Today was our last full day in Perigord and we saved the best for last. We timed our rise, breakfast and drive to be at the ticket window when it opened at 9:00am. We heard beforehand about crowds but were surprised to have no trouble getting tickets for the 10am tour in English.
Lascaux celebrated its 70th anniversary two years go, which is a funny statement when you consider that the cave paintings are 17,000 years old. The anniversary is of its discovery by four teenagers who were in the woods with their dog. The dog fell down a hole in some brush and when the boys realized it was an unknown cavern, came back with equipment to explore the cave.
They told a teacher about their discovery and the teacher contacted a well-known specialist in prehistoric man. It wasn’t hard to find such an expert, since Cro-Magnon man was found very close by in Les Eyzies. They had an amazing adventure and are now famous in France. Read more
Still tired from the previous day, we slept in a little more and got a late start to our next adventure, the Gouffre de Padirac (Cavern of Padirac). Located in the west of the Department of Lot, we were technically out of Perigord by a few kilometers where the land is less wooded and the valleys more open.
Arriving at Padirac, we knew we’d slept in too late as the line stretched across the parking lot and took nearly two hours to navigate. If the line made us question the value of the cavern, once we were inside the enormous chasm, we were glad we suffered the wait.
The initial chasm is nearly 35 m across (115 ft) and drops 75 m straight down. From there the cave system begins. While we were only allowed to travel 2 km (l.2 miles) underground, the entire system has been explored up to 15 km (9.3 miles). We used a combination of stairs, pathways and a section that we took by small boat to reach the end of the tourist section. Read more
Jeanne vacationed in Perigord with her family when she was a child and talked it about so often that we knew we had to go there together. With three weeks in Brittany this summer, we finally a stretch to spend a good amount of time in this region famous for its cave art, castles and food.
On the road
As always, we packed our lunches for the road trip and left her parents’ in the early morning. After heading down the familiar highway to Nantes, we took a turn to the south toward the world’s greatest wine region, Bordeaux.
Taking the tollway in France isn’t nearly as scenic, but with a trip of over 300 miles, it was a matter of practicality. We were in Bordeaux for lunch. Read more