Toulouse in France is about two hours from the Mediterranean coast and an hour and a half from the Pyrenees Mountains. In the summer you can go hiking in the nearby mountains, visit dozens of medieval villages and towns or go skiing in the winter in Andorra. For this road trip I visited Toulouse in June and rented a car from Europcar for a weekend trip to the Pyrenees. I list below the best places to visit during a road trip to South France in this tripline window:
I drove around Southern France and visited the caves near Grotte de Niaoux, walked around Foix and its Castle and went hiking near Aulus les Bains. If you want to do the same trip, all you will need to do is fly to Toulouse for a weekend and follow my instructions below.
- Flight: £65
- Car Rental: €85
- Hotel for Two Nights: €85
There are various direct flights from European airports to Toulouse every day, so a weekend trip should be an easy endeavour for anyone. Watch this short trailer to get a taster of what I did while I visited Toulouse and the south of France.
Flying to Toulouse with Easyjet
I flew to Toulouse with Easyjet from London Gatwick at a cost of £65 return. Once you arrive at the airport, just get on the tram towards the city center. As you arrive at Arenes station in the north of Toulouse, get off the tram and change to the metro line towards the center of Toulouse.
I rented a car from the railway station so instead of picking up at night at the airport, I stayed at one of the local hotels in the city centre and grabbed my car keys in the morning.
The Weekend Road Trip in South France
The main focus of my journey was to discover the caves and to see the waterfalls in the Pyrenees Mountains. I rented a car from Europcar for a couple of days – the rental cost me a total of €85.
I picked up the car on Saturday morning and drove off towards Grotte de Niaoux in the South of France. Grotte de Niaoux is famous for its cave paintings, which everyone should see at least once in their lifetime!
From here I drove to Aulus les Bains where I spent the night. The next morning I walked up the the Cascade d’Ars waterfall which took all morning and part of the afternoon. Once I was back in Aulus les Bains I drove to Foix to visit the local castle then back to Toulouse to drop the car off.
Click the below youtube video if you want to see a short video of my trip with a bit more detail.
Grotte de Niaoux in Southern France
Grotte De Niaoux is only about an hour and a half away from Toulouse. It is famous for the cave paintings, which are some of the oldest cave paintings in Europe. The people that painted them were the hunters and gatherers of their time about 28,000 years ago. I’ve made this video below about arriving at the cave and I also recorded a Catalan woman singing inside, have a look/listen.
The Cascade d’Ars Waterfalls
The waterfalls are about two hours walk away from Aulus les Bains. June is the best time to visit the Cascade d’Ars waterfalls because all the snow melts at the top of the mountains, making the waterfalls swell.
Foix Castle and Medieval Town
The medieval town and Foix Castle are about an hour and a half north from Aulus les Bains. There is a river here in the valley and anybody that wanted to go south towards Spain, had to cross here and pay the toll to the owner of the castle, who was at one time the king of France.