The Lascaux cave, à Montignac-Lascauxis one of the most emblematic sites in the Dordogne: it contains a huge number of prehistoric paintings. Although the authentic cave has been closed to the public since 1963, visitors can still admire the reproduction of these exceptional treasures thanks to the two facsimiles created just a few hundred metres apart.

Lascaux II reproduces the paintings in the first two rooms of the original cave, and the Lascaux IV Cave Art Centreinaugurated in 2016, invites visitors to discover all the works in the famous decorated cave.

What can you see at Lascaux, and how can you organise your visit?

Follow the guide back to the Vézère Valley, nearly 20,000 years ago!

Why visit Lascaux?

The Lascaux cave is a place of culture a must South-West France. Its unique cave paintings offer a formidable plunge into the past. An exceptional testimony, which has helped scientists to better understand the life, culture and beliefs of the Cro-Magnon man (Homo Sapiens Sapiens).

Les Eyzies - national prehistory museum
©C.Da Costa

Cro-Magnon man

The Cro-Magnon man owes his name to the Cro-Magnon shelter, located in the Eyziesin the Dordogne. In 1868, human bones and flints were discovered in this natural shelter at the foot of a cliff, during construction work. Another man dominates the village: Neanderthal man, a statue by Paul Dardé.

The original cave, UNESCO World Heritage SiteThe museum has been closed to the public since 1963 to preserve its drawings and engravings. But on the same hill, the site offers visitors a unique experience in two facsimiles : Lascaux II and Lascaux IV. The richness of the works and the relief of the engravings can be experienced in the same temperature and sound conditions as in the original cave.

Lascaux: a treasure trove of cave paintings and engravings

Dan Courtice-Semitour Périgord

Lascaux is famous for the richness of its cave artthe paintings and engravings that adorn its walls.

Unequalled cave art

Lascaux is the only place in the world to bring together so many works of art cave paintings. 600 animals are represented in seven rooms several metres underground. A veritable cavalcade of horses, bison, aurochs and deer... Some are particularly striking:

  • The Bullring (or Rotunda) and its impressively large paintings;
  • The Axial DiverticulumThe second room in the cave, with 161 drawings alone;
  • The Nave, depicting groups of animals and geometric signs;
  • Or le PuitsA scene whose meaning is still an enigma.

Why is the Lascaux cave closed?

A number of dates the history of the Lascaux cave. First of all, it was discovered on 12 September 1940. A few days later, Abbé Henri Breuil took his turn surveying the cave. This pioneer of palaeontology was among the first to authenticate the drawings in the Lascaux cave.

Between 1948 and 1963, almost a million visitors descended into the cave. But carbon dioxide, rising temperatures and high humidity made it impossible for the cave to survive. alter the condition of the walls over the years. In 1963, André Malraux, then Minister of Culture, decided to close the cave for conservation purposes.

Hall of bulls at Lascaux IV
©LesCoflocs

Did you know?

The Lascaux cave has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

Lascaux II and Lascaux IV: two places to discover in Montignac-Lascaux (Dordogne)

Visitors to Lascaux can discover the famous cave paintings at two exceptional sites on the same hill: Lascaux II and Lascaux IV. The two replicas are just a few hundred metres apart. It's also possible to combine the visits for an even more unforgettable experience.


Hall of bulls at Lascaux IV
©LesCoflocs

What about Lascaux III?

This travelling exhibition brings visitors replicas of the Nave and the Well. It travels the world: Europe, North America, Asia and even South Africa.

Lascaux II: the Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Diverticulum

Dan Courtice-Semitour Périgord

Lascaux II explores two parts of the cave: the Hall of Bulls and the Axial Diverticulum. On the walls of this facsimile, the works in the two rooms are reproduced in minute detail. The gestures of prehistoric artists have been recreated using the same components: yellow ochre, manganese, etc.

Allow around 1 hour for this visit. It can be taken after or before the visit to Lascaux IV if you wish to complete your discovery.

Where is the original cave?

During the visit, you'll also learn that the entrance to the original cave is very close by, just a few steps from the path leading to Lascaux II... even though it's not possible to get there!

Lascaux IV: the International Centre for Cave Art, an almost complete facsimile of the cave

Opened in 2016, the Centre International de l'Art Pariétal (International Centre of Cave Art) offers a veritable plunge into the world of cave art. prehistoric art. The building allows you to walk around the entire cave: all the rooms in the ornate cave have been reconstructed. In order to reproduce the Lascaux cave exactly as it was in the past, many experts have worked on every detail. Right down to its very special acoustics!

The Lascaux IV International Centre for Cave Art also includes a theatreThe Vézère Valley, with its original scenography, to help you better understand the prehistoric discoveries. Or take an immersive walk through the daily life of the people who inhabited the Vézère Valley almost 20,000 years ago.

It is the visit to choose if you don't want to miss anything the secrets of Lascaux and complete your discovery of Lascaux II.

The Lascaux cave is also surrounded by remarkable sites. Various shelters and caves are to be discovered in the Périgord and other departments near the Vézère Valley: Bara-Bahau cave, Grotte des Merveilles in Rocamadour...

Lascaux, an exceptional site for children too!

The magic of Lascaux is also linked to its very first discovery, by four children from Montignac-Lascaux who were looking for a secret underground passage. The adventure of Marcel Ravidat and friends is still the stuff of dreams for children and teenagers today! The two websites from Lascaux II and Lascaux IV have been adapted for young audiencesThe aim is to get them to imagine, as closely as possible to reality, the way in which prehistoric man created his works of art.

Organising your visit to Lascaux 

How do I get to Lascaux?

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  • By car The Lascaux cave is 40 minutes from Brive-la-Gaillarde and 45 minutes from Périgueux. You can take the A20 from Toulouse or the A89 from Bordeaux.
  • By train Choose to arrive at Condat Le Lardin station (10 kilometres from Montignac-Lascaux). You can leave from a number of towns or choose connections on the same line: Périgueux, Brive-la-Gaillarde, and even Bordeaux.
  • By busChoose the Trans-Périgord network.
  • The plane is also an option via Bergerac and Brive Vallée de la Dordogne airports.

What should you wear to visit Lascaux?

A few metres underground, the temperature is around 12 to 13° C. It is constant throughout the year: as in other chasms and painted caves located in the Dordogne, bring a jacket or jumper. Comfortable clothing and footwear are also recommended.

How do I buy a ticket for Lascaux?

The Lascaux II and Lascaux IV caves are open all year round. To find out the prices and organise your visit, we strongly advise you to book your tickets online.

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