In the heart of Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the Dordogne department, the Vézère valley brings together over forty kilometers, some of the richest and most famous sites of European Prehistory. In fact, this valley contains more than 400 years of history. With 000 sites dating back to the Paleolithic and 143 shelters and decorated caves, the Vézère valley has been included since 25 on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage list for 1979 Paleolithic sites, including the famous Lascaux cave. 

In Périgord, the Vézère valley site is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

A UNESCO World Heritage Site to discover

Do you want to get as close as possible to this world heritage? Please note that the majority of these sites are still accessible to the public. 

Public chat the village of Eyzies, the last polychrome painting cave opened in France: the Font-de-Gaume cave, is worth it. Reservations are required and the number of people per visit is limited. More than 200 paintings and engravings dating back 14000 years are available to you. Nearby, the Combarelles cave reveals all the art of prehistoric engraving; its intimate visit (6 people max) will delight you. 

To Montignac-Lascaux, even though the original cave has been closed to the public since 1963, you can still visit the Lascaux cave thanks to its 2 facsimiles. Lascaux II, the first partial reproduction is located a few steps from the original. Lascaux IV, international center of parietal art, offers you a complete reproduction of the cave as well as an interpretation room to decipher its works, a cinema, a “theater” and a temporary exhibition. 

The Rouffignac cave also called “the cave of a hundred mammoths” can be discovered by little train, over more than 8km of galleries. The mammoth is the dominant theme in Rouffignac. 158 of these pachyderms are depicted on the walls and ceilings of this maze. Despite the great prestige which this animal enjoys in our minds, it was relatively little represented by prehistoric artists who generally preferred horses and bison. This is why among the 350 decorated cavities in Western Europe, approximately a third of the representations of the species are in Rouffignac.

You can also immerse yourself in the life of our ancestors thanks to rock shelters, like that of Laugerie Basse ou the Pataud shelter.  

Grotte du Grand Roc_les eyzies

Approach the oldest site in the Vézère valley: the Micoque deposit, by taking the interpretation trail “ Prehistory Path, the Micoque loop ". You pass under the cliffs of the Grand Roc cave and discover one of the most exceptional landscapes in the valley.

Going up the Vézère river, explore the troglodyte village of La Madeleine.
Located at Tursac, it is one of the best examples of human occupation of the Vézère valley. 

From its biosphere to its sumptuous landscapes, a territory committed to sustainable development 

From July 2012, the Vézère valley is classified, as a tributary of the Dordogne, as a biosphere reserve by Unesco. This reserve is the largest in France, the 2rd in Europe to encompass an entire watershed with no less than 23870km².
The public territorial establishment of the Dordogne basin (Epidor) is the guarantor of the good management of this biosphere reserve.


By canoe or barge,

you will be able to admire this environmental wealth up close: the landscapes, the fauna and the flora which compose it.

Also, it is home to several “Natura 2000” sites protected under a European directive. 
For example, the Beunes valleys, tributaries of the Vézère, which contain rare and fragile environments such as peat bogs or reed beds and are home to several protected species. You can come across otters, salamanders or marsh copperheads (this is a rare butterfly). You can discover this preserved environment thanks to an interpretation trail that runs along it.
Since 2020, the Vézère valley has also been labeled “ Grand Site of France ". This decision is the reward for the efforts made to preserve its exceptional landscapes in the long term, while improving the reception of visitors. 

Of a Unesco website to another, there is only one step! From the Vézère valley to the paths of Saint Jacques de Compostela 

A few kilometers from the valley, one of the routes of the mythical paths of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle passes through Périgord: the Vézelay route. It is also classified as World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, under the paths of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle in France.

This route, which crosses the Dordogne from La Coquille to Sainte Foy la Grande, passes through the town of Périgueux, capital of Périgord. Let yourself be enchanted by its imposing Saint Front cathedral and its medieval streets. A variation of this route goes through Bergerac. It will allow you to discover Cadouin Abbey et the church of Saint-Avit-Sénieur, they also classified.
Many hiking trails start from the Vézère valley and allow you to join these routes. 

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