France has some of the most spectacular, prehistoric cave art in the world; it is certainly the most well known. It is, however, the caves located in the Dordogne area that are World famous, particularly Lascaux. But if you are heading to the PyrÃ©nÃ©es rather than the Dordogne, you are still in luck because there are some equally amazing sites that are open to the public there.
While you are in the PyrÃ©nÃ©es, the one site not to miss is the cave of Niaux. The above image is just a sample of some of the black images of horses and bison from the Stone Age. The site is open to the public, but for conservation reasons there is restricted access. Making a reservation is therefore essential. Besides some wonderful Palaeolithic imagery, there is also interesting graffiti from the 1700s. The cave has been studied by archaeologists since 1906. For the official website, with all the necessary information to reserve your visit, click here.
And after you have visited the cave, there is also a Parc de la PrÃ©histoire – a prehistory theme park that reconstructs the lives of the people who made the paintings. And on-site museum has reproductions of paintings from Niaux as well as other caves in the area that are not open to the public. The prehistory park is a great place to take the children: there is a dedicated picnic area close to a children’s play area.
For 2010, from April until the end of November to be precise, the Park has curated a temporary exhibition, entitled ‘The art of origins, the origins of art.’