A few days ago I was playing around on a travel quiz app on my phone (as you do) and a question came up asking ‘where were the first human drawings found?’ Usually being absolutely rubbish at questions like this I was shocked that I actually knew the answer, and to top it off I realised I hadn’t even blogged about it!
So inspired by my travel quiz app…. I present to you… Lascaux ii
Whilst driving from Spain back to the UK I scowled my Lonely Planet guide in search of cool things to see on route back to the homeland. There were two main tourist attractions that I discovered, relatively off the beaten track, and both remarkable. The first was Oradour Sur Glane, the tragic untouched world war ii site and the second was Lascaux ii.
Lascaux is a setting of caves in south west France, within which four teenagers discovered the oldest known human paintings in the world back in 1940. But this post isn’t about Lascaux, it’s about Lascaux ii… so what’s that all about you might wonder?
Well the caves were such a huge attraction that between 1948-1963 they received an average of 1200 visitors a day. It was wonderful to be able to show case the original paintings, but the Co2 from all of the visitors began to impact on the drawings and they were fading significantly. This resulted in the caves being closed to the public.
This then allowed for the paintings to be restored and a replica cave was then opened only 200m from the original. This was called Lascaux ii.
We were taken into the cave in small groups and given only a few minutes inside. Despite being a replica, we were still not allowed any bright lights on or any photography at all. I tried my best to take a sneaky peak and was quickly told off!
It was remarkable to think that these paleolithic cave paintings, estimated to be 17,300 years old, were right before me. I imagined what the artists must have looked like, what they might have been wearing and how different their lives would have been. It really was amazing.
The talk we had whilst inside the cave was also really interesting. They spoke of the paintings and how they looked like modern day animals, yet with minor differences. For example- look how short the horse’s legs are!
So that pretty much sums it up. There wasn’t anything else to see, no over the top gift shops, or restaurants or high rise hotels. It was a cave, set back away from the nearest town, surrounded by woodland. These are the kind of tourist attractions I love, no extreme commercialism, something unusual and unique.