Caves, Caving and Ancient Cave Art In France's Dordogne Valley

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Caves, Caving and Ancient Cave Art In France's Dordogne Valley

Pre-historic cave painting in the Lascaux cave in Montignac, France in the Dordogne Valley

Caves, Caving and Ancient Cave Art In France's Dordogne Valley

Caves, Caving and Ancient Cave Art In France's Dordogne Valley

By Sylvia Arad

The Vezere Valley in the "Perigord Noir" of the Dordogne, with it's more than 250 UNESCO sites of interest and oldest cave paintings, is the undisputed "Prehistoric Capital of the World"

Steeped in history dating back more than 25,000 years, prehistoric man left fascinating paintings in caves all along the valley. The Romans also left their mark with the many bridges they built. The region later became the setting for the bitter Hundred Years War, which finally brought an end to 300 years of English rule in 1453. During this time, fortified villages and castles, which still dominate the landscape, were built here.

The region is famous for its caves and prehistoric cave drawings from approximately 10,000 to 30,000 years ago. Here limestone cave formations and towering cliff shelters eaten out by glaciers and underground rivers as long as 140 million years ago dot the horizon. Europe's most important prehistoric caves are situated here. The most important of these is the Lascaux Cave with nearly 2000 figures of prehistoric cave drawings. In this underground network, with constant temperature and humidity and isolation from light, the art has been very well preserved. Other exciting sites with cave drawings of animals include Font-de-Gaume, with drawings of bison, horses and deer; Combarelles, where Stone Age people left more than 300 engravings, and Cap Blanc, offering 14 animals gracefully sculptured in deep relief.

This is the place to appreciate some of France's finest medieval architecture, the fantastic geological formations of the Dordogne and great limestone cliffs and caves. The largest of these caves, the spectacular Gouffre de Padirac located near Gramat, is impressive on a large scale.. Approximately 99m around its rim and with a diameter of approximately 35m and a depth of 103m this astonishing cave system also contains a subterranean river that has been made partly navigable by boat. The descent into the cave can be made by lift, or for the more energetic, by stairs which lead to the subterranean stream, from which one can explore various underground caverns full of extraordinary rock formations by foot or by boat.

The Real Dordogne, with its well-kept secrets, its prehistoric dwellings, caves, rock shelters and more, is mostly accessible only on foot. Hiking in the prehistoric Vezere valley and exploring caves, troglodytes, shelters, underground caverns and lots more is an unforgettable experience for adults as well as kids.

The caves at Padirac are not far from Rocamadour. This quaint village, best known for its peerless cheese making, as well as the religious pilgrimages made each year by clerics and laypeople, never fails to make a visual impression. The exquisite natural setting and beautiful buildings have made Rocamadour France's second-most visited site after Mount St. Michael. Nestled on the side of a cliff on the Alzou River, Rocamadour's houses rise in stages on the side of a cliff. Coming upon the village suddenly, the magical view is breathtaking.

Famous for its cheese making, Rocamadour is known for its "cabecou of Rocamadour" cheese. Made from an ancient recipe that starts with goat's milk. this local delicacy results an exceptionally velvety, striated cheese that melts in the mouth. The town's religious roots are the source of its name and add to its charm. According to legend, St. Amadour, a witness to the martyrdom of St. Paul and St. Peter, traveled to the location and took up hermitage following his wife's death.

Sylvia is a trip consultant, planner and manager who creates unique intercultural adventures for families and loves to impart information,tips and personal experiences especially related to family adventure travel.


Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Sylvia_Arad/607087


Sylvia Arad

Sylvia is a trip consultant, planner and manager who creates unique intercultural adventures for families and loves to impart information, tips and personal experiences especially related to family adventure travel.

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