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Report 1947: The Dordogne

By Winnick from Texas, Spring 2011

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Page 14 of 19: June 26 - St Cyprien, Les Eyzies de Tayac, Le Bugue, Font de Gaume Cave

photo by Mike Winnick

Les Eyzies de Tayac - Marie

Today we woke to beautiful sunny skies but the forecast was for hot weather, so we got an early start and drove about 20km from Sarlat to St. Cyprien for their big market. We browsed the streets and were able to take our time since the crowds had not yet arrived. It was still relatively cool but we knew it wouldn't last long.

We had planned to spend our day visiting Hautefort Castle, one of the biggest and best in the area, most of which is inside. We wanted to do something to stay out of the afternoon heat. On the way we drove by Font-de-Gaume cave and decided to see if we could get tickets. This is the best of the original pre-historic cave art in the world. We had not originally planned to see this cave since we had visited Pech Merle and Lascaux and it is low and narrow and given my claustrophobia was a little concerned but decided to try given the magnificence of the other caves we had seen. They limit the number of people to 100 per day to preserve the paintings. We lucked out and were able to get tickets for the 3pm English speaking tour with only nine people on our tour.

So instead of Hautefort we spent mid morning until lunch visiting the fabulous Pre-History museum in Les Eyzies de Tayac, a town just down the street from the cave after which we had a leisurely lunch and then a brief drive to the small town of Le Bugue passing Chateau de Cammarque.

Then to Font de Gaume. It was a very hot day and there is quite a climb to the cave entrance. We were glad for the cool reprieve of the cave. The cave tour lasted 45 minutes and it was a very powerfully moving experience to see this original artwork from 17-20,000 years ago, mostly paintings of bison and some reindeer. We have visited several caves now and they all offer something special and different but this one was Michaelís favorite.

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