A preserved nature in the Beunes valleys
Surrounded by limestone cliffs, the valley of Vézère is a haven for nature. Of course, one of the main reasons is the absence of big cities or industrial zones. But it’s not the only one. The valley also contain several protected areas, set up to ensure the survival of the most valuable species and habitats. Apart from the designation by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve, it includes several « Natura 2000 » sites, protected by a European Union directive. Take the valleys of the Beunes for example. Petite and Grande Beune are two tributaries of the Vézère river. They contain fragile habitats such as peatlands or reed beds and are home to several protected species. There you can meet otters, salamanders or a rare butterfly named Large Copper.
Coincidentally (but is it a coincidence ?), this part of the French territory was a refuge for our prehistoric ancestors, during the periods of glaciation. It provided them with an abundant game and an inspiration for their works of art. Thus, the small valleys of the Beunes contain the largest concentration in the world of decorated caves. About 15 sites of which only Font de Gaume, Combarelles, Bernifal and Abri du Cap Blanc are accessible.