If you’ve ever been to Lascaux II and were impressed, have you ever thought of going to Lascaux IV? I’ve been and I highly recommend it.

Lascaux IV is a replica of the whole of the original, palaeolithic cave as opposed to Lascaux II that reproduced parts of it.

The original cave was discovered in 1940, opened to the public then closed in 1963 due to concerns that the state of the precious cave was deteriorating due to human breath.

Lascaux II opened in 1983 and was the first replica of the original cave (90%).

Lascaux III is a travelling exhibition that goes all over the world.

Lascaux IV opened in 2016 and is a complete replica of the cave plus lots more. It is also known as the Lascaux International Centre.

Enter into a world of Palaeolithic cave art

A visit to Lascaux IV begins at the Belvedere where visitors can enjoy the view and use a tablet (supplied) to scan the landscape. The tablet produces a virtual reality map that shows the location of all the major surrounding archaeological sites open to the public.

Next stop is the Shelter where the visitor is taken on a virtual tour of the Vézère valley via a large screen. Starting as far back as 20,000 years ago, it’s impressive to see how the local landscape has evolved over time. The film ends with four adolescent boys walking across the screen on their way into the woods (and we all know who they are!).

Boys playing and a dog barking

As you are invited to move away from the screen by your guide, you are taken outside and can hear a dog barking and the voices of young boys playing above you in the woods. Of course it’s a recording! This was one of my favourite parts of the guide as it was so unexpected. Everything felt like it came to life at this point and I was truly caught up in that very exciting moment of time in history.

The Cave itself is unbelievable. The guide is informative and points out areas of the paintings that the untrained eye just wouldn’t notice normally.

After the Cave, the Studio displays eight reproduced walls of the cave that you are free to walk around. But not only that, there is a wealth of information that will answer all your questions. Not to mention the areas where you can use replica tools to have a go at painting yourself and handle replica objects used by Palaeolithic humans.

The Cave Art Theatre is a series of small rooms showing scripted plays dedicated to 1) answering the question “Could prehistoric man really have painted such masterpieces?”, 2) the ideas and methods of two famous pre-historians and 3) looking to the future at how state-of-the-art technology is used by researchers and archaeologists.

The Film Theatre has two giant screens showing 3D surveys of Lascaux and scenes of other caves around the world.

The Art Gallery explores the connection between various art works from cave to contemporary art.

Overall, Lascaux IV offers an in-depth look at the famous cave itself plus the wider subject of Palaeolithic cave art. It employs modern presentation methods such as tablets, virtual tours, films, touch screens and audio guides. Even if the subject isn’t really your thing, you can take what you want from it and I can assure you that you will not leave unimpressed. It has to be on your Dordogne bucket list of things to do and see.

 

  • the International Centre is modern and easy to navigate
  • a guided tour takes around an hour
  • you are free to explore other parts of the centre
  • audio guides available in various languages
  • there is a café with really interesting menu ideas

http://www.lascaux.fr