Photo of Grotte de Bara Bahau

Visit Grotte de Bara Bahau

The Bara Bahau cave contains a collection of collection of engravings made by pre-historic man. The cave is located near to Le Bugue in the Vezere valley.

Explore the Bara Bahau cave

The cave is more than a 100 meters in length and about 25meters wide. The walls are 'stripy' showing clearly the different layers of limestone and clay that make up the rock. In the middle are huge slabs of rock that have sheared off from the ceiling. Early discoverers of the cave reflected on the 'badaboum' noise this must have made when the rocks crashed to the earth and led to the naming of the caves.

The cave was once used for hibernating cave bears and when they woke up from many months of glacial winter their claws were long and useless. The ceilings of the Gouffre de Bara Bahau were used as a kind of giant nail file and at the far end of the cave where the bears sheltered the ceiling is a mass of claw marks. In time another rock fall blocked this cave off to cave bears but prehistoric man found a narrow passage through and into the now deserted bears cave.

Prehistoric man then used the contours of the walls and some of the bear scratches and developed these into a series of engravings. There are engravings of aurochs, bear, reindeer and horses. There is also an engraving of a human hand and a phallus. The phallus engraving is very rare as it was usually female genitalia which was drawn. These date to the Magdalenien period.


As in Lascaux caves there is a strange grid engraved into the walls. We still don't know what this represents. There are other symbols that we are unclear about too.

On one of the walls of the cave there are some 'eccentric stalagtites'.

As well as the carvings there is a small collection of bear teeth and marine fossils on display in the cave.

The caves are interesting but not spectacular more suited to pre-history enthusiasts than a more general interest. Having said that these caves are cheaper than many of the others in the area.

Outside of the caves is a picnic area and an excellent view over the Vezere valley and Le Bugue which lies just below.

Bara Bahau cave opening hours and practical information

Address: Grotte de Bara-Bahau, 24260 Le Bugue

April to June: 10.00 to 12.00 and 14.00 to 17.30

July and August: 10.00 to 19.00

September: 10.00 to 12.00 and 14.00 to 17.30

October, November, February, March: 14.00 to 17.00

Prices: 7.50 euros for Adults and 5.30 euros for children from 6 to 15 years old.

Places to visit nearby

The Bara Bahau cave is on the edge of Le-Bugue which is a pretty and lively town on the edge of the river Vezere. There are a number of attractions here with the Le Bugue Aquarium always proving popular with visitors as is the recreated medieval village of Le Bournat.

Not far away is Limeuil which is classified as one of the most beautiful villages of France. It has a river beach which is very popular in the summer and at the top of the village is a park, the 'Jardins Panoramique de Limeuil', which offers excellent views over the village below and the confluence of the rivers Dordogne and Vezere.

See also: 

Map of Grotte de Bara Bahau and places to visit


Grotte de Bara Bahau places to visit

The Aquarium

The Aquarium

The Aquarium at Le Bugue is a freshwater aquarium and also has an alligator park.

The Aquarium guide
Le Bournat

Le Bournat

Le Bournat is a theme park depicting life in the early 1900s.

Le Bournat guide
Le Bugue

Le Bugue

Le-Bugue is a vibrant market town on the edge of the river Vézère.

Le Bugue guide
La Grotte du Sorcier

La Grotte du Sorcier

Home to one of the rare representations of a human figure by prehistoric man.

La Grotte du Sorcier guide


Campagne is a picturesque village with the grounds of a chateau to explore.

Campagne guide
Gardens of the Chateau de Campagne

Gardens of the Chateau de Campagne

The gardens of the Chateau de Campagne are very pretty as are the views of the stunning castle.

Gardens of the Chateau de Campagne guide