With its network of underground caverns dotted with dramatic stalactites, stalagmites and draperies, the Pech Merle Cave is a remarkable feat of nature, but the natural wonder is most famous for its prehistoric rock art. Dating back to around 25,000BC, the cave’s fascinating artworks include drawings, paintings and etchings depicting humans, horses, mammoths, bulls and bears.
The impressively preserved images include a red hand stencil, a large red fish and a striking horse’s head, and archeologists estimate that the oldest date from the Gravettian era, while others date from the later Magdalenian culture (around 16,000BC). The cave is one of few of its kind in France open to the public and visitors can learn about the caves at the adjoining museum, before following a 2km long trail to explore the underground galleries.
The Pech Merle Cave is located close to the village of Cabrerets in the Lot Valley and is open from April to October, daily from 9.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 5pm. Adult admission is €11.