The Dordogne: Places to Explore


Les Eyzies-de-Tayac

Sitting comfortably under a limestone cliff, Les Eyzies is the doorway to the prehistoric capital of France. Early Homo sapiens (the species to which humans belong) lived about 40,000 years ago and skeletal remains and other artifacts of this Aurignacian culture were first found here in 1868. Many signs of Cro-Magnon man have been discovered in this vicinity; a number of excavated caves and grottoes, some with wall paintings, are open for public viewing, including the Grotte-Font-de-Gamme, just south of the town, with very faint drawings to be seen on a tour, and the Grotte des Combarelles. Stop by the town tourist office for the lowdown on all the caves in the area—the office also sells tickets for most sites and you should reserve here because a surprising number of tours sell out in advance (sometimes only six people are allowed in a cave at any one time).

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