Last week while we were in the South, we took a day trip to Foix. I'll post more about that later, but for now, I wanted to post about a really cool natural site we visited called "La rivière souterraine de Labouiche", or the Underground River of Labouiche.
It's the longest navigable underground river in Europe, and has been open to the public since 1938 (thanks to the adventurous men who spent 30 years exploring and mapping it). The tour takes you through 1.5km of the river, which is located about 60m underground. Since it had just opened for the season, we were the only ones there and ended up getting a private tour. The guides don't have paddles at all - they use the two steel cables you see on the left in the picture above to pull the boats along. The trip lasts about 75 minutes, and they take you past all sorts of waterfalls and rock formations. Our guide was very informative and shared a lot of information about the history of the area, and the geology of the site.
My favorite part though was all of the illuminated stalactites and stalagmites. There's a French mnemonic device that says "Les stalactites tombent et les stalagmites montent". Since the verb Tomber (to fall) starts with a T and the verb Monter (to climb or get up on) starts with an M, it's an easy way for French children to remember which is which. I'm not sure where I learned it, but it's always stuck with me. Funnily enough, C had never heard it before! If you're ever in the area, it's worth a visit, especially on a hot day. The cost is 9.10€ for adults and 7.10€ for children. According to our guide though, the afternoon visits are usually packed, so they recommend arriving first thing in the morning in order to avoid the crowds.