Our first visit to the cave at Lascaux was in 2010 and to be honest I was a little disappointed on our arrival due to the fact that I was expecting to see the original cave!. Lascaux II, is a replica of two of the cave halls, the Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery and was opened in 1983, 200 meters from the original cave. However, what it taught me was to always research any Cave, Chateau, etc before the visit.
Once inside Lascaux II the disappointment was over and the only word I could say was “awesome”. Having never seen cave paintings before, I was hooked and ready for more. They are especially awesome when you think what these great artists had to work with e.g. colour blowing onto the rock and using the natural relief of the rock in order to create volume. Our guide that day adjusted the lighting in several ways in order to bring out the extraordinary fullness and depth of the drawings, it is impossible to believe that anyone could make such perfect lines and shading on an irregular stone surface with only a dim smoking lamp of mammoth fat to guide their hand, it is truly remarkable.
Lascaux is a complex set of caves near to the village of Montignac which date from the Palaeolithic period and are thought to be about 17,300 years old. They primarily consist of images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence which was found in the area. The cave complex was open to the public in 1948 but by 1955 it was found that carbon dioxide produced by the many visitors had visibly damaged the paintings. After the caves were closed, the paintings were restored and monitored on a regular basis.
The caves contain the Hall of the Bulls, Painted Gallery, Shaft, Nave, the Apse and the Chamber of Felines. Being a cat lover I would particularly like to see the Chamber of Felines.
Taureau au trident-you can see that it looks like two animals running, one male and one female, the female is overlaid in front of the male and a curious trident in the bottom left hand corner.
Taureau au trident
The colours are outstanding on the horses, bulls and deer in the paintings.
The detail in the paintings is wonderful.
Lascaux II paintings
If you are in the Dordogne do not miss a visit to the Lascaux II caves. You will need to book in advance at the ticket office in Montignac. They will then offer you a chose of tour guides in your own language. Remember that the caves will be closed for a few hours at lunch time.
Lascaux III is a travelling exhibition of the site which is on a worldwide tour, while the new Lascaux IV centre will be open near Montignac in 2016.