Caves in the Dordogne's Vézère valley contain some of the oldest artworks known to man. Known as "The Valley of Mankind" some of the earliest human remains have been found here. Below is a selection, but by no means all, of the Dordogne Caves.
The prehistoric paintings in the Font-de-Gaume caves near Les Eyzies-de-Tayac were discovered at the turn of the 20th century by Denis Peyrony and excavated in 1901. The cave contains prehistoric polychrome cave paintings and engravings dating to the Magdalenian period
Second only to those found in the caves at Lascaux, they contain over 200 paintings dating back to approximately 15,000 BC. Most incredible is the freeze of five bison discovered by accident during cleaning. These are some of the best known examples of prehistoric art still open to the public.
1-4 Avenue des Grottes, 24620 Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil
Tel: (+33) 05 53 06 86 00
The largest cave in the Périgord region, close to the pretty and tranquil town of Le Bugue. Proumeyssac has a vast subterranean grotto reaching 40 metres in height. Filled with impressive crystal formations, it has been spectacularly lit and visitors are treated to a light and sound show. It is possible to descend into the cave using the old-fashioned horse-drawn basket which was used before the tunnel entrance was created. Audio guides are available in several languages, including English, german, Spanish, Italian and Japanese.
Outside the cave there are also plenty of children's activities, such as a playpark, picnic areas, water features and animal park.t known examples of prehistoric art still open to the public.
24260 Le Bugue sur Vézère
Tel: +33 (5)53 07 27 47
The Sorcerer's Cave is a prehistoric cave decorated and adorned with engravings of animals from the Magdalenian period. Formed in a cliff in the village of Saint-Cirq, it houses about 30 engravings, notably some of the few from this period to depict humans. The cave's name comes from the engraving of the 'Sorcerer' in the ceiling deep within the cave.
The engravings of the cave was discovered between 1952 and 1953. In some you can depict a group of animals that have been etched deeply - 1 bison and 4 horses are clearly visible. The second set adorns the ceiling of the cave back: these are, among others, representations, finely engraved, three human characters, including the famous "sorcerer".
Route de Saint-Cirq, 24260 Le Bugue
Tel: +33 (5) 53 07 14 37
A 100m long cave with examples of Paleolithic paintings & engravings. The southernmost of all the caves of the Vézère valley, Bara-Bahau was classified as an historic monument in 1961.
The first part of the cavity has been accessible for some time, however, the deeper part of the cave containing the engravings and paintings, was discovered in April 1951 by the famous French caver, Norbert Casteret and his daughter Maud, who was the first to recognize the parietal engravings. Guided tours are available in both English and French.
24260 Le Bugue
Tel: +33 (0)5 53 07 44 58
The Grand Roc cave, registered with UNESCO as a World Heritage site, is a true mineral forest, including crystallizations, calcite flows, stalactites, stalagmites, pillars, eccentric stalactites, draperies, and more.
Discovered in 1924 by Jean Maury, the caves were opened to the public in 1927. The cave was inhabited by our ancestors at various periods throughout prehistory, and in particular 15,000 years ago by Cro-Magnon. You can also visit the Abris of Laugerie-Basse where large amount of archaeological remains shows a cultural and artistic activity unrivalled in the area and even in Europe.
Tel: +33 (5) 53 05 65 60
Les Lavandes, Self Catering Holiday/Vacation Properties in the Dordogne.
Les Lavandes, 24510 Ste. Alvere, France