Sarlat-la-Canéda Culture & history

Our most recommended Sarlat-la-Canéda Culture & history

From Sarlat-la-Canéda: Lascaux IV and Cave Art Full-Day Tour

1. From Sarlat-la-Canéda: Lascaux IV and Cave Art Full-Day Tour

Dordogne is the world capital of prehistory. Here, Cro Magnon, the first early modern humans, settled and left some of the most fascinating artwork inside caves created by thousands of years of erosion. This 8-hour tour will take you to the most famous caves at Lascaux, and to admire the drawings and etchings of Rouffignac Cave. The tour begins at Les Eyzies de Tayac, where the first 5 skeletons of the Cro-Magnons were discovered in 1868. You will take a guided tour of the National Prehistory Museum, which opened in 2004, and possesses the largest collection of prehistoric artifacts in the world. Continue to Montignac, where you will visit the famous Lascaux IV Cave. A perfect reproduction of the original cave and its cave art, Lascaux IV opened in 2016 as a triumph of technology, unique in the world. Rigorous scientific and artistic methods were used to recreate the incomparable atmosphere of the original cave. A reinforced concrete shell was created using shipbuilding techniques, and the relief of the cave was reconstituted down to the tiniest detail. The polychromatic paintings were executed just as the originals were 17, 000 years ago, using natural pigments. End your tour at Rouffignac Cave, to see original etchings and drawings. The Renaissance poet and author François de Belleforest mentioned the Rouffignac Cave as long ago as 1575 in his “Cosmographie Universelle.” The cave paintings proved a popular tourist attraction back in the 19th-Century. Famous archaeologists, such as Henry Breuil, André Glory, and Martel, had visited the cave in the early 20th-Century, but it was only in 1956 that 2 historians from the Pyrenees confirmed the cave art as from the Upper Paleolithic period. Rouffignac Cave, which had once served as a shelter for Resistance fighters in World War 2, was officially opened to the public in 1959, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Sarlat-la-Canéda: Cave and Castle Tour

2. Sarlat-la-Canéda: Cave and Castle Tour

Get in touch with your primeval nature as you discover some of the oldest relics of prehistory. Your tour begins with a thorough demonstration of techniques used by Paleolithic humans to make fire, to illuminate the dark caves in which they lived, and to paint.  After getting a taste of prehistoric life, you’ll head in to the chilly, dark caves to gaze upon cave paintings that date back over 30,000 years. Marvel at the evidence of a bygone culture that existed before civilization began. Wander through the caves, gazing at the veritable forests of stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.  After viewing the cave, you’ll discover a beautiful, hilltop medieval castle, before heading back to the meeting point, enriched by millennia of history.

Bordeaux to Dordogne: Castles & Villages Private Tour

3. Bordeaux to Dordogne: Castles & Villages Private Tour

Enjoy a private full-day tour of Dordogne and discover the history of the King’s Musketeers, learn about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and visit prehistoric cave paintings. After the pick-up from your hotel in Bordeaux, Sarlat, Limoges, Toulouse, Agen Bergerac, or elsewhere nearby, you will head off on an exciting day filled with history, magnificent panoramic vistas, the finest gastronomy, and wine tasting. Whatever you desire can be incorporated into this private tailor-made tour. One of the places you can visit on this tour is Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, a lovely town which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site partly because of its proximity to the famous Lascaux Caverns and partly because of the newer site of Grottes de Cougnac. Here you can visit the caves and see the original art. Les Eyzies is also home to the National Prehistoric Museum. You also have the option of visiting Sarlat-la-Canéda, one of the most attractive and alluring medieval towns in south-western France. The town was developed around a large Benedictine abbey of Carolingian origin. Its town center of impeccably restored stone buildings – now a pedestrian zone – is perhaps the most representative of 14th century France. Discover another UNESCO World Heritage Site – Château de Rocamadour – perched up high on the side of a gorge of one of the Dordogne River’s tributaries, famous for its sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can also explore the Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, with magnificent views over the landscape. Among other castles you can visit is the Château de Beynac, one of the best preserved and best known castles in the Dordogne region. Its austere appearance perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town on the north bank of the Dordogne River over the sheer cliff face. It boasts double crenelated walls, double barbican, and double moats, one of which was a deepened natural ravine. Another castle to visit is the Château des Milandes, once the home of the Josephine Baker, an American dancer, singer, and actress who found fame in her adopted homeland of France. Josephine Baker and her husband renovated this beautiful castle, installing central heating, electricity, and running water. They lived here with 12 adopted children from 9 different nationalities to create what they tenderly call the “World Village”. You can also explore Domme, another typically charming Bastide village built on the cliffs overhanging the Dordogne River. It was here that many of the Kinghts Templar were imprisoned and you can still see some of their graffiti on the tower gates. Another option on this tour is to visit the Jardins de Marqueyssac, an amazing garden filled with topiary creation and a picturesque promenade with panoramic views over the Dordogne River. Visit the Eyrignac gardens, the French garden inspired by the 18th century Italian design. They were entirely modified into an English romantic garden in the 19th century. On this private tour you also have the possibility of visiting Chateau de Commarque, Chateau de Jumilhac, Monpazier, Puymartin, Eyrignac, Monbazillac, La Roque Gageac, Montfort, and Salignac.

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What people are saying about Sarlat-la-Canéda

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 102 reviews

This was a highlight of our trip to France and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. We were able to experience some history and places we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Our guide was friendly and knowledgeable and it was appreciated to have our tour in English, as all the regular tours given at the cave are in French. We were also able to have extra time to examine the drawings alone without being in the big tour group. All I can say is book this tour, you will not regret it.

We had an excellent all day tour with Benoit! He was very informative, made the historical aspects so interesting and he was very easy going and helpful to answer our many questions. He made the day most interesting and we have many great memories to take home. Highly recommend this tour!

Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. The cave was magical and the castle was ferric with amazing views.

Highly recommended. We had a spectacular time. Stopping in Sarlat for lunch is a must. Cristian explains a lot and very well.

Amazing!! Our guide did a fantastic job. Very kind man who was very inclusive for all participants.