As a child, I spent all my vacations in Georgia and Armenia. There, wolves are considered noble animals. We call them " the doctors of the forest » because they contribute to the conservation of the natural balance feeding on certain species. The wolf cleans the forest and without it, the ecosystem would be totally different!
Yellowstone Park, in the United States, is the perfect example. Wolves have been hunted for decades and their disappearance has caused the massive increase in the elk population and has also had serious consequences for plant species. It was only by reintroducing the wolf that the natural balance could be restored.

I have always been intrigued by wolves! The wolf is an intelligent animal, with a strong intuition, both solitary but always faithful to its pack. … I think what fascinates me is his indomitable side. And then this agility, this silhouette recognizable among 1000 others, it is really a special animal for me.

You will therefore understand why I jumped for joy when I learned of the existence of The House of Wolves in Ariège, at the ♥️ of the Pyrenees! Without further ado, I took my husband and children with me to discover this incredible site! Oh, here we come!

The trip to Orlu, a trip in itself!

If, like me, you are the type to marvel at a landscape, the journey from Foix to Orlu will be a real delight! The arrival in Tarascon-sur-Ariège and the view of the first Pyrenean foothills as well as the high peaks in the background is simply sublime!

A little later, don't miss the cliffs of Sinsat (High place of climbing if any!), on the left side of the road. They are so beautiful in summer when the sun brings out the ocher tones of the rock.

In this valley one feels very small. The landscapes pass by and you really enter the center of the Pyrenees. And then the Orlu Valley is here. All green, all soft. It's a bit of an enchanted meadow with the Oriège river flowing in the middle, just next to the small winding road that you take through the villages... If it's hot, stop soaking your feet after the small bridge of Orgeix, a refreshing break as you wish!

The Orlu valley © Ariège Pyrénées Tourisme / Jean Despiau

The House of Wolves, welcome to the wild land!

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the House of Wolves is that despite what one might think, this place is nothing like a zoo. Indeed, we enter a forest and we go to the territory of the wolves, not the opposite. It is a space for meeting, learning and healing.

What I like about this park is that thewe are active throughout the visit. Between the interactive exhibitions and the walk between the different enclosures in the forest, there is always something to discover. Moreover, it is also a place where you can learn a lot about wolves, their habits, their history...  

At the wolf house, you can observe several species: wolves from Canada, Europe, Poland, the Alaskan Tundra, arctic wolves. Each species has a dedicated enclosure. It's fascinating to watch them live in packs.

If you want to learn more about wolves, know that when feeding the wolves, a trainer is there to explain in detail how the wolves live, their social organization in packs, the history of the wolf in France… We also learn that there are no more French wolves. The latter have been eradicated and hunted since the Middle Ages. It will be necessary to wait until 1992 to see wolves again on French territory.

Meet at 12 p.m., 15 p.m. and 17:30 p.m. for wolf feeding at the Canadian Wolf Park.

A play area

Mr Seguin's farm is dedicated to direct contact with animals! We stroll between the different species of animals for the greatest pleasure of the whole family. Dwarf goats, ram rabbit and Burgundy wild animals, Peruvian guinea pigs and other rainbow trout, we're amazed 😍

If you prefer to be concrete, let yourself be tempted by a workshop:

  • Impression molding workshop : leave with your footprint of wolves, bears, deer and many other animals! (in addition to the visit).
  • Gold digger: slip into the shoes of a gold digger and try to find a nugget in the river! You can do this activity on your own, it's very fun and children love to look for shiny nuggets (too bad, they're fake!) in the small cups provided. (the workshop is included in the visit).

A face to face with wolves

My favorite place ? The vision tunnel, without hesitation! There is no better immersion with wolves. We are in a tunnel covered with wood on top and with large side windows. The tunnel is quite low so you have to bend down a bit, you really feel like you're going on an exploration, the kids love it! We crouch down and the wolves come close to us!

It's really impressive to be face to face with a wolf and have his eyes in his. I think it was the moment of the day that marked me the most ♥️

Face to face with the wolf © James Scohy – The House of Wolves

As an option, you can buy some food at the entrance to the park to give them from small trapdoors in the tunnel.

Cubs, wolves of Canada © James Scohy – The House of Wolves
  • The little novelty:  since May 2022, 5 wolf cubs have emerged 😍 and you can observe them from the vision tunnel.
  • The advantage of the activity: a healer is with us in the tunnel. We are all delighted because we can ask him all our questions.

We stay all morning in the park and as there are picnic tables outside under the trees outside the park, we decide to eat there.

Good to know

- The ticket for the House of Wolves is valid all day, make the most of your day and the exceptional encounter with the wolves!

- Access to the tunnel is by reservation and at an additional cost of the initial price (4 euros extra).

Hike to the Jasse d'en gaudu, a meadow nestled in the hollow of the mountains

After our morning at La Maison des Loups, we decide to go discover the Orlu valley which is a stone's throw from here. We take the car back to the Fanguil car park (create your itinerary here).

There is a nice hike up to the Jasse d'en Gaudu. We then set off to reach the jasse: un vast grassy mountain flat where the herds spend the night.

The trail is pleasant and especially accessible for children. We follow a beautiful river below. It's very refreshing and you immediately feel like you're in the high mountains with all these peaks around you. On the way, we marvel at the imposing Dent d'Orlu which dominates the valley and which naturally marks the landscape.

Waterfall in the Orlu valley © Ariège Pyrénées Tourisme – Our travel hearts

After 1h30 of walking, we arrive at the heart of Jasse d'en Gaudu and we see marmots, what luck! There is one, then two, then five! I confirm it to you: there is no age to marvel. This encounter with the marmots really enhanced the day. It is extraordinary to be able to observe an animal in its natural environment.

Good to know

– Don't meet the marmots too soon! They start to come out at the end of the day, when the valley is calmer 😉

- Remember to take your binoculars 👀 to observe marmots, they are sometimes quite far and hard to discern without binoculars.

Caroline, our outdoor activities specialist went to see the marmots in Orlu, she tells you about her day 👇

If you prefer climbing trees rather than hiking, know that there is a tree climbing park right next to the Maison des loups: Akrobranch d'Orlu ! Top to end the day with thrills. It is also the only tree climbing park accessible to toddlers (from 3 years old).

Carte de la vallée d'Orlu
Map of the Orlu Valley




Passionate about cultural and nature discoveries, I very often walk around Ariège in search of new things, little wild corners, places to relax with my family. In Ariège, I love the contrast between the small country roads and the imposing mountains, it's a place where you feel good!

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