Les Eyzies travel guide

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Visit Les Eyzies (Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France)

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Les Eyzies is a village in the heart of the Vezere Valley (in the centre of the Dordogne) and within easy access of a great number of prehistoric caves and drawings and remnants. It is because of this, and the beauty of the surrounding natural environment, that the village is a very popular base for visitors exploring this unique region.

The cave-lined Vézère Valley, occupied since prehistory, has now been classified in its entirety as a heritage site by UNESCO.  Les Eyzies is often described as the 'world capital of prehistory.

Explore Les-Eyzies-de-Tayac

France This Way review: Les Eyzies is at the heart of a very beautiful region of France and as well as the prehistoric monuments there are numerous cliff and rock formations, surrounded by rivers, hills and tranquil countryside to explore in the vicinity.

The village of Les Eyzies is a small Dordogne village with typical golden stone houses and a stunning position under a deep overhanging cliff and next to a river. Because of its location at the heart of the prehistoric sites of the Vezere Valley, Les-Eyzies receives over one million visitors a year.

centre of Les Eyzies village

The village itself spreads out along the sides of the road along the Vezere valley with the river on one side and the imposing cliff on the other. The main centre of the village has a range of shops, restaurants and bars making it a suitable centre for exploring the area.

Les-Eyzies has a number of important sites to visit itself. Directly behind the main road is the Musée National de Préhistoire which gives an excellent background to the prehistoric activity of the area and contains skeletons and objects found in various prehistoric shelters in the area.

The National Prehistory Museum houses one of the world’s most complete collections of prehistoric artifacts.

The chateau that you can see nestled into the cliff face is a part of the museum though its collection is now housed in a modern, purpose built building. The iconic statue of the Primitive Man that stands above the village stands on the terrace of the museum.

Close to the museum is the Pole International de la Prehistoire which is free to visit and also contains lots of information about the prehistoric period.

Along from the museum take a walk along the charming Rue du Moyen Age which runs above the main road and the river and has a number of small cottagey houses tucked under the overhanging rock.

Along here is also the Abri Pataud which is a prehistoric shelter. Specifically it is a Cro-Magnon shelter that is one of the oldest in Europe dating from almost 40,000 years ago

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At the edge of the village is the beautiful Cro Magnon hotel and the Abri Cro-Magnon. The Abri Cro-Magnon here at Les Eyzies is where 'Cro Magnon man' was first discovered, when several skeletons were found towards the end of the 19th century.

Cro Magnon Man is the oldest anatomically modern human and so was an incredibly important discovery. The shelter has now been opened to the public along with an information centre.

Interestingly in the 200 meters between the Abri Pataud and the Abri Cro-Magnon 14 Cro-Magnon skeletons of adults and childrens skeletons have been found and this is the largest concentration of remains of prehistoric man in the world.

Also to look out for in Les-Eyzies-de-Tayac is the moulin on the little stream called la Beune on the east of the village. This occupies a very pretty spot.

Rue du Moyen Age in Les Eyzies

Attractions nearby

The cave at Font de Gaume is on the edge of the village of Les Eyzies and contains some of the oldest cave paintings in the world and the oldest where you can actually see the original paintings, rather than a copy.

The paintings are less dramatic than those at Lascaux but the knowledge that you are stood in the exact same place as the original artist gives these paintings a particular poignancy.

Also nearby is the Grotte du Grand Roc with its excellent display of stalactites and stalagmites and next to this the prehistoric shelter of Laugerie-Basse.

As well as Lascaux cave and Font-de-Gaume the cave system of the Grotte de Rouffignac, also know as the cave of a hundred mammoths, is well worth exploring.

In addition to the many caves and cliff settlements to visit in and around Les Eyzies, there are also a number of prehistoric parks in the region recreating life 10,000 years ago. Some are focussed more on childrens entertainment than historical accuracy!

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

See also: 

Photos of Les Eyzies

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  • chateau
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  • mairie
  • primitive-man
  • river
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Map of Les Eyzies and places nearby

 
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Visit near Les Eyzies with France This Way reviews

Musee National de Prehistoire

Musee National de Prehistoire

The Musee National de Prehistoire in Les Eyzies contains one of the most complete collections relating to prehistory in France.

Musee National de Prehistoire guide
The Abri Cro Magnon

The Abri Cro Magnon

The Abri Cro-Magnon is an information centre built at the site of the first discovery of Cro-Magnon man - our ancestors.

The Abri Cro Magnon guide
Font-de-Gaume

Font-de-Gaume

The caves at Font-de-Gaume are one of the last caves in France where the public can still see original cave paintings

Font-de-Gaume guide
The Grotte du Grand Roc

The Grotte du Grand Roc

The Grotte du Grand Roc is a beautiful natural cave system in the Dordogne.

The Grotte du Grand Roc guide
Laugerie-Basse

Laugerie-Basse

Laugerie Basse is a prehistoric shelter in the Vezere Valley in the Dordogne

Laugerie-Basse guide
Campagne

Campagne

Campagne is a pretty village with a splendid castle in the centre and lovely grounds with an attractive garden walk.

Campagne guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Dordogne

Address: Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, Vallée de l'Homme, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Aquitaine, 24620, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 44.936, longitude 1.018

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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

The French version of this page is at Les Eyzies (Francais)

 
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