28 novembre 2016

Lascaux – originally known as “the Sistine Chapel of Prehistory”

Lascaux Mural

Montignac is a small town about 40 minutes away from Les Milandes and is home to the world famous Lascaux cave situated in the centre of the Périgord Noir, birthplace of modern man.

Lascaux was discovered by four school boys in 1940. While out playing with their dog, one of them fell down the hole which opened up into a series of caves which had been plugged shut for thousands of years.
After much deliberation and secrecy, the boys finally decided to share their finding with the local school teacher, and thus Lascaux was born. Its history and fascination makes it one of France’s biggest tourist attractions.

After being opened to the public between 1948 and 1955, the entry of outside air and constant visits began to take its toll on the cave paintings hiding within, and it was noticed by experts that the contamination was damaging the paintings. If it continued, they would ultimately deteriorate to a point where they no longer existed. So in 1963, the decision was made to close the caves and seal them up again.
Today, only specialised scientists are given access to the ‘real’ caves to monitor the condition of the famous paintings lying within.

In the meantime Lascaux II was created and opened in 1983. This is a near perfect representation of two chambers of the caves and their paintings. The tour is fascinating and entertaining and has proved so successful that in 2012 Lascaux III was developed. This is a mobile reproduction which is travelling the world, currently stationed in Tokyo and bringing the caves to visitors all over the world.

This December sees the unveiling of Lascaux IV – Millions of Euros have been invested in the development of this site in Montignac which will be a representation of the entire cave system of the original Lascaux caves. It is forecast as being the most popular and successful tourist attraction in the future of France!