Aquitaine
Cave Tours

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Our most recommended Aquitaine Cave Tours

From Sarlat-la-Canéda: Lascaux IV and Cave Art Full-Day Tour

1. From Sarlat-la-Canéda: Lascaux IV and Cave Art Full-Day Tour

Dordogne is the world capital of prehistory. Here, Cro Magnon, the first early modern humans, settled and left some of the most fascinating artwork inside caves created by thousands of years of erosion. This 8-hour tour will take you to the most famous caves at Lascaux, and to admire the drawings and etchings of Rouffignac Cave. The tour begins at Les Eyzies de Tayac, where the first 5 skeletons of the Cro-Magnons were discovered in 1868. You will take a guided tour of the National Prehistory Museum, which opened in 2004, and possesses the largest collection of prehistoric artifacts in the world. Continue to Montignac, where you will visit the famous Lascaux IV Cave. A perfect reproduction of the original cave and its cave art, Lascaux IV opened in 2016 as a triumph of technology, unique in the world. Rigorous scientific and artistic methods were used to recreate the incomparable atmosphere of the original cave. A reinforced concrete shell was created using shipbuilding techniques, and the relief of the cave was reconstituted down to the tiniest detail. The polychromatic paintings were executed just as the originals were 17, 000 years ago, using natural pigments. End your tour at Rouffignac Cave, to see original etchings and drawings. The Renaissance poet and author François de Belleforest mentioned the Rouffignac Cave as long ago as 1575 in his “Cosmographie Universelle.” The cave paintings proved a popular tourist attraction back in the 19th-Century. Famous archaeologists, such as Henry Breuil, André Glory, and Martel, had visited the cave in the early 20th-Century, but it was only in 1956 that 2 historians from the Pyrenees confirmed the cave art as from the Upper Paleolithic period. Rouffignac Cave, which had once served as a shelter for Resistance fighters in World War 2, was officially opened to the public in 1959, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Sarlat: Half-Day Skip-the-Line Lascaux IV Tour

2. Sarlat: Half-Day Skip-the-Line Lascaux IV Tour

Discover the brand new Lascaux IV International Center of Parietal Art. The museum itself is a triumph of modern technology: unlike any other cave visits, Lascaux 4 employs different set designs, displays, state-of-the-art interactive workshops and immersive technology to bring it to life. For the very first time, all of Lascaux Cave will be revealed. This new center features an interactive gallery experience that blends art, history, and culture with intelligence and sensitivity. At the heart of the experience, you will discover a life-size, state-of-the-art facsimile cave that reveals the wonders of Lascaux as they were first seen. In 2018, the museum was listed in Time Magazine’s "100 Greatest Places to Visit", saying “The Snohetta-designed complex features some 600 prehistoric paintings and 1,000 engravings, all painstakingly re-created by a team of two dozen artists working from physical castings and advanced 3D digital scans or the original artwork”. Following your visit and some time for personal discovery, the tour will also take you along the Vezere Valley, where you will stop in Les Eyzies and Saint Léon village.

From Sarlat: Padirac Chasm and Rocamadour Day Trip

3. From Sarlat: Padirac Chasm and Rocamadour Day Trip

Begin your journey of the Lot Region at Sarlat’s central Place Pasteur, where you will be greeted by your English-speaking guide who will take care of you throughout the day. Head straight to the Padirac Chasm, or Cave, the region’s most iconic natural underground reservoir of water, and second longest chasm network in the world after the Sac Actun in Yucatán province in Mexico. There, your guide will take you down into the network of underground caves and rivers for a boat ride and a walk. Look up to admire the gigantic limestone stalactites and stalagmites adorning the walls and marvel at the magnificent crystal-clear blue waters beneath you. Next, head to the dramatic clifftop village of Rocamadour, a UNESCO world heritage site, famous for its complex of religious buildings, and medieval houses. Enjoy free time here to see its splendid castle, churches, sanctuaries, and magnificent towers. Depending on when you arrive at the village, either enjoy a relaxed hilltop lunch (not included in the price of the tour) at one of the many restaurants offering stunning panoramic views of the Alzou Canyon beneath you or go on a walking tour of the village with your guide and learn about the rich history of the region.

Sarlat-la-Canéda: Cave and Castle Tour

4. Sarlat-la-Canéda: Cave and Castle Tour

Get in touch with your primeval nature as you discover some of the oldest relics of prehistory. Your tour begins with a thorough demonstration of techniques used by Paleolithic humans to make fire, to illuminate the dark caves in which they lived, and to paint.  After getting a taste of prehistoric life, you’ll head in to the chilly, dark caves to gaze upon cave paintings that date back over 30,000 years. Marvel at the evidence of a bygone culture that existed before civilization began. Wander through the caves, gazing at the veritable forests of stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.  After viewing the cave, you’ll discover a beautiful, hilltop medieval castle, before heading back to the meeting point, enriched by millennia of history.

From Bordeaux: Lascaux and Dordogne Valley Private Tour

5. From Bordeaux: Lascaux and Dordogne Valley Private Tour

See the famous prehistoric cave paintings and explore the Dordogne region with a private English-speaking driver-guide. Depart from Bordeaux, and drive about two hours east, into the heart of the Dordogne. The first visit is to the Grotte de Rouffignac, the cave of 1000 mammoths. For this visit you'll tale a ride on a small electric train deep into the cave to see some phenomenal drawings of horses, aurochs, bison, horned sheep and mammoths. Then head to Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the first five skeletons of Cro-Magnon, the earliest known examples of homo sapiens were found. This is a good place to stop for a quick lunch. Next, drive to Lascaux to see the incredible new Lascaux international center for cave art, a truly impressive place.

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What people are saying about Aquitaine

Mr. Benoit gave us and another couple an amazing tour with a lot of background info only a local guide would know. For example, Cro-Magnon man was so named because prehistoric bones were found on land owned by Mr. Magnon and cro is a term for a limestone hole in the local Occitan language. His English was fluent and he was friendly and helpful. For lunch he led us to a great restaurant and helped us get a good table.

Our guide was informative and friendly. It is a bit disappointing not to be able to see the "real" cave paintings, but certainly understandable. Great care has been taken to give a realistic simulation of the actual cave. An amazing morning. Would highly recommend.

Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. The cave was magical and the castle was ferric with amazing views.

Martin was an excellent guide. Very knowledgeable and very nice to spend time with.

The price was exorbitant. Mitigated by excellent guide.