Fast Facts

  • Location: In southwestern France
  • Attraction Type: Cave Paintings
  • Significance: Cave paintings dating back to 40,000 BC
  • Best Time to visit: May to October
  • Visiting Hours: Daytime
  • How to Reach: By train to Condat-Le-Lardin Station and then by road; alternatively by road from all France cities
  • Nearest Airport: Perigueux Bassillac Airport

Lascaux cave paintings represent a virtual revolution in art form during the Upper Paleolithic period in Europe. From around 40,000 BC, paintings started to be used as forms of human expression. These initial creations of art were broadly classified into ‘parietal’ and ‘mobility’ forms, the former being represented in cave walls and ceilings and the latter in portable objects. The cave paintings of Lascaux are exceptional representations of ‘parietal’ art and are expressions of human intellectual accomplishments.

The caves of Lascaux where the paintings have been discovered were most likely used for worshiping or performance of rites rather than for shelters. Most of these paintings are profiles of animals in the alert. Animals that were either hunted like deer, bison, or feared like a lion, bear, and wolves were drawn. Portraits of horse, ibex, mammoth, and aurochs have also been discovered. These animal figures are shown in a twisted perspective with their torso from side and heads in profile with their both antlers and horns visible. It is interesting to note that only one human image has been found in the Lascaux caves. Images of plants and trees are noticeably missing.

Apart from painted images, Lascaux caves in France are rich with animal engravings and abstract designs. The use of violet, brown, yellow, black and red colors is unimaginable. What is more intriguing is the use of lamps for making these paintings as daylight was insufficient or altogether absent. The absence of brushes testifies the use of mats or hair tufts for making these paintings. It is amazing that these paintings, dating back to 40,000 BC, are still unspoiled and perfect. The surfaces of the paintings and engravings appear to be smeared by paint blown through hollow bones, which have been discovered here.

Touring Lascaux
Lascaux caves are to be toured from Dordogne in southern France. For putting up you might select from La Tour de Cause B & B, Les Cybeles, Residence Pierre & Vacances Belles Rives, and Le Grand Batard Farmhouse. While touring Lascaux, savor the local delicacies like ‘confit de canard’ or slow-roasted duck leg, ‘foie gras’ or fattened duck liver, ‘Pommes sarladaises’ or duck fat roasted potatoes, and ‘period’ a dessert.

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