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La-Roque-Saint-Christophe visitor guide

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Visit La-Roque-Saint-Christophe, France

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The cave system at La Roque-Saint-Christophe is a large prehistoric settlement complex situated about nine kilometres north of Les Eyzies, on the south bank of the Vezere River, in a very scenic and attractive location. La Roque-St-Christophe is the largest settlement of its type in Europe.

Note: the scenery in the wooded Vezere valley is almost as much a highlight here as the ancient settlements!

Discover La Roque-Saint-Christophe

La Roque-Saint-Christophe is an extensive series of caves that have been carved out of a soft limestone cliff, initially by the action of the river then with further excavations by prehistoric man.

The cliff is almost a kilometre in length and 80 metres high and contained an entire prehistoric village above the river itself. It was approximately 55,000 years ago that man first started to inhabit these natural caves.

Working machines reconstructed in La Roque-Saint-Christophe

It was from the 6th - 16th centuries that the cliff also became developed as a village, with numerous buildings and fortifications backing onto the cliff. It seems likely that the village was occupied continuously during this entire period, until it was finally abandoned in 1588 during the Wars of Religion.

When you visit La Roque-Saint-Christophe you can now see numerous remnants of the dwellings that once covered this section of the cliff, and the steps and passages that linked the buildings. The caves often had front walls added to make the accommodation more sheltered and safer from attack.

There are also various reconstructions at the site, showing the dwellings as they would have been such as the kitchen utensils and sleeping arrangements, the types of tools used during their construction, and explaining the way of life of the inhabitants. Many of the methods of construction are quite advanced, including winches to lift large rocks up the cliff face and scaffold structures allowing access to more of the cliff.


By the middle ages the 'town' included all the commerces that you would expect to find such as shops, areas for raising animals, a forge and a bread oven. Although we can see remains of these it is not easy to imagine this peaceful riverside location at La Roque-Saint-Christophe as a thriving town!

You can also learn the fascinating the history of the fort that was built up the cliff in the 10th century, and the treasure that was abandoned by the English that might just still be hidden somewhere in the cave system.

Reconstruction of a prehistoric house

Attractions nearby

The cliff village at La Roque-Saint-Christophe is just one of several prehistoric settlements in this region: discover the other main sites in our Vézère valley guide as well as other prehistoric sites in France.

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

See also: 

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Map of La-Roque-Saint-Christophe and places nearby


Visit near La-Roque-Saint-Christophe with France This Way reviews



In the heart of the UNESCO listed Vézère Valley, the village of Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère is one of the loveliest in the Dordogne

Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere guide


The village of Plazac is very small but well worth exploring, and well placed to discover many local highlights

Plazac guide
Chateau de Commarque

Chateau de Commarque

The Chateau de Commarque is an imposing ruined castle that was 'found' in the forest and has now been cleared and opened to the public.

Chateau de Commarque guide
Chateau de Losse

Chateau de Losse

Close to Montignac, the Chateau de Losse is an interesting castle that also has very pretty gardens

Chateau de Losse guide


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

Laugerie-Basse guide


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

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

The French version of this page is at La-Roque-Saint-Christophe (Francais)

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