A visit to Lascaux IV

25 February 2017

Lascaux IV is open!

The inauguration ceremony took place on the 10th December in time for the official opening on the 15th.

In France, Lascaux IV is considered one of the major tourist sites and this status was confirmed by the presence of the French President, Francois Hollande, at the opening. It is rare for us to see presidents here in the Dordogne. Indeed, the last appearance by a French President in the Périgord Noir was by Nicholas Sarkozy in 2010. Interestingly, President Sarkozy visited the original caves to mark the 70th anniversary of their discovery. It just goes to show the importance of the history surrounding Lascaux.

Our visit to Lascaux IV

We were fortunate enough to be among the first to make a tour of Lascaux IV. We got to experience this new and exceptional site just prior to the public opening. What a great visit it was! We thought the original copy, Lascaux II was good (and that took 10 years of painstaking work by 20 artists), but this visit surpassed our expectations. The representation of the caves is like going back in time to the original discovery when a group of boys stumbled across them during the Second World War. (If you’re wondering about a Lascaux III, this was a mobile exhibition which moved around France.)

Anyway, back to the present and Lascaux IV which cost around 60 million euros to build. A guided visit is followed by access to a museum of different sections of the cave. There are also interactive displays, films and 3D visualisations. The reproduction cave paintings are incredible – testament to the amazing work of 25 specialists.

There’s so much to look at, watch, listen to and read that you really need to allow at least 2 hours for a visit. Add to this a very well-stocked gift shop and a restaurant café and you could happily spend half a day here.

Don’t forget to take a jumper (even in the height of summer). The cave is kept at the authentic temperature of the original caves, so it is chilly.

During the high season visitors are guided around the cave paintings in groups of around 30. In low season, you are able to wander through unaccompanied, so it’s worth bringing a torch.

Before or after a trip to Lascaux IV, a visit to the pretty market town of Montignac is well worthwhile. Montignac sits alongside the river Vézère. Enjoy a wander through streets packed with shops, cafes and restaurants selling local produce. If you’re feeling active you can canoe along the river. The town is only 45 minutes from Les Milandes and makes a lovely day out!