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“Fabulous Experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Grotte du Pech-Merle

Grotte du Pech-Merle
Cabrerets, 46330 Cabrerets, France
05 65 31 27 05
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Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Cabrerets
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: One of the world's finest painted prehistoric caves.
Tucson, Arizona
Top Contributor
736 reviews 736 reviews
336 attraction reviews
Reviews in 184 cities Reviews in 184 cities
820 helpful votes 820 helpful votes
“Fabulous Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

I read somewhere that Pech-Merle is the "most impressive real-thing prehistoric cave that is open to the public in France." When this phrase jumped out at me from my research notes for our trip through Southwest France, I added Pech-Merle to my "must see" list. I was not disappointed.

Drawings made by prehistoric ancestors in the cave include bison and mammoths. Its famous spotted horses -- created about 26,400 years ago -- left me awestruck. And the handprint drawings -- rare for cave art -- were a special treat. Water and time have added nature's art to the scene with fascinating formations that are as compelling as anything displayed there by man.

To ensure the best possible experience, I made reservations by e-mail for a tour in English. That way I knew I would get in (the number of daily visitors is limited for preservation purposes) and have a better appreciation for what I saw. Twenty-five of us accompanied an extremely knowledgeable guide for about an hour. He illuminated everything he discussed so we could get a good look. If the object discussed was in a small space, he gave an explanation to part of the group, asked these participants to move on and then repeated the explanation to the others. By the end of the tour, I felt that the 10 euro admission charge had been one of the best deals of my vacation.

The site where the cave is located also offers a film and a small museum. These can be enjoyed before or after the cave visit. There are also a gift shop, a snack bar and picnic tables.

Be sure to bring warm clothes. I visited on an extremely hot day but the cave itself was quite chilly.

Visited June 2014
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321 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Monterey, California
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Not to be missed”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2014

It is a a rare honor to be able to view the prehistoric cave paintings at Pech-Merle. While Lascaux has been closed in order to preserve the paintings, Pech-Merle allows up to 700 visitors a day to see art that was created some 30,000 years ago.

One can only view the caves in guided tours. There is 1 daily tour in English.

Visited June 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Basingstoke, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Amazing nature not sure about organisation”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2014 via mobile

In a secluded location, this grotte offers an amazing journey through time. In building this cave, nature did a great job and we have the pleasure of discovering it. The paintings and guide explanation were good and very useful, if you speak French.....

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Western New York
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“A highlight of our whole trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2014

Wow. If you have always wanted to see cave paintings, I don't think you could possibly be disappointed here. We easily made reservations online ahead of time. I chose the last tour of the day because we were driving in from another city and wanted to give ourselves enough time to get there. We don't speak French. I knew at the time of booking that I was reserving a French-only tour, but it didn't matter to us. The cave paintings were astonishingly beautiful. And they gave us laminated booklets in English that we could read now and then when there was enough light. To make sure you do not miss your reservation, plan ahead with whatever local maps you can find because cell phone reception disappeared on the way, and the signs were very spotty. (Maybe we took a wrong turn and ended up in an area with spotty signs.) We drove in from Vers and after the cave tour drove to St. Cirq Lapopie and somewhere through there we passed the famous Chateaux des Anglais ( http://www.saint-cirqlapopie.co.uk/heritage/chateaux/chateaux-des-anglais ) which was another splendid sight. There is a picnic area to wait in and a nice bathroom and little museum and gift shop. I don't remember if there was food available to purchase. We brought sandwiches and ate them while we waited for our tour to start.

Visited April 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“This is your No.1 'must see' attraction”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2014

Recently we stayed in the beautiful Cele valley, mid-way between Cahors and Figeac. Although we had already visited the fabulous Gouffre de Padirac, near Rocamadour, a couple of days later, we decided to visit the 'local' Grotte du Peche Merle, only expecting a small cave. How wrong we were! It was an AMAZING experience with wonderful stalactites and stalagmites and several 25,000 year-old rock drawings and hand prints.

Afterwards we had a very reasonably priced lunch on the terrace of the La Roue restaurant in nearby Cabrerets. Excellent and creative food, wonderfully presented!

Do go and enjoy...

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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