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Photo of Abri du Cap Blanc

Visit Abri du Cap Blanc

The Abri du Cap Blanc is situated between Les Eyzies de Tayac and Sarlat, in the tiny village of Marquay.

This part of the Dordogne is packed with prehistoric caves, shelters and museums to visit.

Explore the Abri du Cap Blanc

The Abri du Cap Blanc is a rock shelter which has a large frieze sculpted on it by prehistoric man.

The frieze is 13 meters long and includes carvings of horses, bison and deer. Horses are the dominant animal in the freize with eight horse sculptures in total, one of which is more than two meters in length. The frieze is considered to be one of the best examples of Paleolithic sculpture (about 35 000 to 10 000 years ago) which is still open to the public. The quality of the images and the depth of the sculpting are both exceptional.

Abri du Cap Blanc

It is thought that the whole was originally coloured in ocre.

The shelter was discovered in 1908 by Raymond Peyrille . The shelter was once open fronted but is now protected by a wall built in front of the rock overhang. This is to preserve the frieze from weathering and damage from the elements. Whilst building this protective wall in 1911 a female skeleton was discovered. The skeleton is now on display in the Chicago Field Museum and is called the 'Magdalenean girl'. There is a copy of the skeleton at the Abri du Cap Blanc.

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At the entrance to the Abri there is a small exhibition with copies of sculptures which can be seen in other abris and caves. The exhibition describes different techniques of sculpture used in prehistoric caves. There is also information about the different species of animal bones found during excavation of the rock shelter and other items found in the abri.

The Abri du Cap Blanc is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the 'Prehistoric Sites of the Vezere Valley'.

Abri du Cap Blanc opening hours and practical information

Address: Abri du Cap Blanc, 24620 Marquay, tel: 05 53 06 86 00

1 November to 15 May by rendez vous only

15 May to 15 September: 10.00 to 18.00

16 September to 14 May: 09.30-12.30 and 14.00-17.30

The abri is closed on Saturdays. Admission costs 8 euros for adults and is free for under 18 year olds. It is also free to 18-25 year olds from the European Union.

Places to visit nearby

The village of Marquay itself is tiny but pretty and worth wandering round and perhaps stopping for refreshments at its café.

The prehistoric caves of Font-de-Gaume are nearby as are many of the prehistoric sites of the Vezere Valley. The Font de Gaume caves is one of the few sites still open to the public with displays of prehistoric paintings.

The Roque St Christophe is a rock shelter used by prehistoric man for living in and it continued to be used until medieval times.

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Photos of Abri du Cap Blanc

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Map of Abri du Cap Blanc and places to visit

 
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Abri du Cap Blanc places to visit

The Prehisto Park

The Prehisto Park

The Prehisto Park is an outdoor park with recreations of life in prehistoric times.

The Prehisto Park guide
Maison Forte de Reignac

Maison Forte de Reignac

The Maison Forte de Reignac is a fortified house built into the cliff.

Maison Forte de Reignac guide
The troglodyte village of La Madeleine

The troglodyte village of La Madeleine

A troglodyte village that was inhabited in prehistoric times.

The troglodyte village of La Madeleine guide
La Roque Saint Christophe

La Roque Saint Christophe

La Roque Saint Christophe is a troglodyte town carved out in the cliffs.

La Roque Saint Christophe guide
Font de Gaume

Font de Gaume

One of the rare caves containing prehistoric paintings still open to the public.

Font de Gaume guide
Chateau de Commarque

Chateau de Commarque

The Chateau de Commarque is a partially renovated 12th century castle.

Chateau de Commarque guide
 
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