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Interior Design a'la Cro-Magnon

semi-overcast 18 °C

The Aquitane region of Southwest France is a sweet land of rolling hills and meandering rivers where the fertile soils have nourished humans for many thousands of years. Today, the area is best known for its wines, sunflowers, tobacco and, especially, foie gras. However, there was a time when lions, bison and reindeer roamed this land together with wild horses and bulls. How do we know this? Because here in the limestone hillsides above the town of Montignac are the most famous cave paintings in the world.


This bull,and many similar ones were painted on the wall of a cave in Lascaux almost twenty thousand years ago by paleolithic cro-magnon men.


There are thousands of sophisticated paintings and inscriptions on the walls and ceilings of the Lascaux Cave and wild animals of all kind are easily recognisable. Lions and bison no longer roam these hills but the horses and deer are easy to spot...


The amazing thing is that the cro-magnon artists were well versed in the art of prospective long before the 15th century Italian Renaissance painters dipped their brushes in oils and everyone applauded their amazing discovery. Sorry Leonardo– the French beat you to it by nineteen and half thousand years. The painted caves at Lascaux were discovered in 1940 during World War II, but once the war was over they quickly became over-run with sightseers. The public has been barred from the caves for many years so we were planning to sneak in when we discovered that the canny French had created an exact replica right next door. Phew! Imagine coming all this way and not getting a look at this incredible picture?


The caves are just one of the many attractions in this region of France and our first stop on the riverside road from our temporary home in Bergerac to Lascaux took us through many historic villages and past many great chateaus. We followed the rivers upstream from Bergerac until we came to the tiny town of Tremolat...


Ivy covered cottages surround the church that is one of the stops for pilgrims en-route to Santiago de Compostela and this is the picture perfect old mill...


This is the view of the Dordogne River from the top of the hill overlooking Tremolat...


But the two hour drive to Lascaux took us through many similar picturesque villages of buttery limestone cottages, any one of which would have enough scenes for a complete set of table mats.


Finally we arrived in Montignac on the banks of the Vezere River just in time for the market...


But almost everyday is market day somewhere in this region. There is so much history, wine and foie gras here that we will never cram it all in this week - but we will do our best.

Posted by Hawkson 12:24 Archived in France

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You sound like the goose. Difference is that the cramming is by choice. Looks gorgeous.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Amazing that the colours still remain in those figures and the black outlines sharp.

by R and B

Greetings from Sumiko and I in Quebec City, a little bit of France transported. Glad to have the blog back again after the summer hiatus.

by Tom

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