On the road
Population: 415,168 (2011)
Sub-prefectures: Bergerac, Nontron, Sarlat-la-Caneda.
Surface: 9,060 km2
Largest town: Perigueux (Pop: 30,000)
Economy: timber, tobacco, viticulture, tourism.
Specialities: duck (confit, foie gras), truffles, mushroom, tourin (soup), Sarlat potatoes. Wines of Bergerac, Monbazillac, Pecharmant.
Tourism: Pre-historical of Les Eyzies (caves of Lascaux and Rouffignac). Cathedral Saint-Front of Perigueux. Abbey of Cadouin.
Km 7 : Ginestet
Population : 825 hab.
Named after the broom (genet) that used to grow in the area, Ginestet has two churches and two cemeteries because of its fusion with Ste Foy des Vignes. Its hillsides, mixing woods with vineyards, offer splendid views.
Tour de France of the Monuments Nationaux
The Font-de-Gaume Cave at Les Eyzies-de-Tayac is one of the finest Palaeolithic sanctuaries in the world, and the only one with polychrome paintings that is still open to the public. The footpath leading to the cave runs 400 metres along a high ledge perched above a dry valley. The cave itself is 120 metres long with three side galleries.
It contains over 200 painted and engraved figures of bison, horses, mammoth and reindeer, as well as stylised human figures. They are laid out as compositions (friezes) or else as scenes (such as the confrontation with the reindeer). On the basis of stylistic comparison these artistic works are generally associated with the Magdalenian period (around 15,000 years BC).
Although people have always visited these caves, as indicated by the graffiti, the wall paintings were only officially discovered in 1901, a few days after those at Combarelles. The finders of the cave - Louis Capitan, Henri Breuil and Denis Peyrony - put forward arguments for wall art to be definitively recognised as art, after nearly a quarter century of controversy surrounding the caves of Altamira, Pair-Non-Pair and La Mouthe.
The cave has been listed as a historic monument since 1902 and was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. It belongs to the state and has been opened to visitors by the CMN. Three-dimensional digital imaging and restitution have recently been carried out and may be consulted on a special website
Centre des monuments nationaux - Grotte de Font-de-Gaume
4, avenue des Grottes
24620 Les Eyzies-de-Tayac
Tel. 05 53 06 86 00
Open every day except Saturday. Closed on 1 January, 1 May, 1 and 11 November, and 25 December
from 15 May to 15 September: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
from 16 September to 14 May: 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 pm and 2 pm to 5.30 pm
Full rate: €7.50
Reduced rate: €4.50
Adult groups (parties of over 20 people): €6.00
Under-18s (in a family group) / 18-25 year-olds (EU nationals and non-EU residents habitually living on French soil) / disabled people and their accompanying adult / jobseekers
Individual in-depth visits to the cave (maximum of four people) every day at 9.30 am during the off-peak season (from 12 November to 31 March), flat rate of €11.50 per person.
In order to conserve the paintings the number of visitors is limited to 80 per day. Tickets for the same day only are on sale at the site. No bookings are taken.
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