Posts Tagged ‘lascaux’

The Artists of Lascaux

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Horses, stags, and bulls adorn the caves at Lascaux, France.

French painters go back a long way, at least 17,000 years! In 1940, four teenagers (and their dog, named Robot) discovered an astonishingly-painted Late Stone Age period cave at Lascaux in southwestern France. There are more than 2,000 figures in the cave with more than 900 images of animals, including horses, stags, and bulls. Other paintings include human figures and abstract shapes. So, who were these artists? People of the Late Stone Age ate a diet rich in reindeer, made and used tools, and created their own sculptures and other artworks. They would have made use of the bow and arrow and other weapons, lived in complex social groups,  and held spiritual rituals.The original cave has long been closed to the public due to the delicacy of the pigments. However, Lascaux II, an exact replica of the cave, has the paintings reproduced using the same materials as the original. If you’d like to see them, as well as a number of other prehistoric sites that dot southwestern France, please join us for Sojourn in the Dordogne this October.

If you’d like to know more about ancient peoples and think about what it means to be human, visit our online Human Origins Exhibit, from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. If you’re in the D.C. area, you can also visit the  brick-and-mortar version of the exhibit at the museum.

If you could go back in time, what time period would you go to?

Video: Carcassonne and Edith Piaf

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Carcassonne is a medieval town with the longest city walls in Europe. Sitting atop a hill overlooking vast green plains stretching to the Pyrénées, it boasts battlements and ramparts dating to the 1st-century Romans. The fortress at Carcassone was restored in 1853 by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Here, listen to Edith Piaf, France’s best known chanteuse, sing “L’himme a L’amour” as you enjoy the sights and scenes of Carcassonne.

Want to experience this ancient city for yourself? Click here to learn more about reserving your place on our France Through the Ages tour, where you’ll visit Carcassonne, the caves at Lascaux, and Mont St.-Michel, among other famous French places.

Click here to learn more about tours to France.