Troglodytic villages around Les Eyzies

Feb 14th, 2013, 08:13 AM
  #1  
ESW
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Troglodytic villages around Les Eyzies

We have a week based at Borrèze. The list of things to do is getting longer and difficult decisions need to be made what to include and what to leave out...

There seem to be three Troglodytic sites to choose. I discounted Le Conqui as we are not interested in the Dinosaur Park or the tree top adventure courses.

This leaves La Roque St-Christophe or La Madeleine.

Which is the better to visit and will give us the better understanding of life in a troglodyte village?

We are also considering a visit to Chateau de Commarque. There is a mention of troglodytic buildings there but it isn't clear from the information just how extensive they are and how much you see. Can anyone offer any information?

Many thanks
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Feb 14th, 2013, 08:30 AM
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La Roque St-Christophe is the far better site. The Village Troglodytique de la Madeleine is good, but you really are left to figure it out on your own, and the landscape is much less impressive.

At the Château de Commarque there really are just the remains of a few tunnels and other traces of troglodyte colonization.

It's probably worth a close look at some of the exhibits in the Musée Préhistorique to get an idea of what you'll be seeing.
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Feb 14th, 2013, 08:39 AM
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It's interesting that only Belvès is quoted in this extensive article on troglodyte sites in France.

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitat_troglodytique
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Feb 14th, 2013, 09:33 AM
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I don't think I've ever seen the ones in Belvès. There are plenty right off the road in Les Eyzies. And there's a fairly big one you can hike to in the hills above St-Léon-sur-Vézere that's not even a commercial site. It just sits there, empty.
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Feb 14th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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And there's a fairly big one you can hike to in the hills above St-Léon-sur-Vézere that's not even a commercial site.

No more. It's a tacky "prehistoric" park with dinosaurs in the mix.

I think that the definition of troglodytic in the article suggests housing dug out of the rock, although they do mention a few structures built in overhangs. For that reason La Rqoue St. Christophe would not qualify as troglodytic except for one small section near the information center.
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Feb 14th, 2013, 11:41 AM
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<>

Are you talking about PrehistoParc, or do you really mean that wonderful "undiscovered" place that you hiked to by crossing the bridge in St-Léon-sur-Vézere, turning left, and climbing high up into the hills? The place with the ancient green door with the hole in it that you had to reach in and unlock from the inside...it's hard to imagine that being a tacky park, as there wouldn't be any way for cars to get there; it was hard enough for people!

I thought the same thing about La Roque St-Christophe, but besides the section near the info center, aren't there traces of an ancient fireplace up under the overhang?

I'll have to check out the Belvès site next time around.
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Feb 14th, 2013, 11:49 AM
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I am talking about turning left and walking into the hill, which leads to a fenced area at the top of the hill and then the path follows the fence to the river, arriving at the river almost opposite the church.
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Feb 14th, 2013, 12:01 PM
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I think we're talking about two different things. To get to the place I'm referring to you cross the bridge and turn left, so that you're walking on the opposite side of the river from the church. You follow the riverside path for quite a ways, and then it veers up steeply into the hill. At just about the crest of the hill there's a big rock structure on the right and a green door with a hole in it. You insert your hand in the hole, find the interior lock, and open the door. At which point you are in what I can best describe as a miniature Roque-St-Christophe. There's a sort of stone foyer, with a curved set of maybe 10-20 stone steps (very worn from traffic) that take you up to a fairly large space under an overhang. There's evidence of a fire pit, and the floor is uneven and smooth stone. There's no guardrail or anything to keep you from slipping over the edge.

If they've turned that area into some sort of park, someone moved a LOT of dirt and rock and must have actually built some sort of road. Not entirely impossible I suppose, as massive travaux take place all the time in the area. Just hard to imagine it.
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Feb 14th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Wow, lots to think about. Having read the descriptoion of the undiscovered site, tempting though it is, it may not be for me as I'm not sure whether my dodgy knees would be up to it.

I'd come across a fleeting reerence to the site at Belvès which I haven't had chance to check out yet.
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Feb 14th, 2013, 12:32 PM
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To get to the place I'm referring to you cross the bridge and turn left, so that you're walking on the opposite side of the river from the church. You follow the riverside path for quite a ways, and then it veers up steeply into the hill.

That's what I did, unless the walk up the hill is beyond the view of the chateau, as seen here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57623164797649
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Feb 15th, 2013, 07:44 AM
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It's way beyond the view of the château. I had to go out last night, but I'm researching it now. There are apparently almost a dozen abris and gisements on or around that hill, and I think we are talking about different ones. I have to look at a map, but I'm pretty sure if you keep walking a ways beyond the one I'm referring to, you end up at the northern end of the Castel-Merle site.
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Feb 15th, 2013, 08:38 AM
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Not near where you'll be staying but I remember seeing troglodyte dwellings very near Chinon. Some good pictures here to enjoy:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=169842
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Feb 15th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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I'll try again the next time I am in St. Léon.
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Feb 15th, 2013, 11:21 AM
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We visited La Vallee Troglodytique des Goupillieres near Azay le rideu last Septemeber and were fascinated by the site.

I've decided the logistics of finding St Cirq's undiscovered site are probably beyond us, so will stick to La Roque St-Christophe........................................ .............
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Feb 15th, 2013, 01:18 PM
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Scroll down this site until you get to the first picture of a green door - it looks almost exactly like that, except that that's not it - the entryway is too formal, and there IS no path leading up to the door at all, as far as I can remember:

http://www.blog-habitat-durable.com/...-58330776.html
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