A few weeks ago, my husband and I visited Lascaux Cave, a well-known Paleolithic cave in southwestern France. Many of you have seen illustrations like the one below – one of about 600 cave paintings at Lascaux with another 1400 or so engravings dating to somewhere between 17,000 and 15,000 BCE.
Actually one cannot enter the real Lascaux Cave, which was designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1979. Discovered in 1940, it was opened to the public in 1948, but the 1200 visitors/day produced carbon dioxide, heat, humidity and contaminants that began to visibly damage the paintings. So it was closed to the public in 1963. The only people now allowed in the original cave are technicians/scientists who monitor the preservation of the site.
One can visit Lascaux II, opened in 1983, an exact replica of three of the halls of the cave. Or you can choose Lascaux IV, a high-tech digital, multimedia site that opened in 2016. We chose Lascaux II – wanting a more “authentic” experience. Continue reading