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Photo of Le Moustier

Visit Le Moustier

Le Moustier is 10 km north east of Les Eyzies in the central part of the Dordogne department. This part of the Dordogne is packed with prehistoric shelters and caves and Le-Moustier is home to two small prehistoric shelters that contained important findings.

Explore Le Moustier

Le Moustier is a small village whose claim to fame comes from having two pre-historic shelters.

Le Moustier

Le Moustier has a pretty centre with stone houses built in the traditional style and a small romanesque church dating back to the 12th century. On the outside of the church is a funeral niche at the base of the belltower which is a wall rather than a tower. A design reasonably common in the south west of France.

Also in the centre of the village you will see the replica of a 1778 canon.

Prehistoric shelters of Le-Moustier

In the centre of the village is the 'Abri inferieur de Moustier' . At this site the skeleton of a neanderthal type adolescent man was discovered known as Le-Moustier 1.

The skeleton was sold to the Museum of Berlin. Sadly apparently only the skull remains as the rest of the skeleton was destroyed at the end of the second world war!

Excitingly the skeleton of a new born baby, known as Le-Moustier 2, was discovered in a burial hole at the shelter. The fossils are amongst the best preserved in the world and is one of the most complete neanderthal skeletons in existence.

The skeleton was discovered and exhumed in 1914 but then went missing and was thought to have been sent to Paris and lost. However in 1996 during a survey of the collections in the Musee National de Prehistoire at Les-Eyzies the remains were rediscovered. The skeleton is now on display at the museum.

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In the second shelter 'the Abri Superieur de Moustier' various stones deliberately shaped by prehistoric man were found. This discovery gave the name of "Moustierien" to the tool set and culture of this time.

There is not much still to see in the two shelters, especially when compared to the wealth of prehistoric paintings and rock sculptures in caves all around Les Eyzies but for dedicated enthusiasts visits are possible and are organised by the 'Grotte de Font de Gaume'.

There is a large cave in the rocky cliff above the village but there is no evidence that this was once used as a shelter. Both of the shelters at Le-Moustier are at or near ground level.

abri-prehistorique at Le Moustier

For more information about the prehistoric shelters of Le Moustier.

On the edge of the village of Le-Moustier is the Dhagpo Kagyu Ling Buddhist Centre. It is one of the largest and most important Buddhist centres in Europe.

Places to visit nearby

La Roque Saint Christophe is a rock shelter quite high above the river Vezere which has been used for both prehistoric and medieval habitation. It is an interesting site to visit.

The village of Saint Leon sur Vezere is nearby. This village has been classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France and is indeed very charming.

If you are interested in seeing some of the prehistoric sites in the area but not sure which ones to visit then see our one day guide to the Prehistoric sites around Les Eyzies de Tayac.

See also: 

Photos of Le Moustier

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • abri-prehistorique
  • canon
  • centre
  • church-interior
  • church
  • church1
  • churchyard
  • rocky-cliff

Map of Le Moustier and places to visit

 
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Le Moustier places to visit

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
Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere

Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere

Saint Leon sur Vezere is one of the most beautiful villages of France.

Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere guide
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
Plazac

Plazac

Plazac is a charming small village with an interesting church.

Plazac guide
 
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