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Prehistoric Cave Art at the Lascaux Cave
Montignac, Nouvelle-Aquitaine , France|www.lascaux.fr|
Known as the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of Palaeolithic art, the Lascaux Caves were painted around 17,000 BC. The breathtakingly sophisticated polychrome paintings of bison, horses, reindeer and aurochs demonstrate a keen eye for perspective and movement.
Sadly, the cave had to be closed in 1963 because of the damage caused by carbon dioxide in visitors’ breath. A partial replica, Lascaux II, opened in 1983, and in 2016 a complete replica, Lascaux IV, opened as part of Montignac’s high-tech International Centre of Parietal Art.
While you’re there
Combined tickets are available for the nearby Le Thot Park, with a museum, workshops and a park, home to some of the animals painted on the caves.
The nearby town of Sarlat, made from golden limestone, is one of France’s most beautiful Renaissance towns and lies just half an hour’s drive south of the caves.
Getting there & doing it
Choose between an hour-long tour of the cave replica with a human or audio guide, although you’ll need to book a time slot in advance for the former to be sure of a guide in English. Book tickets in advance on the Lascaux website, especially in July and August.
Although trains do make the journey from Bordeaux, it’s expensive and complicated – it’s much easier to make the beautiful two-hour trip by car. This also makes it easier to visit the Le Thot Prehistoric Cave Centre, and the town of Sarlat after.
When to do it
It’s open all year round, seven days a week. There’s a lot to see (allow three hours to see everything), so try to get to Lascaux by 10am, before the coach parties turn up.
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