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Lascaux Caves Map and Visiting Information

From James Martin,
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Visiting Information for the Prehistoric Painted Caves of Lascaux

Lascaux. Everybody knows the famous caves in the Vézère valley of the Dordogne, near the village of Montignac. Images in the original cave complex, called Lascaux I, are considered to be about 17,000 years old.

A replica of the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery of Lascaux I, called Lascaux II, is located 200 meters from the entrance of the original cave. This is what you've come to see; unfortunately the paintings in the real Lascaux have been damaged by the change in conditions brought about by opening the cave to humans. As a result, the cave was closed to the public in 1963.

Lascaux II was opened in 1983 after 11 years of work by local artist Monique Peytral and 20 other painters and sculptors. Despite being a fake, it is a very, very good fake. Everything has been reproduced to scale; the walls upon which the pictures and engravings are found have the same contours as the original and the pictures are realized with the same pigments--red, brown and yellow ochre with outlines of black manganese dioxide. Lascaux II is very much worth a visit if you're in the area.

Location Map of Lascaux II

Visiting Lascaux

You will have to take a guided tour which takes you through the cave in about 40 minutes. Tickets are sold in the town of Montignac (at the Tourist Office) during the summer season, in the off season you can buy them on site. Ticket prices for Lascaux II is found on this page: Important information for the visit of Lascaux 2. It may be difficult to get tickets for same-day tours during the season as visitors are limited to 2000 per day.

There is free parking on the site--and tables for picnics. It is well marked, but as you can see on the map, the entrance is on a sweeping curve--watch for it so you don't have to slow down quickly when you see the sign.

The caves are even realistic down to the temperature, which hovers around 55° F, so you might want to bring a sweater or jacket.

The Lascaux site offers a virtual visit to the cave, and is an extremely well done site.

Lodging Near Lascaux

There are quiet a number of user-rated hotels in the Dordogne (Book Direct).

If you are a family or are planning a longer stay and wish to take advantage of a home or apartment rental, HomeAway offers many Vacation Rentals in the Dordogne.

We stayed in a vacation house in Sarlat, a pleasant town near Les Eyzies, where the National Museum of Prehistory will give you a good background of the artifacts found in the region. It's closed Tuesday.

Recommended Prehistoric Cave with Original Art

If you must see a cave with original paintings, I highly suggest the nearby Font de Gaume. Reservations in advance can be made by contacting fontdegaume@monuments-nationaux.fr. If you go early in the morning in the off season, you should be able to get a place without a reservation.

Another Replica Cave in France to Visit

Chauvet Cave, older and a bit grander than Lascaux, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of cultural properties in 2014, and a project to build a replica has started. See pictures of the cave art and information on the project: How to See the Prehistoric Art of Chauvet Cave, La grotte Chauvet Pont d'Arc.

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