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Font de Gaume cave booked through September

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I have brought many groups to Font de Gaume cave, les Eyzies, and always made reservations by fax (and more recently email) with no problem. I have almost always had an English-speaking tour, recently led by a really passionate man, Jean-Marie, who made the visit a joy.

In late June 2012 I emailed for a reservation on Sept. 12 and received a form email saying all bookings were full for May-June-July-August-September. This was a disappointment but I'll take my group to Rouffignac instead.

It appears they may have reduced the number of allowed visitors per day, and allocated only some of this smaller number (36 out of 96) to advance reservations. The rest are sold from the ticket office each day. The office is open daily (except Saturday) starting at 9:30 a.m., and once the tickets are sold for that day, no more are available.

Here is the relevant part of the email:

Grotte de Font de Gaume

RESERVATIONS COMPLETES POUR LE MOIS DE MAI + JUIN +JUILLET+AOUT+SEPTEMBRE
RESERVATION FULLY BOOKED UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER

Entrées limitées à 96 personnes par jour pour maintenir le site ouvert au public (visites guidées de 12 personnes maximum)

Un quota de 36 places, par jour, est proposé en réservation (effectuer votre réservation le plus tôt possible) et vendu à l'avance.

basse saison : ( 9h50 FR, 11HGB et 15h45 FR )
haute saison (du 15 mai au 15 septembre) : ( 9h50 FR,11H GB et 14h45 FR )

Le solde est vendue, dés l'ouverture à 9:30, au guichet uniquement, pour une visite dans la journée, dans la limite des places disponibles.

The moral – get your Font de Gaume reservations as far in advance as they will allow you.

You can email fontdegaume@monuments-nationaux or call, if you're brave and fluent, +33 (0)5 53 06 86 00.

I'd be curious if any Fodorites have been to Font de Gaume recently and have had success with this apparently new and restrictive policy. I think it's as St. Cirq said on a different posting, rumors continue to fly that the French government will shut down Font de Gaume to tourist visits altogether. I think it could happen any time.

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