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Sarlat-la-Canéda Outdoor activities

Our most recommended Sarlat-la-Canéda Outdoor activities

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: Half-Day Skip-the-Line Lascaux IV Tour

2. Sarlat: Half-Day Skip-the-Line Lascaux IV Tour

Discover the brand new Lascaux IV International Center of Parietal Art. The museum itself is a triumph of modern technology: unlike any other cave visits, Lascaux 4 employs different set designs, displays, state-of-the-art interactive workshops and immersive technology to bring it to life. For the very first time, all of Lascaux Cave will be revealed. This new center features an interactive gallery experience that blends art, history, and culture with intelligence and sensitivity. At the heart of the experience, you will discover a life-size, state-of-the-art facsimile cave that reveals the wonders of Lascaux as they were first seen. In 2018, the museum was listed in Time Magazine’s "100 Greatest Places to Visit", saying “The Snohetta-designed complex features some 600 prehistoric paintings and 1,000 engravings, all painstakingly re-created by a team of two dozen artists working from physical castings and advanced 3D digital scans or the original artwork”. Following your visit and some time for personal discovery, the tour will also take you along the Vezere Valley, where you will stop in Les Eyzies and Saint Léon village.

Beynac & Domme villages - Dordogne boat ride

3. Beynac & Domme villages - Dordogne boat ride

Drive to the beautiful village of Domme. With its trapezoid city plan, Domme is a bastide (a fortified medieval town) adapted to the surrounding terrain, and thus falling short of the rectangular city plan characteristic to bastides. The village is classified as one of the "Plus Beaux Villages de France" ("The Most Beautiful Villages of France"). In 1307, Knight Templars were imprisoned in Domme while during the Hundred Years' War, the bastide was coveted by the English who first took the town in 1347 and repeatedly changed rulers throughout the war until 1437 when it finally fell under French rule again. Then drive to La Roque Gageac and enjoy a peaceful cruise on the the Dordogne River on board an authentic Gabarre to admire mighty castles that line the river. Finally, reach Beynac to admire the village and the Castle. This Middle Ages construction, with its austere appearance, is perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town and the north bank of the Dordogne River. The castle was built from the 12th century by the barons of Beynac (one of the four baronies of Périgord) to close the valley. The sheer cliff face being sufficient to discourage any assault from that side, the defences were built up on the plateau: double crenellated walls, double moats, one of which was a deepened natural ravine, double barbican.

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What people are saying about Sarlat-la-Canéda

We had a small group of 4 with our guide Benoit. Benoit provided good information about the area and he was very easy to understand. The amount of time spent in each of the 3 towns was just enough to get a feel for each small town. The river ride from La Roque-Gageac was pleasant, even though we had to take a different route due to too shallow water. I would definitely recommend this tour if you don't have a car in the Dordogne.

Communication was very good, with helpful information. Our guide was very punctual and proceeded to give us a comprehensive overview of the area’s history and prehistory with humor and relevant anecdotes. We were very comfortable with all aspects of this road tour. The river ride was less exciting for non-French speakers, but our headphones with taped commentary was satisfactory.

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!

Fantastic experience made possible by an outstanding local guide who clearly enjoys sharing his pre-history knowledge with English speaking visitors.

Benoit was an excellent and very personable guide!