Dordogne | Cave Art

Facsimile of Lascaux at Lascaux VI
Facsimile of Lascaux at Lascaux VI
Facsimile of Lascaux at Lascaux VI
Facsimile of Lascaux at Lascaux VI
Facsimile of Lascaux at Lascaux VI
Facsimile of Lascaux at Lascaux VI
Facsimile of Lascaux at Lascaux VI
Facsimile of Lascaux at Lascaux VI
Facsimile of Lascaux at Lascaux VI
Facsimile of Lascaux at Lascaux VI
The rock shelter at Cap Blanc
The rock shelter at Cap Blanc
Inside Cap Blanc
Inside Cap Blanc
The cave system at Grotte de Rouffignac
The cave system at Grotte de Rouffignac
Museum of Prehistory
Museum of Prehistory
Museum of Prehistory
Museum of Prehistory
Les Eyezies
Les Eyezies
Font-de-Gaume, the only decorated cave in France with polychrome paintings
Font-de-Gaume, the only decorated cave in France with polychrome paintings
Cougnac caves
Cougnac caves
Outside Musee de l'Abri Cro-Magnon
Outside Musee de l'Abri Cro-Magnon

Famed for its caves, the Dordogne Valley has some of the earliest and finest examples of prehistoric cave art. That’s not all, on this trip to rural France you’ll discover picturesque villages, sensational cuisine and a wealth of history. 


Vividly brought to life in ochre and charcoal are wild animals and human figures up to 30,000 years old. Dr. Paul Bahn (April) and Dr. Iain Morley (July & September) tell the story of the art, its discovery and what is known of the people who created it. We will see some of the worldfamous rock art sites – taking you as close as it is possible to get to the lives of our most remote Ice Age ancestors.

  • Discover images from the world-famous painted cave of Lascaux at the new Interpretation Centre, Lascaux IV
  • Enjoy a tour led by our experts in rock art and the archaeology of the last Ice Age
  • View the UNESCO-listed cave system at Grotte de Rouffignac
  • Admire the beautiful French landscapes and enjoy the regional cuisine on this tour

 

Please note that the order of visits might change due to availability of caves.

Themes

  • Rock Art
  • Prehistory

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • Small Group
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We depart from London and fly to Bordeaux. Upon arrival, we head to our hotel in Poitiers.
Hotel: Best Western Hotel
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

We start our day at the Museum of Prehistory La Sabline in Lussac and then make our way to Les Eyzies. En route, we stop at a rock shelter, with sculpted cave art from the Solutrean period. Our next visit is to La Chaire à Calvin, a rock shelter that takes its name from a local legend and boasts a frieze dating back around 15,000 years. Evidence of rhinoceri and tools crafted from bone and stone have been discovered here over the years. Today, we also journey to Angles-sur-Anglin to view the Roc-aux-Sorciers facsimile, the greatest sculpted frieze from the Ice Age. Aptly named, this rock shelter was on the pagan radar long before the cave art was discovered, whether its mystical powers are a result of the art is unknown, however wall sculptures extend for over 50 metres here.
Hotel: Hotel Le Centenaire
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We drive to the fascinating site of Laugerie Haute, with remains of occupation dating from the Upper Palaeolithic. Objects made from bone, two human skeletons and countless tools helped to confirm this. Onto the small rock shelter known as Abri du Poisson, famed for the bas-relief of a male salmon across the ceiling, more than 1m in length, and once painted red.

Returning to Les Eyzies we visit the excavations at Abri Pataud where archaeologists have been attempting to trace artistic progress through the millennia. We continue to the rock shelter at Cap Blanc, a rare example of Ice Age sculpted bas-reliefs and the best still in situ which are open to the public.
Hotel: Hotel Le Centenaire
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

This morning will be dedicated to the newly established Lascaux IV centre. Lascaux is the most famous and spectacular of all decorated caves, with hundreds of paintings and 1,500 engravings, best known for its awe inspiring depictions of aurochs, horses and deer.

In the afternoon we drive to the park at Le Thot, where animals which would have been extant in the Ice Age are bred and kept. Our final visit today will be to Lascaux II.
Hotel: Hotel Le Centenaire
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Day 5

We travel by electric train into the cave system of Rouffignac, more than five miles long. Known as the Cave of the Hundred Mammoths, about one-third of all mammoth depictions known are found in this cave. In this cave there is also evidence of not only human existence, but scratch marks from cave bears too. We take a short drive to Font de Gaume, the only decorated cave in France with multicoloured paintings which remains open to the public. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is home to over 200 representations of animals.
Hotel: Hotel Le Centenaire
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

Our first visit is to Cougnac, two caves are found here which contain the claw-marks of cave bears and fascinating stalactite and stalagmite formations. We also see paintings of mammoths, ibex, human type figures and three megaloceros, many of which take advantage of the natural shapes of the cave wall. Continue to Pech Merle, with painted black outlines of aurochs, mammoth, spotted-horses, geometric shapes and handprints. This cave reveals a full repertoire of cave art techniques and material - it is truly thought-provoking and an unforgettable experience.
Hotel: Hotel Le Centenaire
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

This morning, we say our goodbyes and fly to London.
Meals: Breakfast included

Itinerary 2020

Day 1

We depart from London and fly to Bordeaux. Upon arrival, we drive to our hotel in Les Eyzies.

Hotel: Hôtel le Centenaire
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

We start our tour at the small rock shelter known as Abri du Poisson. Our next stop will be to the fascinating site of Laugerie Haute, with remains of occupation dating from the Upper Palaeolithic. After lunch, we visit the excavations at Abri Pataud where archaeologists have been attempting to trace artistic progress through the millennia. Then we move on to the Musée de l’Abri Cro-Magnon. The day ends at the rock shelter at Cap Blanc, a rare example of Ice Age sculpted bas-reliefs and the best still in situ which are open to the public.

Hotel: Hôtel le Centenaire
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

This morning will be dedicated to the newly established Lascaux IV centre. Lascaux is the most famous and spectacular of all decorated caves, with hundreds of paintings and 1,500 engravings, best known for its awe inspiring depictions of aurochs, horses and deer. In the afternoon we drive to the park at Le Thot, where animals which would have been extant in the Ice Age are bred and kept. Our final visit today will be to Lascaux II.

Hotel: Hôtel le Centenaire
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner included

Day 4

We travel by electric train into the cave system of Rouffignac, more than five miles long. Known as the Cave of the Hundred Mammoths, about one-third of all mammoth depictions known are found in this cave. In this cave there is also evidence of not only human existence, but scratch marks from cave bears too. WE take a short drive to Font de Gaume, the only decorated cave in France with multicoloured paintings which remains open to the public. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is home to over 200 representations of animals.

Hotel: Hôtel le Centenaire
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

Our first visit is to Cougnac, two caves are found here which contain the claw-marks of cave bears and fascinating stalactite and stalagmite formations. We also see paintings of mammoths, ibex, human type figures and three megaloceros, many of which take advantage of the natural shapes of the cave wall. Continue to Pech Merle, with painted black outlines of aurochs, mammoth, spotted-horses, geometric shapes and handprints. This cave reveals a full repertoire of cave art techniques and material - it is truly thought-provoking and an unforgettable experience.

Hotel: Hôtel le Centenaire
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

This morning, we transfer to the airport for our return flight to London.

Meals: Breakfast only

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach & trains
  4. Meals - Most meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

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2020 Tour Details

Tue 2nd Jun - Sun 7th Jun

Call for Availability

£2,295

inc.

sgl supp: £195

DOR20A

Led By: Dr Paul Bahn

Tue 8th Sep - Sun 13th Sep

Available

£2,195

inc.

sgl supp: £195

DOR20B

Led By: Dr Rob Dinnis

Tue 15th Sep - Sun 20th Sep

Available

£2,195

inc.

sgl supp: £195

DOR20C

Led By: Dr Rob Dinnis

Guide Lecturers

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