Discover Paléosite France

In July 1979, the ground shifted in the world of palaeontology, as a tremor too violent for the Richter scale shook specialists in human evolution... 'Pierrette' had just been found in Saint Césaire!
Thirty-five thousand years after her death, this female hominid came onto the scene as a missing link, calling into question a number of certainties on the theory of succession of Neanderthal man, the modern man of western Europe.
It was a revolutionary discovery and is showcased exceptionally well here.
With backing from important members of the scientific community and major international specialists in Neanderthal man (including Yves Coppens), Paléosite is a 25 acre site with 2,000m² of building space given over entirely to the prehistoric era.
This centre of prehistory uses the latest modern technological tools to enhance its image processing, special effects, and scenography.
Before entering the centre's actual buildings, visitors find themselves face to face with the centre's very origin, the deposit from which the rest of the story unfolds, and the actual site of the archaeological dig from which Pierrette's bones were extracted.
The centre is broken up into various spaces enabling the visitor to work their way through the world as it might have been 35,000 years ago. The waiting room also contains a condensed view of time, with everything from the Big Bang to the Neanderthals summed up by a set of images, helping give you an idea of the first 15 billion years of the life of our planet.
Using 3D imagery, facial morphing, an interactive space, and a panoramic screen, a stroll though the origins of mankind at the centre helps explain the stages of modern man's development and the evolution of life on earth. Other fun and educational features at the centre are DNA analysis, a study of the morphology and composition of the Neanderthal man's brain, a comparison of the physique of this ancestor with that of modern man, an arm-wrestle with a Neanderthal man, and an outdoor display showing how scientific research was carried out on the fossilised remains of 'La roche à Pierrot' (Pierrot's rock). This great journey through the ages then continues outdoors. Once in the open air, visitors become trackers, and must follow the traces left behind by prehistoric man.
Watch the 'Traces Durables' animation to find out more about the apparent existence of Pierrette's 35,000 year old camp here, or let your imagination run wild with 'Traces Disparues', the daily newspaper from Pierrette's times.
Travelling on through time, you find yourself back in the present day with 'Traces Archéologiques', and can watch and relive the excavations during which Pierrette was discovered in 1979 in Saint Cézaire.
This modern discovery centre is very mush based on interactivity, and the 'Paléopass' is one of its most innovative ideas. This pass, which is given to the visitor on arrival at Paléosite, contains masses of information about its holder (e.g. height, age, gender, etc.). During the activities, this information is then used to adapt the characteristics of the feature in question and personalise the activity to suit the individual.
And that is not all! Paléopass quickly becomes the modern visitor's tool, because it allows you to virtually gather the numerous fossils you come across during your outdoor visit and then to submit them for a detailed examination once you are back inside the main building.
Paléopass turns out to be a great little device enabling every visitor to improve their knowledge depending on what they see on the site, and according to their interests.

Paléosite
17770 Saint Césaire, France
Tel.: +33 (0) 8 10 13 01 34
Opening hours:
In April, May, June, and September: 10:00am to 7:00pm
In July and August: 10:00am to 8:00pm
October to March: 10:30am to 6:00pm
The site is closed in January
Adult price: £8.80
Child price (5 to 14 years): £5.30
Family Pass: £23 (for two adults and two children)
Free entry for children under 5

  • Paléosite , France
    Paléosite
    © O.Chanoit
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination France

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