Just breathing can damage cave paintings and drawings so the idea to create an exact replica of Chauvet Cave, discovered in 1994, was a no-brainer. The replica will be open to the public this spring.
When Jean-Marie Chauvet first discovered this immense cave covered in prehistoric paintings, it was quickly closed to the public to preserve the precious Stone Age depictions of horses, mammoths and rhinos. Since then, scientists, artists and the French government have invested €56 million to create a near-exact replica of the cave, just 2km from the site.
The cave has more than 400 paintings and carvings depicting animals and hand prints. They even recreated the stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the cool temperatures and the thick, humid smell of the cave. Until Chauvet found it, the cave had been incredible well preserved thanks to a rock fall 23,00 years ago, concealing the site.
Love prehistoric art and folklore? Then a trip to Vallon Pont d’Arc, near Bollene in the south of France, should definitely be on your travel list. The best way to get there is via flights to Avignon and then rental car to the site.