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Don't leave France before you've seen Lascaux and the Cité du Vin!
Posted on 18/07/2019

CultureFrance

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You may not know the French department of Nouvelle-Aquitaine by name alone, but you certainly know some of its famous treasures! The region encompasses France's Atlantic Coast, the French Basque Country, and the wine region of Bordeaux to name a few. This dynamic section of the country seems to have it all: fine wine, the beach and inimitable gastronomy. But there are two lesser-known attractions that you mustn't miss during your visit.

A treasure hidden in plain sight

A treasure hidden in plain sight
© Andrea Izzotti / 123RF

When a group of French teenagers stumbled upon the Lascaux Cave in the 1940s, they had no idea they were about to uncover one of the most significant archaeological finds of the century.

The cave was discovered in the woods near Montignac, a village in the Dordogne Valley. When the four friends entered the cave, they found intricate rock paintings covering its walls from floor to ceiling. The paintings date back about 20,000 years, remnants of the last Paleolithic civilization in Europe, the Magdalenians. The huge frescoes depict mostly animals, particularly horses, which played a prominent role in Magdalenian life.

While the cave must remain closed to the public in order to protect its delicate environment, replicas of the cave are open to visitors. The latest facsimile of the cave is called Lascaux IV, and it's accurate down to the millimetre. Also, each painting has been reproduced according to the ancient Cro-Magnon methods. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.

In addition to the fascinating cave replica, the region around Lascaux offers numerous other activities for nature lovers. Thot Park is an animal park that offers a variety of educational experiences to teach visitors more about humans' relationship to nature. The nearby Laugerie-Basse rock shelter displays even more pieces of prehistoric rock art, and the dangling stalactites of the Grand Roc cave are sure to dazzle. Special offers to visit all these attractions and Lascaux are available here.

Welcome to the world of wine

Welcome to the world of wine
© Gerold Grotelueschen / 123RF

Fast-forward to the 21st century, theCité du Vin is a true paradise for wine lovers! Located in dynamic Bordeaux, this exhibition centre opened in 2016 and welcomes numerous tourists each year. It's completely dedicated to the cultural heritage of wine and is housed in an iconic, modern building along the Garonne River.

Numerous activities are offered to visitors at the Cité du Vin. The Permanent Exhibition offers the unique opportunity learn more about wine culture by taking part in one of the immersive and interactive tours dedicated to the celebration of French wine. It's a truly riveting experience you'll never forget! For more information, you can check the Cité du Vin website.

Along with various discovery workshops, guided tours are organized to introduce visitors to the history of the Cité du Vin as well as the architecture of this impressive building. You can also enjoy temporary art exhibitions where world-renowned artists and designers explore their vision of wine culture through their work. The next temporary exhibition called Argentina, Land of Contrasts will take place from August 12 until November 17 this year.

There are one or two unique big events each year, so don't hesitate to check the dates and get tickets to align your visit with some of them! To make the most of your trip, you can't miss the vineyards located around the Cité du Vin. Explore the wine region of Bordeaux by road or by cruising the surrounding rivers. It's the perfect way to round out your trip!

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Discover the secret treasures of France's Lascaux Cave

Top 10 must-dos in the Dordogne Valley