Sunday, August 11, 2013

Caveman Day

The Dordogne region is home to prehistoric caves, many with prehistoric cave art.  We visited the Grotte de Rouffignac, a smaller cave about 40 minutes from Sarlat.  It contains over 250 engravings and cave paintings dating back to the Upper Paleolithic era.   During the Second World War the cave had served as a hide-out for the French R√©sistance. A little electric train took us about 2 km into the cave, where we saw paintings of mammoths, bisons, horses, and whoolly rhinoceroses.  There were also bear scratches on the walls, and burrows where the bears had hibernated.  It's amazing to think of people millions of years ago going into these dangerous, cold, narrow, pitch-black caves and making art.  No photos from inside the cave but here's a sample of the cave art from a French stamp:



After the cave, we stopped for lunch nearby at a roadside cafe, which involved jumping off things:


Then we went to the very well-done and sleek Pole International de la Prehistoire (Prehistory Welcome Center) in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac.  Notice the cave dwellings in the cliffs in the first photo:


Everything was in French, so we just played with the bones.

I love these chairs.
At the end of the day, Michael realized he lost his license somewhere.  The good people of the Rouffignac cave mailed it back to him in the US.

More photos (including Dordogne canoeing photos) are here.  (You have to scroll to the bottom).

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