2 Best Sights in Lascaux, The Dordogne

Château de Losse

Fodor's choice

There are more grandiose castles in France, but few can offer a more intimate a look at how 16th-century nobles lived than the Château de Losse. Built in 1576 on the site of the family's original 11th-century stronghold, the graceful Renaissance-style structure retains the furnishings, artwork, and other authentic trappings of daily life during the Wars of Religion. The beautiful wooded grounds and extraordinary gardens—winner of the Institute de France's Art of the Garden award—overlooking the Vézère River make for a lovely stroll, and a charming café with a grassy terrace is the perfect place for a gourmet lunch. Although tours of the interior are offered only in French, a detailed text and audio guide in English is provided.

Lascaux Cave

Fodor's choice

In 1940, four schoolchildren looking for their dog discovered hundreds of wall paintings in this cave just south of Montignac; the paintings of horses, cows, black bulls, and unicorns were determined to be thousands of years old, making the cave famous and attracting throngs of visitors to the site. Over time, the original Lascaux cave paintings began to deteriorate due to the carbon dioxide exhaled by thousands of visitors. To make the mysterious paintings accessible to the general public, the French authorities spent 12 years perfecting a facsimile, duplicating every aspect of two of its main caverns to create Lascaux II. In 2017, Lascaux IV, the most complete replica to date, opened within a sophisticated new complex—the International Center for Cave Art—that incorporates the latest technologies, including virtual reality, 3D cinema, and digital tablets, for a totally immersive experience. Painted in black, purple, red, and yellow, the powerful images of stags, bison, and oxen are brought to life by the curve of the stone walls under flickering "torchlight," and even the precise humidity and muffled sound. Unlike other caves marked with authentic prehistoric art, Lascaux IV is completely geared toward visitors and literally takes you back in time from the point of view of the original discoverers, archaeologists, and prehistorians. There are several ticketing options, which can include the Parc du Thot, Le Grand Roc Cave, and the Laugerie-Basse Rock, or Lascaux IV. This is one of the most visited sites in the Dordogne and in summer tickets are at a premium.

Tickets sell out quickly, especially in summer; so reserve tickets online up to a day before your visit or at the center on the day of your visit, and arrive early.