The Lascaux Caves have been discovered on 12 September, 1940, by four teenager friends . After the end of World War II in the year 1955 the access to the caves by the general public became quite easier. In the year 1955 around 1200 tourists visited the cave in a single day and thus the carbon dioxide produced by them created damage to the paintings in the cave. The damage was easily visible. In the year 1963 the cave was been closed for the public to visit as to preserve the art work of the cave . A copy was created nearby so that visitors to Lascaux could still appreciate the caves . Known as Lascaux II, the ‘reproduction’ caves are a copy of most of the prehistoric paintings contained in the original Lascaux caves, 200 metres away. Ongoing attempts to restore and preserve the original paintings continue, as they have for decades, but it seems unlikely the original Lascaux paintings will be open to the public anytime soon, and probably never. The original cave is now a hermetically sealed environment where none but a few scientists can enter, and is a UNESCO World heritage site.
The world famous caves at Lascaux are found near Montignac, 30km north of Sarlat. The paintings in Lascaux caves date from the period around 17,000 years ago, althought he caves were occupied for a long period – perhaps 6000 years in total – during the Magdelene period.
The cave paintings at Lascaux are mostly pictures of large animals. There are also some carvings of animals to be seen. In total there are more than 1000 images in the cave system. There are also a few images of people, most notably in a sequence that seems to represent a bison hunt.
Perhaps most interesting of all, they include the ‘auroch’, an early relative of the ox that is now extinct. It is believed that the Auroch was a sacred beast in prehistoric times. Another curiosity is the painting of a creature with two long straight horns, not identified as a real animal and known as the licorne.
The Great Hall of the Bulls is the most popular section of the cave. In this hall the equines, stags as well as the bulls are depicted. The most dominant painting among the 36 animals paintings made here is the huge painting of the four black bulls. The huge animal which is been discovered in the cave in the 5.2m long bull. Moreover after having a look at the paintings of the bull you will feel that the bulls are in motion.
The best time of the year to visit the cave is in between July and August. The atmosphere is quite temperate during this time. The entrance fees may vary but will not be higher than 10 euros . [Sources: www.theearthtraveler.com,www.francethisway.com]