The Dordogne River Valley is a rich brew of natural and man-made beauty. Walnut orchards, tobacco plants, sunflowers, and cornfields carpet the valley, while stone fortresses patrol the cliffs above. The joys of the Dordogne include rock-sculpted villages, fertile farms surrounding I-should-retire-here cottages, memory-card-gobbling vistas, lazy canoe rides, and a local cuisine worth loosening your belt for. But its big draw is its amazing cache of prehistoric artifacts. Limestone caves decorated with prehistoric artwork litter the Dordogne region.
At a Glance
The Dordogne’s Prehistoric Sights
▲▲▲ Grotte de Font-de-Gaume Last prehistoric multicolored paintings open to public, with strict limits on the daily number of visitors allowed.
▲▲ Lascaux II Exact replica of the world’s most famous cave paintings.
▲▲ Grotte de Rouffignac Etchings and paintings of prehistoric creatures such as mammoths in a large cave accessible by little train.
▲▲ Grottes de Cougnac Oldest paintings (14,000–25,000 years old) open to public, showing rust-and-black ibex, mammoths, giant deer, and a few humans.
▲▲ Grotte du Pech Merle Brilliant cave art of mammoths, bison, and horses, plus Cro-Magnon footprint.
▲ National Museum of Prehistory More than 18,000 artifacts with good English explanations--good preparation for your cave visit.
▲ Abri du Cap Blanc 14,000-year-old carvings that use natural contours of cave to add dimension.
▲ La Roque St-Christophe Terraced cliff dwellings where prehistoric people lived.
Prehistory Welcome Center Free, good intro to region’s important prehistoric sites.