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Le Moustier travel guide

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Le Moustier is a small village in the Dordogne near to Les Eyzies. It is the home to two prehistoric shelters which contained important discoveries.

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France this Way comment: Le Moustier is a small but pretty village and is home to two prehistoric shelters. There is not much to see now in the shelters especially compared to the wealth of prehistoric sites in the area but they are of historical significance.

The centre of Le Moustier is made up of some elegant houses and the church which dates back to the 12th century. The church is built in Romanesque style and unusually has not been built with an east-west orientation but is east-southeast to west-northwest.

Le Moustier

The church has a flat bell tower which are unusual but there are a number in the Perigord region of France. At the bottom of the belltower-wall is a funeral niche.

The roof of the church is covered in lauzes (flat stones). These lauze roofs were once very common but the weight of these roofs and the lack of expertise to repair them means they are becoming quite rare.

Prehistoric shelters of Le-Moustier

In the centre of the village on the opposite side of the road to the church is the 'Abri inferieur de Le Moustier'. In this shelter the skeleton of an adolescent neanderthal man was found. This is known as Le Moustier 1.

The skeleton was sold to a museum in Berlin where sadly all but the skull was damaged in the war. Botched attempts to preserve the skull mean this has been largely destroyed now but it is on display in the Neues Museum in Berlin.

The later discovery of the skeleton of a neanderthal baby, known as Le Moustier 2, in a burial hole in the shelter was very exciting. The skeleton was thought to have been sent to Paris and lost but during a survey of the items at the museum of Prehistoire at Les Eyzies the skeleton was found.

It is one of the most complete and best preserved neanderthal skeletons in the world and is on display at the Musée de Prehistoire in nearby Les Eyzies.

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In the 'Abri superieure de Le Moustier' various tools were excavated which gave the name of "Moustierien" to the tool set and associated culture of this period.

There is not a lot to see now in the shelters but because of their historic significance you can arrange to visit them through the office of the Grotte de Font de Gaume.

In the woods above the village of Le-Moustier is the Dhagpo Kagyu Ling Buddist Centre which is one of the largest and most important in Europe. 

prehistoric shelter at Le Moustier

Attractions nearby

Les Eyzies is at the centre of the prehistoric sites in the area. The Vezere valley is so rich in prehistoric caves and shelters that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Font de Gaume caves are one of the few caves still open with to visit the original prehistoric paintings.

Lascaux caves may be a copy but the copy is so well done you will think you are in the original cave and the prehistoric paintings at Lascaux are simply stunning.

You can find more travel ideas in the Dordogne guide and the Aquitaine guide.

See also: 

Photos of Le Moustier

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Address: Peyzac-le-Moustier, Montignac, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Aquitaine, 24620, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 44.9916, longitude 1.0797

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The French version of this page is at Le Moustier (Francais)

 
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