Pyrenees Rock Art
Created by our ancestors around 35-10,000 years ago, at a time when Europe lay in the grip of an Ice Age, cave art provides one of the most direct connections possible with our distant past. The truly astonishing feature of rock art is that, preserved by the constant temperature of their environment, these drawings and paintings have remained intact and in situ for millennia. Our tour takes you into these rugged mountain landscapes, where we delve into the artistic minds of our distant European ancestors. Dr Bahn has devoted his career to the study of rock art and will provide unique insights into this distant past. His PhD dissertation was on the prehistory of the French Pyrenees.
Benefit from one of these limited time offers:
- Save $150 if you pay your full balance today, just $2,545
- Pay a low deposit of $299, was $750.
Single supplement: $255
Day 1 - Saint-Girons
We will meet at the Hotel Eychenne in the gorgeous town of St Girons.
Day 2 - Grotte de Bédeilhac
The day begins with a drive out to the Parc de la Préhistoire. Primarily important for its facsimiles of the main decorated chamber of Niaux, it shows the figures as they would have originally looked. Here, we also find representations of parts of the cave that are not accessible to the public. Later, we visit the Grotte de Bédeilhac. Its massive cave mouth is large enough to land an airplane, as actually occurred back in 1972. Occupation here dates back at least 15,000 years, with a variety of intriguing pieces of cave art, drawings, engravings and even clay mouldings among the striking rock formations.
Day 3 - Grottes de Gargas
This morning we drive out to the Grottes de Gargas, where we find cave art consisting of two different elements – both created in the Upper Paleolithic period of approximately 25,000 BC. One is a collection of animal engravings and paintings, including fine depictions of horses, ibex and mammoths. The other is a dazzling group of some two-hundred hands stenciled in black, red, brown, ochre and white. We enjoy an afternoon visit to the rich Roman site of Lugdunum Convenarum, at the foot of the medieval walled town of St. Bertrand de Comminges. While we're here, we also visit the great church of St Bertrand, with its fine cloister and stunning woodwork, and the beautiful Basilique de St Just.
Day 4 - La Vache - Niaux
Today we visit the cave of La Vache, situated directly opposite that of Niaux, but much lower in the valley. This cave served as a living area for prehistoric people over several centuries and, although undecorated, it shows living floors and hearths. Weapons and tools in bone, flint and antler were found with an astonishing array of animals portrayed on them. Images included wolves, lions, fish and - most unusually - humans. Fully prepared with this new-found insight, we go on to view the famous Niaux Cave itself. Here we find one of the greatest and most powerful collections of Ice Age drawings that can still be visited, primarily the world-renowned Salon Noir or “Black Hall” with its astounding acoustics. A sensational site, and one not to be missed.
Day 5 - Mas d’Azil
Our explorations today begin at the huge cave site of Mas d'Azil. Characterized by colorfully decorated pebbles and finely carved bone harpoons, this cave has been used as a refuge for millennia. The earliest evidence of human occupation dates back to a phenomenal 30,000 years. The site's accompanying museum showcases a fine collection of portable art along with other materials that demonstrate the cave's rich levels of past occupation. This is a truly unique place to visit and we ensure that ample time is spent here in order to truly appreciate the finds. Our afternoon will be spent at leisure exploring this fascinating area. Before the day draws to a close we enjoy a convivial farewell dinner with the group – the perfect way to celebrate our adventures.
Day 6 - Saint-Girons
After breakfast, our tour ends and we make our independent onward journeys.
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Professional Tour Manager
- Local travel aboard a private air-conditioned coach
- Meals as per the itinerary, wine and tea or coffee with dinner
- Entries to all sites as per the itinerary
- All taxes & gratuities
- Field notes
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single Supp.||Offer||Availability|
|October 19 2020||APYR201019||October 19 2020 (Monday)||October 24 2020 (Saturday)||Dr Paul Bahn Angela Bentley||$2,695
|Call for availability|