Lascaux IV

All these animals that seems to be leaping out of the walls, full of life, it was indescribable. Simon Coencas one of the finders in 1940.

We have visited Lascaux II three times so it was a real treat to find out that a coach trip from Daglan would be visiting the new Lascaux IV. It would be organised by La Municipalite et le Club de I’Amitie and would be taking place on the 27th January. I think that we can speak for all of the people who attended on the two coaches, it was a brilliant excursion.

Unearthed in the middle of a World War 2 by four teenagers, Lascaux almost disappeared, a victim of its immense popularity. Now protected by the State the cave can again be viewed as magnificent replicas.

The building nestles at the foot of the hill of Lascaux like an incision into the landscape. A little like a rock shelter in the Vezere Valley in the epoch of the Upper Palaeolithic. Created by an Norwegian Architect Kjetil Traedal Thorsen co-founder and co-director of the Snohetta Office.

Lascaux IV.

The result: there are no apparent pillars on the transparent facade. An 8,600 square metre landscape building blending into the hill; 150 metres long and only 8 meters high, it fits snugly into the topography.

At the start of the tour we were given a tablet with head phones so that we could listen to commentary of the very knowledgeable tour guide and to extra information in your own language. The tablet can also be used to access more detail such as 3D maps of the cave system and includes a built in camera which I think is a brilliant idea.

At first we were taken to the top of the building where we could walk and admire the view of the valley on one side and the forest on the other. Then we were taken via a small tunnel to the ‘path of discovery room’, so that each visitor is drawn into the heart of a prehistoric forest displayed on a large screen, using sound environments and 3D visuals. It ends of course with the finders of the cave the four boys and Robot the dog.

Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Simon Coencas and Georges Agriel who found the cave in 1940.

At first they did not see the paintings. They walked past the enormous bulls painted onto the vault over head so it was not until they had reached the Axial gallery that the boys discovered by the light of a torch a procession of red cows, deer and black and yellow horses painted onto a background of white calcite.

The pigments used were yellow, brown and red ochres, iron and manganese, that the artists gathered from the environment before mixing them into a palette of about twenty colours which are unique to the Prehistoric Period.

One of the Aurochs or Giant Bulls, which is one of our favourites due to the vivid colours and the detail in the painting.

Visitors pass through the Hall of Bulls and then the Axial Gallery, before going into the Nave to discover the paintings that have not been reproduced in Lascaux II. A total of 1,963 paintings approximately 20,000 years old were completed by the original Master Artists of the Southern Period of the Palaeolithic Era.

Workshops consist of interactive tablets and panels of the reproduced cave paintings which are a brilliant way to study the workmanship of the artists who produced these magnificent paintings. The artists used 3D scanners with laser technology to compile and process the information to from a 3 dimensional digital reconstruction of the rock.

There is also a 130 seater cinema with two screens front and ceiling. Plus a large souvenir shop selling everything from books, T-shirts, cups etc. to whiskey.

From the Axial Gallery a red cow with a black head. Which looks similar to Egyptian Art, showing a side view with all of the details.

“What these people achieved twenty thousand years ago, with the limited means that they had and under those conditions, is incredible”. Francis Ringenbach.

Falling horses. Their knowledge of using the rock to the ultimate effect. In the cave it looks like the horse is falling into a pit or hole.

The total budget: 57 million euros to create Lascaux IV, with 33 million euros provided by the Department and French State. They receive up to 4000 visitors per day during the Summer months.

Write it into your to do list when you visit the Perigord. It is well worth a visit or two.


Gabarres at La Rogue-Gageac

It is dismal grey and pouring with rain outside so I thought that a little sunshine was needed to brighten up the day. If anyone is planning to holiday in the Perigord this Spring, Summer or early Autumn. One of the places that you need to visit is La Rogue-Gageac. What better way is there on a warm and sunny day than to travel down the Dordogne River on one of the gabarres which are moored at La Rogue-Gageac. Gabarres are traditional flat bottom boats which were used to transport merchandise down the river.

Just close your eyes and picture yourself relaxing down stream with a cool breeze in your face on a sunny day with blue sky’s above. To add to your enjoyment you can either listen to a commentary in French or use one of the supplied headsets programmed for your language. We opted for the headphones this time. The commentary is told in the form of one of the men working the gabarres in the 18C which is informative while being entertaining at the same time.

Inland water transport expanded rapidly in the 18C and to meet this demand boats were built with flat bottoms because the water level was so low in the Summer months. Traffic was so dense along the Dordogne River that by 1860 there were 571 gabarres.

You get a good view of the shops and restaurants as you pass by.

Quite a few of the gabarres on this part of the river were only one way, going down stream with their cargo and then dismantled on arrival at their destination and cut up for firewood. Thank goodness a few also came back up stream with the help of oxen, man power or both by pulling the boats against the current by rope.

Château de la Malartrie dates back to the 12th Century. It was once a hospital for lepers, then in the 19th Century the Count of Saint-Aulaire, Ambassador of France in England had the Château transformed into the renaissance style that it is today.

Just lazing around on the river. Kayaks and canoes are also available so you can see the river at your own pace.

The largest gabarres were made of oak with strengthening rails along the sides. They had three or four masts and were about twenty metres in length, they could carry about thirty tons of merchandise: coffee, sugar, and citrus fruit were favourite.

Event:- Sarlat Truffle Festival and market on the 20th and 21st of this month. Not only truffles are sold you can buy truffle macaroons and other delicious cakes, cookies etc. Plus there will be cooking demonstrations by the top Chefs from the Perigord.

An English Themed Sarlat. Part Two

Or stay calm Christmas is coming.

Along the main Rue de la République, the Medieval Quarter and in fact almost every shop window in Sarlat the flags are flying. Red, white and blue is everywhere you look, on trees, on lamp posts and on buildings. Below is just a taster which I hope that everyone will enjoy.

We loved the red telephone boxes in the window of the Tourism Office.

On parade, anyone for a cup of tea?

One of the many shops decorated for Christmas.

Our favourite shop for morning breakfast, Pâtisserie Massoulier decorated in the British theme.

Inside there are shelves crammed with Christmas delights.

I know I look like an elf. My wish is “one of everything please Santa”.

Event:- Château de Castelnaud, December 26 to the 30th. Medieval flavours and cooking.

The Tree of Liberty

To be found in Daglan village by the footbridge over the River Céou behind the Salle Des Fêtes. This magnificent Plane Tree was planted at the end of the French Revolution in 1789 to symbolize Liberty, and is still going strong.

It is by far the largest tree in this area and has not yet finished growing. They can grow from between twenty five to fifty five meters high and can live for up to 4000 years. What tales it could tell of the history of the village and its people.

The tree’s characteristic bark breaks into scales called rhytidomes which release yellowish areas and allow the cork to appear. The bark has a snake skin appearance which it sheds every Autumn.

Its fruit is generally hairy, usually hanging in balls that mature in Autumn, unsure if edible or not.

The tree leaf can be used as a dressing against hot and severe tumours, to reduce the swelling.

Several species are planted as urban ornamental and alignment trees along streets and roads particularly in the Perigord area.

A magnificent tree.


Just had to give it a hug.


The gorgeous mist in the early morning shrouding the hills around the village in a coat of grey. Which was transformed into brilliant sunshine later on in the day.


We will not be able to blog for a couple of weeks. My husband was diagnosed with prostrate cancer a few months ago. To say the least it has been a very stressful and worrying time, however he is going to have an operation on the 30th October. So all keep your fingers crossed for him.

Take care my darling, you will be home soon.


What could be better than hot chocolate for breakfast?

Hot chocolate and pain au raisin of course.

We often have breakfast at Pâtisserie Massoulier on our morning visits to Sarlat. It was so cold and foggy last Saturday that a hot chocolate drink was especially needed to warm us up a little, it was such a welcome treat before we set off to slowly roam around in the market.

Totally delicious.

We usually see Glinglin directing traffic around Sarlat centre.

Today however, he was directing people around the market with a traffic cone loud speaker. He is such a joy to see and so funny.

The covers were up on the market stalls to protect against the Autumn chill of the morning. Which thankfully did not last too long before the sun came out and reached a temperature of 22C.

I can never resist taking a picture of “Le Badaud” the relaxed onlooker gazing out across Sarlat Medieval Quarter. The sculpture by Gérard Auliac and can be seen looking out over the Place de la  Liberté.

Installation of Julien Lombardi at Sainte-Marie Fountain.
Paul saw an animal painting on the back wall but I saw a landscape scene! Whatever it is the light really helped to illuminate the painting.

Carried out within the framework of the Residences of Art, Sarlat – October 2017
This installation is based on an exploration scene of the Cuze underground canals passing under Sarlat.

The Imaginary Museum
October 7 to November 19,2017
Hotel Plamon – rue des Consuls and Fontaine Sainte-Marie
Free entrance from Monday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm
and group reservations
Heritage Service – City of Sarlat
05 53 29 82 98 / 05 53 29 86 68