Here you are : index > Articles > Visit of the Pont d'Arc cave

Visit of the Pont d'Arc cave

My son and I went to visit the clan of the Pont d'Arc Cavern. It takes three hours to finally reach the Facsimile of the Chauvet cave.

We take our tickets for 1:30 pm, which gives us time to go to lunch.

The cave seen from the outside ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
The cave seen from the outside ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015

Seen from the outside, the cavern site is beautifully camouflaged by the vegetation and topography of the site. The architects were successful.

13h10 we are near the entrance of the cave. We descend between two large concrete walls in the open air. They form the corridor leading us to our appointment.

We descend between two large open concrete walls ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
We descend between two large open concrete walls ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015

Like an observation centre, a wide opening gives us a breathtaking view of the valley we dominate. Everything is calculated. The lower light level allows us to get used to the darkness. We are in the Ardèche, I remind you that it is a hot and very sunny department. In summer, the waiting time should be much more pleasant.

13h20 a young man calls us to form our visiting group and introduces us to our guide. After the distribution of our headphones which will be connected with the microphone of our guide, we finally enter the cavern.

At that point, everything contrasts with the off-site environment.
As soon as the door opens, the atmosphere is there.
The lighting is intimate and gives just what we need in terms of light.
The guide transports us for an hour on a journey in the heart of the Paleolithic. Punctuated by scientific detail, his speech is serenely given to us.

What about the cave and its paintings?

36,000 years ago. It's gigantic!
36,000 years ago, and they are of high aesthetic quality.
Their simplicity hides a great artistic mastery:
Monochrome at the entrance made of ochre and, at the bottom, charcoal. There are also fingerprints made directly on the wall. The Aurignacian artists mastered drawing perfectly, giving volume and perspective through the technique of the stump or the use of the volumes of the wall. They have also managed to represent a great dynamism in the paintings.

 

Bison from the lions' panel ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Bison from the lions' panel ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
The use of reliefs in the back room ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
The use of reliefs in the back room ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
The skull room ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
The skull room ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Rhinoceros are very present in the cave ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Rhinoceros are very present in the cave ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Positive hands and lion ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Positive hands and lion ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Rhinoceros made with palms ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Rhinoceros made with palms ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
works drawn with the finger ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015

works drawn with the finger ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015

Horse panel ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Horse panel ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Lion panel ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Lion panel ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Lion panel (detail) ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Lion panel (detail) ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Rhinoceros coming out of the wall ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015
Rhinoceros coming out of the wall ©️ Patrick Aventurier 2015

The bestiary is impressive, lions, panthers, bison, woolly mammoths, woolly rhinos, reindeer, aurochs, megaceroses, ibexes, owls, etc. But also negative and positive hands. Some enigmatic signs and symbols, punctuation of points made with the palm of the hand. Pubic triangles.

It is an exceptional cave.

Then we had an appointment with the clan of the cave of the arch bridge. We joined them at the Aurignacian's gallery.

We were able to see the reconstruction of the prehistoric animals seen on the wall of the cave. It's great to have them life-size in front of us. On a 1:1 scale we immediately realize how small we are if we were there in front of them. Behind, a giant poster (600m2) gives the illusion that they are in their environment during prehistory.

Be careful, the lion crouching on his rock is ready to jump!

Reproduction of a life-size mamouth
Reproduction of a life-size mamouth
Reproduction of a life-size woolly rhinoceros
Reproduction of a life-size woolly rhinoceros


Finally, it is the meeting of the two clans with the reconstruction of a Cro-Magnon family that projects us into the era of the cavern's painters. Interactive devices and touch terminals allow us to learn even more, with explanations from archaeologists, videos of experimental archaeologies on these forgotten skills.

Meeting with an Aurignacian hunter
Meeting with an Aurignacian hunter
A cavern's painter
A cavern's painter

There are also facsimiles from the Aurignacian period in Europe. About a hundred objects of experimental archaeology are presented. Art, with among others the superb pieces of Vogelherd, mammoth, lion, horse.

Here we go to meet the Aurignacians with their way of life, their environmental environment and their know-how. On the other hand, I think it is desirable to accompany your children to this place. My son rightly told me "here the container quickly becomes more important than the content".

Depending on the season, they schedule continuous activities. During our visit there was lighting and food during prehistoric times. I didn't stay very long because it's also a bit of a job. But I can say that it was very well conducted by two young women who knew their subject.

The staff?
They are courteous and welcoming, the cook full of good humour 10/10 despite a bunch of hungry and barely polite sapiens 5/10, the very good meal for a self restaurant with local dishes, and our guide (a man of a certain age) I repeat, passionate but above all exciting, 20/10 and yes 200% because after all we came for the cave and it is him who leads us inside so it is important.

This place is an invitation to spend the day alone or with the family, to discover prehistory on a site chosen and preserved by the project designers. The cave is a facsimile where all the technicians, craftsmen, painters... have done a fantastic reproduction work. It is really easy to imagine ourselves in the real cave, to forget the other visitors and to lose ourselves in the abyss of time.... 55 minutes of happiness that seem 5.

This was our second visit to this magical place. We have enjoyed ourselves again, we will come back another time and surely again and again....

 


Tag : Visit

November 14, 2017
Yannick Kepinski

Separator