A few years later, the idea of a reconstruction, in real size, of this Paleolithic sanctuary was financed by the Departement of the Dordogne. LASCAUX II was on trail. It took 15 years to finish (1983). Seen now as a relic giving visitors the opportunity to discover the two main galleries, (Hall of the Bulls, one measuring over 5 meters, and the long narrow Diverticule Axiale) which host most of the Lascaux paintings. A "museographic airlock" relates the grotto history. A true technological feat and a great scientific rigor permitted to recreate the incomparable atmosphere of the original cave: a shell in which volume and relief are rendered in the most minute details, polychrome paintings executed with natural dyes and same techniques like 17,000 years ago.
Of course, nothing is more exciting than an original but this is far more bettere than any photograph, since Lascaux II reproduces the exuberant life, movement and clever use of natural protuberances, faults and shadows of the original. Scattered among the animals is a vocabulary of mysterious unexplainable symbols reminiscent of Matisse or Juan Miro!!!
And why was this all painted? Because of some religious reason and sealed off, never to be revisited? Anyway (and they searched everywhere!!), no signs of habitations were discovered here and the original entrance to Lascaux I has never been founded.
Practically, it is very hectic in the summer months. Open every day from 9.00 to 19.00, closed in January. The visit is guided wits small groups, but beware, tickets are only sold at the Tourist Office of Montignac from 9.00 on and sometimes you have only a ticket for next day!!! Yes indeed, only 2,000 people are allowed a day.
You can couple your ticket with the TOTH ESPACE.
This space is located in Thonac, 5 km from the Lascaux grottoes. It's park presenting parietal art and an exhibition, with a movie how Lascaux II was realized. Don't think it's some drag, it is an intersting place! It is surrounded by an animal park reminding a bit the painted ones of the grottoes.
Continue five kilometers south, off the D 706 and discover the GROTTOS OF ROUFIGNAC 'the cave of 100 mammoths) sitting in an electric train during 4 km into the depths of the earth. But after Lascaux…….
6 km northwest is the sinister CHATEAU DE L'HERM, northeast of Plazac. An impressive ruin in restoration, having been the décor of a French movie "Jacquou le Croquant " and where the owner is still living in. The original building s from the 12th century. A small dirt path leads to the chateau and there were so many intrigues and plots in this chateau in the past, terminated by murders that the castle has now the reputation of being haunted by many ghosts!
A taste of Perigord (mars 1994), from Helen Raimes-Pèlerinages en Périgord, by Pierre Fanlac-Le Périgord (1997) by Marcel Clévenot and Eric Jung-Contes-Lascaux or the Birth of Art,GeorgesBataille(Lausanne: Skira, 1955)- La Vezere, ses rivages millénaires (ed. Univ. 1989)