The Vézère Valley was home to some of Europe’s first settlers who came from the plains of Africa to settle here thousands of years ago. Prehistoric man took refuge in the many caves along the riverbanks the most well known is at Lascaux. Closed to visitors nowadays they can however, visit amazing interactive reproductions at Lascaux 2 and 4.
The Cave at Lascaux is one of the foremost sites in the world in terms of the quantity and quality of the paintings discovered on the site in 1940. Opened to the public in 1949, the cave was of such huge interest to the public that over a million visitors came during the next few years.
Unfortunately, the resultant carbon dioxide and humidity began to destroy the artwork and so the cave was closed. Due to the large number of photographic images which existed it was possible to construct an exact replica nearby.
Lascaux 2 opened in 1983, attracting huge numbers of visitors quite happy in the knowledge that what they see is just a facsimile.
However, concerned about further deterioration due to visitor numbers, the authorities had to review the situation. The problem was that Lascaux 2 sits very close to the original cave thus causing further damage. As a result they created the new Interactive Lascaux 4 lower down the hill away from the original site. While Lascaux 2 can still be seen, Lascaux 4 is proving extremely popular. Whatever happened to Lascaux 3? Well, it began as a travelling exhibition launched in Bordeaux in 2012 and continues to travel the world. The Lascaux 3 exhibition features five life-size reproductions of panels not included in Lascaux 2.
Please note that from Easter till Sept 6 tickets are available from the tourist office in Montignac. Only a limited number per day are issued so get there soon! You can book ahead online and if you know exactly when you wish to go then it is advisable to do so.
The images shown are representative of cave art in France.