Sarlat, France is an amazing historical place. What can you see in Sarlat and Dordogne area? Visitors haven’t been admitted to the original cave complex at Lascaux since the 60s because of the damage caused by carbon dioxide and contaminants. But there’s no real drawback in opting for the next best thing at Lascaux II: The revered 17,000 year-old paintings have been reproduced down to the finest detail, using identical pigments and techniques to the Upper Palaeolithic originals. So it gives you a perfect sense of the wonder that must have been felt when the caves were discovered in 1940. You will enter in groups of 40 and will be talked through the images on a multi-lingual tour.
Place des Oies is where you can see the life-size bronze statue of three geese that seems to appear on every postcard of Sarlat; birds that have served as a delicacy for many Salardais over the centuries. Meanwhile, on Place de la Liberte, many visitors might experience a feeling of deja vu, as this iconic square has often served as a backdrop for films.
Vintage gas lamps cast a golden glow on the medieval streets of Sarlat-la-Caneda after dark, creating a mellowness that’s absent by day. From the cathedral on place du Peyrou, follow rue de la Liberte to the gracious central square, place de la Liberte, framed with elegant mansions, the town hall and cafe terraces. Sarlat’s gracious central square is framed with elegant mansions, the town hall and cafe terraces. The food market, famously at home in the Gothic church of Sainte Marie, bursts into action every morning at 8.30am on place de la Liberte’s northern end. Ride the lift inside for a round-the-clock panorama of ginger-red rooftops and countryside beyond. It is an extraordinary tale. Teenage boys stumbled upon this monumental work of prehistoric rock art (lascaux.culture.fr), buried in the Vezere Valley, while out with their dog in 1940. Eight years later the cave opened to visitors. By 1960 up to 2,000 people a day were pouring in as the first deadly stains of green algae appeared on its walls. Three years later the original was shut. Lascaux II, the replica, opened in 1983 – and it astonishes me how powerful a copy can be. Visits by guided tour – it’s chilly, bring a jumper – take in the two galleries faithfully mirroring the prehistoric menagerie blazed across the rock by man 17,000 years ago.
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