There are now direct flights to Bergerac & Brive from no less than ten UK cities, which means you can be in the heart of the Dordogne Valley in as little as an hour and a half.
If you’re unfamiliar with this part of South West France, it’s where families can swim in France’s cleanest river; gaze on the world’s most important collection of prehistoric cave art; sail through the second largest underground grotto in Europe; visit France’s most beautiful villages, and all before they even get started on the list of immense medieval châteaux and world famous gardens.
In fact there’s such a lot packed in to the Dordogne Valley you could probably use a bit of expert advice. So here’s a quick rundown of the top must-see attractions handpicked by Dordogne Valley Travel to help out with your holiday plans. And fast, easy flights to the Dordogne Valley, you already know about.
In 1940 a French teenager stumbled upon the entrance to a cave just outside the little town of Montignac in the Dordogne Valley. Today that cave is a UNESCO World Heritage site and considered to contain the finest collection of prehistoric wall paintings in the world, created over 19 millennia ago by several generations of artists.
The original cave’s fragile condition means it hasn’t been open to the public since 1963. However, there’s a remarkably authentic reproduction at the Lascaux Parietal Art International Centre for Cave Art in nearby Montignac. The name of the centre might sound stuffy, but the 200m long replica of Lascaux is astonishingly atmospheric – designers have even emulated the prehistoric cave’s exact acoustics, lighting and sensation of chilly, subterranean damp.
The real stars are the paintings of course, and they’ve been reproduced flawlessly right down to the texture of paint on rough stone and the earthy tones of the original organic pigments. The entire experience is so immersive, kids quickly forget the cave isn’t the real deal.
Once you’ve toured the art, go round the Centre itself and discover all that’s known to date about the prehistoric lives of Lascaux’s original artists.