Going back to Prehistoric times: the Dordogne caves

We went to meet Cro-Magnon and the subterranean world of the caves in the Dordogne! We knew that the Dordogne offers an unlimited choice and it is true that the Périgord caves are the best. This summer we set out to discover the treasures of prehistory in order to better understand our ancestors and all that we learned in our history lessons at school. Lascaux II, Lascaux IV and the Grand Roc were all on our shortlist.

Lascaux II: an intimate visit

Our first stop was a visit to Lascaux II – we had no idea what to expect. We even thought the site was closed.
Only a few metres from the original cave, on the hill, among the trees... the reconstruction is superb and has withstood the test of time. Seeing the paintings for the first time was breathtaking. The site is quiet and tranquil, and we had time to admire everything around us, with explanations that are clear and suitable for all visitors.
With only one group at a time, the atmosphere is both intimate and respectful. For me it's THE must-do in the area.
We learned that it was young boys who discovered this prehistoric masterpiece, right here, just under our feet in 1940.
Upon entering Lascaux II, using a torch, the guide revealed the magic of the parietal art by illuminating the wall paintings. All the animals were then set in motion with the torch beams: The Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Diverticulum offer a real emotional journey into the world of prehistory! If at all possible don't miss this amazing personalised visit.
A fabulous place. Our guide was passionate and exciting. We hope this site remains open for many others to enjoy.

Tip: remember to book your visit online in advance.
We loved visiting Lascaux II!

Lascaux IV: Superb digitally aided visits, totally interactive and fun! It was great!

Charlotte, our guide at Lascaux II, convinced us to also visit Lascaux IV, which offers a really interactive visit with the help of all new technologies! The building is beautiful and spreads over 8,000 m2 at the base of the Lascaux Montignac hillside, easily accessible on foot from the town centre. Inside you can see not only the newest Lascaux cave replica, opened in December 2016, but also a truly unique, unforgettable and immersive experience! The unique atmosphere of the cave, the Belvedere, the Lascaux Workshop, the Parietal Art theatre, the 3D cinema... the whole site explains the exceptional intelligence of cavemen and their prehistoric paintings from an artistic, technological and emotional point of view.
Everyone has a tablet, with games and more simple explanations for children. Nobody gets bored.

As soon as they emerged, the kids were demanding to go back in.
We booked the visit online after comments that I read here and there – it’s a good idea to do so. We loved the 3D glasses, the digital show of caves all over the world and the children really learned things.
At lunchtime we opted to eat at Chez Cathy Sardan and tasted the authentic cuisine, passed down the generations. We met workers, locals, tourists, families and groups, all meeting there to sample the gourmet treasures of the Périgord.

Find out more on Lascaux IV (External link)

Other recommended sites: Grotte du Grand Roc at Les Eyzies

The Grand Roc cave at Les Eyzies seems to be wedged into a steep cliff. The cave dominates the Vézère Valley and offers a magnificent panorama over the river – we took some pictures to show friends on the way home! Our guide, Elizabeth, always took the children to the front of the group so they didn’t miss anything: crystallisations: stalactites, stalagmites, fistulas, gours. And for a few seconds, she turned off the light allowing us to witness the magic of the place.

After visiting the cave, we lunched at the troglodyte restaurant at Laugerie Basse located just outside Grand Roc. We took advantage of the weather to sit on the terrace and taste the typical products of Périgord, but especially to enjoy the magnificent view of the Vézère Valley. Open since 1947, the restaurant offers traditional cuisine and we fell for the Troglodyte platter: foie gras pâté, duck and Rocamadour cheeses. A true delight!