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“prehistoric art in spectacular caves”

Grotte du Pech-Merle
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US$179.66*
and up
Pech Merle Cave and Saint Cirq Lapopie Village Visit from Sarlat
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Cabrerets
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: One of the world's finest painted prehistoric caves.
Reviewed 25 April 2014

A good one hour tour though if you do not speak French you will miss a lot unless you join the once a day guided tour in English.

1  Thank sophie83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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209 - 213 of 1,000 reviews

Reviewed 24 January 2014

Since I had first learned of Lascaux I have longed to see it but never thought it would be possible. Of course, it is not possible now since you can only see the excellent reproduction. Having now seen both, I believe I like Peche-Merle more.

We visited Grotte du Peche-Merle and were lucky to have an English-speaking guide. The cave is fantastic and I would definitely stand in a long line to see it again. We reserved tickets online but at the time of year when we went, October, it would have been possible to walk in and buy tickets that day. Not so in the summer. You must go with a guide. There is, I believe, one English tour a day. Our guide was very knowledgeable and patient. He made sure everyone was able to see each picture. He answered all our questions. What I liked was that he did not try to make up stories of the paintings and the painters. He very honestly explained that what he was telling us were theories and that there are many unanswered questions. It made me want to learn more on my own. Highly recommended and worth a special trip while it is still open to the public.

2  Thank blackdog71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2013

This is the real thing. 26,000 year old paintings by Cro-Magnon man. Worth trying to get a tour in English - most are given only in French, but most of the fun is in the eye of the beholder. Better a French guide than no tour - you cannot visit in self guided fashion. Remember, this is a cave with lots of steps. Those with impaired mobility might well find it impossible to navigate. Also it is a good idea to phone ahead and check on available tour times. When visitors are few at the end of the season the staff takes a couple of hours off for lunch.

2  Thank pealringer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2013

For anyone disappointed by the vague scratchings at the Font de Gaume this prehistoric site may be more satisfactory, with its lack of queues and good, clear rock art.
Pech-Merle is also more atmospheric and feels much more "lived-in".
It is just a short trip from St Cirq Lapopie, a superb Plus Beau Village, and the moody ruins and dramatic setting of Marcilhac sur Cele.

2  Thank BaronVonCount
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 November 2013

A visit to the Pech-Merle cave, along with the cave at Font-de-Gaume, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

It's better than "if you're in the area, don't miss it." It's more a bucket-list thing. Both Pech-Merle and Font-de-Gaume are among the very few cave galleries in France that are still open to the public.

One thing about Pech-Merle, compared with other caves: It's huge. A visitor suffering with claustrophobia will most likely feel OK in each of the seven large chambers that are open. There are the usual vividly polychromed suspects: bison, raindeer, woolly mammoth, horses.

Many of the paintings are three dimensional, as the painter(s) used the contours of the cave wall to indicate breadth and depth, and used natural pits in the walls to locate animal eyes.

And there are things that you won't see in Font-de-Gaume: white horses, spotted black (like American Appaloosas), and negative paintings of human hands, made by planting one's hand against a wall and blowing ochre dust, rich in iron oxide, around the outline.

A visit to Pech-Merle (and to Font-de-Gaume, as well) allows you to see the almost unimaginable: the dawn of human creativity.

One drawback at Pech-Merle: The cave is so large that visitors in large groups are allowed (I was one among more than two dozen); thus, if you are not positioned near your tour guide, chances are that you will miss out on the narrative.

Reservations to Pech-Merle can be made online.

4  Thank peterportez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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