Paysage Périgord Dordogne

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A land, a world

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A land, a world

Vallée de la Vézère

Valley of humankind

The Vézère river valley is a magical place. That is no doubt what drew people to settle there 400,000 years ago – and what has kept them there ever since. Around this whimsical and, on occasion, unruly river meandering through gargantuan cliffs you will find a few of the best-known and most amazing prehistoric sites you will ever see. This valley is listed UNESCO heritage and the artistic treasures it holds in store warrant more than a short stopover.

Lascaux, a cave concealing painted galleries in Montignac, was discovered pretty much by accident in 1940, by four young boys (thanks to Robot, their dog). Father Breuil, an abbot who laid the early foundations of the science of humankind’s origins, named it “Prehistory’s Sistine Chapel”. The original cave has been closed to the public, but a replica (“Lascaux II”) shows visitors the talent of our distant ancestors. Downstream, at Les Eyzies, you will find the National Prehistory Museum, which will inform and guide visitors to the many caves and shelters that reveal their secrets.

In this valley where man has existed since he discovered it, you can wander around the village Moustier, where lies the setting for the magnificent cave-dwellers’ fort of La Roque Saint-Christophe, protected by a steep cliff. Terrasson, and its ‘Jardins de l’Imaginaire’ provide ideal locations for a meditative stroll along the Vézère river banks.The last mention goes to the writer Eugène Le Roy, author of “Jacquou le Croquant” who summarises the atmosphere of this valley and soulful land so beautifully: “The secret of happiness is to find its rightful place”.