The Lascaux cave in Montignac-Lascaux, is one of the emblematic places of the Dordogne: it contains a very large 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 a few hundred meters from each other.

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

What to see in Lascaux, and how to organize your visit?

Follow the guide for a return to the Vézère Valley, almost 20 years ago!

Why visit Lascaux?

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

Les Eyzies - national museum of prehistory
©C.Da Costa

Cro-Magnon man

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

The original cave, UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been closed to the public since 1963 for the conservation of drawings and engravings. But on the same hill, the site offers visitors a unique experience in two facsimiles: Lascaux II and Lascaux IV. It is possible to find the richness of the works and the relief of the engravings there, in the same temperature and sound environment conditions as the original cave.

Lascaux: a treasure thanks to its rock paintings and engravings

©Dan Courtice-Semitour Périgord

Lascaux is famous for the great wealth of its parietal art, that is to say the paintings and engravings which adorn its walls.

Unequaled cave art

Lascaux is the only place in the world that concentrates so many works caves. 600 animals are represented there in seven rooms several meters underground. A veritable cavalcade of horses, bison, aurochs and even deer... Some are particularly striking:

  • The Bulls room (or Rotunda) and its impressively sized paintings;
  • Axial diverticulum, the second room of the cave which has 161 drawings alone;
  • The nave, where groups of animals and geometric signs are represented;
  • Or well, which houses a scene whose meaning is still an enigma.

Why is the Lascaux cave closed?

Several dates mark out the history of the Lascaux cave. Its discovery, first of all, on September 12, 1940. A few days later, Abbot Henri Breuil surveyed it in turn. This pioneer of paleontology was among the first to authenticate the drawings of the Lascaux cave.

Between 1948 and 1963, nearly a million visitors descended into the cave. But carbon dioxide, increased temperature and humidity alter the condition of the walls over the years. In 1963, André Malraux, then Minister of Culture, made the decision to close the cave for its conservation.

Hall of bulls in Lascaux IV

Did you know?

The Lascaux cave has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1979.

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

Visitors to Lascaux can discover, on the same hill, the famous rock works on two exceptional sites: Lascaux II and Lascaux IV. The two replicas are located a few hundred meters from each other. It is also possible to combine visits for an even more unforgettable experience.

Hall of bulls in Lascaux IV

And Lascaux III then?

This traveling exhibition reveals replicas of the Nave and the Well to its visitors. She 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 offers an exploration of two parts of the cavity: the Bulls room and the Axial Diverticulum. On the walls of this facsimile, the works of the two rooms are reproduced in the smallest details. The gestures of prehistoric artists have been reproduced using the same components: yellow ocher, manganese, etc.

Allow almost 1 hour for this visit. It can be carried out after or before that of Lascaux IV if you wish to complete the discovery.

Where is the original cave?

You will also learn, during the visit, that the entrance to the original cave is located very close by, just a few steps from the path that leads to Lascaux II... even if it is not possible to access it!

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

Opened in 2016, the International Center for Cave Art offers a real dive into prehistoric art. The building allows a walk throughout the cave: all the rooms of the decorated cavity were reconstituted. To reproduce the Lascaux cave identically, many experts focused on every detail. Even its very particular acoustics!

The International Center for Cave Art of Lascaux IV also includes a theater, with an original scenography to better understand the prehistoric discoveries. Or, an immersive stroll, to immerse yourself in the daily life of the men who populated the Vézère Valley, almost 20 years ago.

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

The Lascaux cave is also surrounded by remarkable places. Different shelters and caves are to be discovered in Périgord and in the other departments near the Vézère Valley: cave of Bara-Bahau, cave of Wonders 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 his friends still makes children and teenagers dream today! Both sites de Lascaux II et Lascaux IV have thus been adapted to young audiences, by making them imagine, as close as possible to reality, the way in which prehistoric man created his works.

Organize your visit to Lascaux 

How to get to Lascaux?

  • By car : the Lascaux cave is located 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 an arrival at Condat Le Lardin station (10 kilometers from Montignac-Lascaux). You can leave from several cities or choose connections on the same line: Périgueux, Brive-la-Gaillarde, and even Bordeaux.
  • By bus, opt for the Trans-Périgord network.
  • The aircraft is also an option via Bergerac and Brive Vallée de la Dordogne airports.

How to dress to visit Lascaux?

A few meters underground, the temperature is around 12 to 13° C. It is constant all year round: as in the others chasms et decorated caves located in the Dordogne, bring a jacket or sweater. It is also recommended to wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

How to buy a ticket to Lascaux?

The Lascaux II and Lascaux IV caves are open all year round. To find out the prices and organize your visit, it is strongly recommended to book your tickets online.

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