NEED TO KNOW
There are very few prehistoric painted grottos still open to the public. The finest is Font-de-Gaume, with some 240 paintings and engravings dating from around 12000 BC. As at Lascaux, the paintings were created using color-blowing techniques, as well as employing the natural contours of the karst cave walls to lend shape and volume to figures.
There’s a positive menagerie of animals on display here: bison, mammoths, deer, and horses appear most often, but you can also make out a wolf, a bear, and two rhinoceroses. Together with enigmatic hand outlines and geometrical shapes, they offer a rare and fascinating glimpse into the lifestyle of a remote Paleolithic era.
Getting There and Around
The caves are on the D47 road, 1 km from the town of Les Eyzies. The nearest airport is Bordeaux (90 mins drive away) and the nearest train station at Périgeux (20 mins drive away).
You will need your own transportation to explore the local area. Note that only 200 visitors are allowed to enter the caves each day. Advance booking is essential in peak season.
When to Go
Easter holidays and July–August are particularly busy. May, June and September offer good weather and fewer crowds.