The Lascaux cave, located in the commune of Montignac-Lascaux, in the Vézère valley, is one of the most important decorated caves of the Palaeolithic period. It contains a large number of works of exceptional aesthetic quality. Thanks to this unique treasure, it is sometimes called "the Sistine Chapel of cave art" or even the "Versailles of prehistory".
The paintings and engravings at Lascaux have not been directly dated, but their age is estimated to be between 19,000 and 17,000 years.
The real Lascaux cave and its original paintings are particularly fragile. Over the years, damage to the paintings began to appear due to the large number of tourists. To preserve this unique heritage, it was closed to the public. What can be visited now is an exact replica: Lascaux IV.
For the first time, the Lascaux cave reveals almost all its secrets! Get ready to go back in time by diving into the heart of the almost complete replica of the Lascaux cave discovered in 1940. This new facsimile of the cave has been created with one ambition: to make you feel the same sensations when you enter the cave as the four young boys: Marcel Ravidat, Jean Clauzel, Maurice Queyroi and Louis Périer.
The atmosphere is cool and dark, the scenery is well set, the light and shade guide you, gradually revealing the various treasures that the place abounds.
During your visit to the cave art centre, just after the guided tour of the Lascaux 4 cave, set off on a self-guided tour at your own pace to better understand the history of this fabulous cave and of cave art throughout the world.
Several rooms await you! First of all, you will visit the workshop, which will allow you to get to the heart of the history of the paintings in the Lascaux 4 cave. Then, you can go at your leisure to relive the interpretation of cave art through the ages in the Digital Theatre, then thanks to the 3D cinema you can put yourself in complete immersion in other caves from all over the world, and finally, thanks to the digital exhibition room, select and rediscover the contemporary and cave art works.
The Lascaux cave is open every day almost all year round. But in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the reopening of the site is envisaged initially over the last two weekends of June (20-21-22 June & 27-28-29 June), and then the season will begin in earnest in a second phase from 4 July. You can however book your ticket online now. However, always check the official website of the Lascaux cave for the opening times and possibilities of visits.
The individual rates for Lascaux IV are currently as follows:
* Reduced rate on presentation of proof: students, large family card, jobseekers, disabled persons, Crédit Agricole members
Lascaux 4 is much more than a facsimile of the original cave. It is an entire centre dedicated to the history and art of the cave. Located at the foot of the Montignac-Lascaux hill, only a few metres from the original cave, more than 10,000 m2 have been fitted out to allow more than 1 million visitors to discover the masterpieces of our prehistoric ancestors.
The building, which is resolutely modern, has nevertheless been designed to alter the landscape as little as possible, and it fits very naturally into the hill of Lascaux, following its various curves. The inclusion is so successful that depending on the angle from which you look, the building is not always visible.
Although the site is the Lascaux site, during your visit, you will go to meet cave art from all over the world to retrace the steps of the Cro-Magnon civilisation.
Montignac is nestled upstream in the Vézère valley, also known as the "Valley of Man". It is also halfway between Sarlat la Canéda in the Dordogne valley and the "Capital of Prehistory", Les Eyzies-de-Tayac. This region, with its unique cultural richness, is also called "the golden triangle of the Périgord Noir". In this valley of the Vézère and the Dordogne, 400,000 years of human occupation are still visible today, and thanks to this, 15 sites have been listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
In addition to the prehistoric sites, the town of Montignac also offers a number of historical monuments. For example, there are two villas dating from the Roman colonisation: the villa des Olivoux and the villa de Brenac. In the heart of the village there are also the remains of an important fortress dating from the medieval period. However, after a tumultuous history and many changes of ownership, the town's castle was destroyed in 1825. A tower and part of its infrastructure still testify to its existence.
In the Middle Ages, Montignac was a ford town which allowed the crossing of the Vézère. Its current bridge dates from the middle of the 18th century. Each bank still bears witness to the history of the town, with narrow medieval streets on the right bank and architectural evidence of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries such as houses on stilts, half-timbered houses, wash houses and fountains of the period. On the left bank, we find the suburb with its convent, its priory and its quays, recalling the religious and commercial vocation of the town.
Here are some of the sites not to be missed during your visit to Montignac:
But Montignac is also nice for its hospitality. As you wander through the town, you will find many bars and restaurants and nice little shops.
Finally, if you are lucky enough to come at the end of July, you can also discover the International Festival of Montignac. A major festival celebrating dance and music from around the world...