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Caves in Dordogne

If you were only going to one set of caves in the Vezere area, where would you go and why? Having trouble picking. Thanks

Posted by
18 posts

I would go to Grotte de Rouffignac. Though only 2 stars this was the most memorable cave to us! And we visited Grotte de Font de Gaume and La Roque St Christophe. The train was awesome and the highlight for me was seeing the cave bear wallows of hibernating cave bears! Of course you need to read Jean Auel’s “Clan of the Cave Bears” BEFORE you go to the Dordogne!

Posted by
6612 posts

Font du Gaume hands down. It is the real deal and sophisticated polychrome drawing. It is thrilling to stand in front of genius -- reaching back over 15-18 millenia. Roffignac is fun (and they have the best tshirts) but the drawings are primitive in comparison. I would also not miss the recreations of Lascaux 2 or 4 which shows you what these drawing were like when they were new.

Posted by
925 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
My nomination is 60 miles from Vezere. So that might eliminate it for your purposes. Grotte du Pech Merle. Fabulous paintings. Good enough to be used in the classic book and series, The Ascent of Man, by Jacob Bronowski.

The cave is owned by the local village so it doesn't get national tourism advertisement exposure.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
25 posts

We visited both Font de Gaume and Lascaux II about 10 years ago. I couldn’t imagine skipping Lascaux, personally, and found it awe-inspiring and an excellent tour.

Font de Gaume is more intimate, not a reproduction and very moving, as well. One has to climb up many steps to reach the cave opening, if that would be an issue for you.

Which appeals most to you?

Posted by
6612 posts

Pech Merle is a beautiful cave but IMHO far less interesting for cave art. With the exception of the wonderful spotted horses, there was not much of interest -- some foot prints, some hand prints, some primitive drawings -- nothing like Lascaux or Chauvet or Font du Gaume. The recreations at Lascaux and Chauvet are quite exceptional as alas we can no longer see the real deal -- so Font du Gaume it is in France if you want to see sophisticated cave art.

Posted by
8396 posts

We've been to each cave mentioned above. I was very moved by Rouffignac and Pech Merle, too. We had an unfortunate experience at Font de Gaume when a local English guide squeezed extra people into the small group at the last minute and insisted on changing the language to fit her private client$. Finally, although it's a reproduction, for educational purposes, Lascaux teaches the most of them all about technique and method during their tour

The most interesting cave we saw may be closed for now. It was, at the time, still on private land, hidden in the hills, with no electricity. The owner, a farmer, took us inside, carrying flashlights. Inside was a rare frontal illustration of a human face, which can be found in some textbooks. It was astonishing and rare to see such an ancient view of a human face.

Posted by
781 posts

While not a prehistoric cave, La Roque St Christophe, mentioned earlier, is an excellent add on to Lascaux, the Prehistoric Museum in Les Eyzies, or anything else in that part of Perigord. It "looks" prehistoric, but was actually a medieval refuge from Viking raids up the Dordogne. Spectacular sight.