the same sort of area around the Cascade d’Ars as we are only about an hour away from the cave.
The entire trail has sign posts, marked by bear signs. Each checkpoint is a different colour from brown to green. The white-red trail takes tourists further into the mountains.
As I was inside the cloud, there was some water dripping down from the trees around me which made it feel quite interesting. It was raining so heavily by mid-morning that I’ve had to put my hood on, but I didn’t mind it at all.
The Concrete Bridge near Cascade d’Ars
Once you pass the concrete bridge you will need to follow the white and red signs along the path, just past the brown bear sign. The waterfall here is super tall, I would guess that it is at least about 40-50 meters high. As I got closer it became proper windy and I as I was recording I didn’t even know if people could hear anything from what I was saying .
When I was at the Niagara Falls in October 2016 it felt a little similar to this waterfall, with all the rain and wind hitting my face.
The Way Down to Aulus les Bains
As I started to descend on the way down to the bottom of the hill – it became a bit slippery with all the rain but it was still the same enjoyable. I was walking in my running shoes that I normally use to run in when I am in London. Obviously these are not exactly suitable for this kind of hill but it did the job. But if you want to be super careful and be on the safe side just bring proper boots and waterproof clothes.
This was my second time in the Pyrenees and the second time rained so basically it’s quite a wet area. I quite like walking around these beautiful areas like the French mountains or in Spain. In fact, I’ve been to lots of nice areas like the northern Turkish mountain areas or the Transylvanian Mountains and so on. A lot of people think that walking in the rain is not exactly nice but I would say it’s quite a good experience. That’s because you are not sweating your ass off and also it’s much cooler so you can just enjoy the scenery without feeling exhausted all day.
If you’ve watched the video some of you might have wondered why I kept looking at my feet when I was walking downhill – so here is the explanation. It’s quite a rocky path and every now and then there are some pretty big boulders. So I just didn’t really want to break my ankles there.
The Best Time to Visit Cascade d’Ars
June is the best time to visit the waterfalls. That’s because all the snow melts at the top of the mountains and the waterfall swells with the help of the rain as well. By the time I reached the bottom of the hill the rain stopped and it was also getting a bit warmer. Luckily I managed to avoid all the crowds by leaving early. I really enjoyed the walk and I would encourage everybody else to do the same.