When Lascaux shuts its doors to visitors in 1963, a crazy project to reconstruct an identical version so as not to deprive visitors of the chance to discover this glorious World Heritage Site, was embarked upon.
The Most-Visited Cave Paintings in the World!
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Vézère valley in the Dordogne is redolent with prehistoric sites, boasting no fewer than 147 deposits and 25 caves decorated with cave paintings, including the famous Lascaux Cave at Montignac.
In 1983, Lascaux II opened for the visit and will be the first cave facsimile in the world, which will take over the two most famous galleries: the Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Diverticulum, reproduced identically with impressive precision. Located a few hundred meters from the original cave, Lascaux II now welcomes you for a thorough visit, closer to the original cave.
Delve into the Heart of the Cave!
- 1 The original Cave
- 2 Ticket Office / Shop
- 3 Entrance to Lascaux II
- 4 Discovery Trail
Discovery of 1940
In September 1940, a young man named Marcel Ravidat discovered a cavity in a Lascaux hillside and four days later, accompanied by his friends, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agniel and Simon Coencas, he slipped down into a cave where the four teenagers discovered numerous cave paintings.
Maurice Thaon, under the direction of Abbé Breuil – a teacher at the Collège de France and a specialist in parietal art - undertook the first drawings and sketches of the cave walls. Lascaux Cave was opened to the public as early as 1948. From the very beginning it met with an unprecedented success from tourists although, unfortunately, this was not without negative consequences as the emissions of carbon dioxide rapidly began to affect the fragile cave art. In order to conserve the works of art, André Malraux, then Minister of Culture, set up a scientific commission to study Lascaux which led to its closure on 18th April 1963.
Lascaux II is Born
The visit starts within the protected Lascaux hillside ‘sanctuary’ in front of the original cave. The guide will take you to Lascaux II where, in a small group, you will discover the power and intimacy of the replica. Alone in the cave, you will have the time to fully appreciate the sheer force of Lascaux by situating this masterpiece within the context of prehistory, the evolution of mankind and the history of tool-making. Away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, in an intimate ambiance, one cannot help but be conscious of the privilege of visiting this extraordinary cave.My Tickets
Work was undertaken during the winter break so as to be able to receive visitors in ever-better conditions always, of course, with due respect to the conservation of the hillside, the surrounding woods and the original cave.My Tickets
The carpark has been redone, the signposting and the shop are currently being updated and steps have been built for ease of access from the carpark.
Updates have been made in the two museum areas which lead to the cave: the blacklight on the engraved panel, new lighting for a cross section of the cave and a new backlit map of the cave.My Tickets
And, obviously the unmissable, staple elements which make the new formula, “Lascaux II: In-depth Visit”, so successful:
- A visit lasting 1h15 with a walk through the woods to see the entrance of the original cave.
- Imitation torchlight
- An in-depth 30-minute visit of the Hall of Bulls and the Axial Gallery which means that the description can be very detailed and there is time to talk about cave art in some considerable depth.
Everyone is given the time to fully appreciate the sheer force of Lascaux by situating this masterpiece within the context of prehistory, the evolution of mankind and the history of tool-making and there is always the possibility of further discussion with the guides, who are invariably keen to share their knowledge, after the visit.
Participants limited to a maximum of 30.My Tickets