Home to some of the most famous and best-preserved ancient cave paintings in the world, the Lascaux caves are an archeological marvel, hidden away in the Vézère Valley. While you won’t be able to visit the original UNESCO-listed cave—it’s closed to the public for preservation—you can take a guided tour of the spectacular Lascaux Caves II.
Visitors to the Lascaux Caves II can admire 600 finely recreated paintings, which took 20 artists over 11 years to complete. You’ll find them displayed in two galleries: the Great Hall of the Bulls (Salle des Taureaux) and the Axial Gallery (Diverticule Axial). Travelers frequently combine a Lascaux Caves visit with a visit to the nearby Rouffignac Cave or the National Prehistory Museum in Les Eyzies de Tayac.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Lascaux Caves II can only be visited as part of a guided tour and tour times vary throughout the year.
- The caves are not currently accessible to wheelchair users, but the Montignac-Lascaux International Centre for Cave Art is accessible.
How to Get There
The Lascaux Caves II can be found just south of Montignac village in the Dordogne region of France. There’s no public transportation to the cave, but it’s possible to take a taxi from Montignac.
When to Get There
The Lascaux Caves II are open all year round, but tours may be limited in the winter months, so it’s best to book in advance. In the peak summer season, opt for an early morning or late afternoon tour if you want to avoid the busiest periods.
The Mysteries of the Lascaux Caves
Discovered deep underground in 1940, the Lascaux Caves II had been sealed away from the world since the Paleolithic Age some 19,000 years ago. Inside its seven different subterranean halls, you’ll find free-flowing images of cows, bears, unicorns, bison, horses, mammoths, and human figures. While nobody knows the original purpose of the caves, theories suggest that they may have had religious significance, rather than being domestic dwellings, as no Stone Age tools or evidence of fire were ever found at the site.