The hotel is located in a small village that is a gem overlooking the Vezere river in the prehistoric/historic town of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac in the Perigord region of the Department of Dordogne. This quaint hotel (15 rooms) is operated by Valerie and Laurent Besse. Laurent creates delicious meals while Valerie greets guests and runs the hotel registry. Our hotel room and bathroom was updated, spacious, at a modest price for the last of March and first of April. The hotel was built in 1868 on the main street through the village on Avenue de la Prehistoire located a short walk from the two a day train station and the medieval fort/church built in the 12th century. The hotel was built into the side of a limestone cliff where the skeletal remains and stone tool culture of Cro-Magnon (early Homo sapien) were excavated from the rockshelter.
The Vezere river has downcut through Cretaceous age (65 mya) limestone creating a narrow valley with limestone cliffs 100 to 200 feet high. The downcutting created numerous caves and rockshelters that line both sides of the the Vezere river valley that were occupied by early neanderthals and Homo sapiens for thousands of years. This is the gourmet food land of goose and duck foie gras and the famous type of cepe mushroom known as truffles found in the dense forest and hills of the Perigord Noir east of the wine country of Bergerac and Bordeaux.
Everything in the town of Les Eyzies is within walking distance from the hotel. About ten years ago the famous new Musee National de Prehistoire opened where remnants of the castle of Les Ezyies can still be seen with the stone neanderthal sculpture by Darde looking over the valley. The museum houses the animals and material culture, art de mobilier, rock art of early humans and neanderthals dating back 400,000+ years into the Pleistocene (glacial periods) up through time to the post glacial period Holocene. Some of the archaeological site material on display comes from famous archaeological sites dating to the Early Stone Age (ESA), Middle Stone Age (MSA), and Late Stone Age (LSA). these are the sites that put this area of France on the World Heritage list. Some of the prehistoric archaeological World Heritage sites and their attributes include Lascaux (LSA cave paintings), Font de Gaume (LSA cave paintings), La Micoque (ESA stone tools), Le Moustier (MSA stone tools) , La Ferrassie (MSA, LSA stone tools), Abri du Poisson (rock art, engravings, LSA stone tools), George D'Enfer gorge (LSA sites), Laugerie Haute (LSA stone tools), Laugerie Basse (LSA stone tools), Les Combarelles (rock art engravings), Abri Pataud (MSA to LSA stone tools), Grotte de la Mairie (LSA stone tools and rock art), Abri du Cap-Blanc (LSA and rock art), and Roufignac (rock art, LSA stone tools).
From the hotel turn right cross the river and you can walk along the river on road D47 to Abri du Poisson, George d'Enfer gorge, Laugerie Basse (visit Grotte du Grand Roc cavern, gift shop and restaurant), and Laugeria Haute. There are interpretive signs along the way to read about the archaeology and geology in the valley all within one mile.
From the hotel in the other direction, east on the Avenue de Prehistoire walk ca. 100 m to Abri Pataud where they are actively excavating, then walk on a little further to the museum and new reception center. Leaving from the reception center the Hotel D'Centre is across the street. Back in 1972 I stayed at the Hotel d'Centre when is was small and family run with the best food in the Dordogne. Now, it has all changed modernized, and very exclusive. Walk on east a little further (0.5 km) and you will come to the rock art cave of Font de Gaume with some of the best rock art of all the caves. Tickets, tours, and books can be purchased here for some of the above mentioned caves and rockshelters. If you can walk east a little further is the rock art cave of Les Combarelles with over 500 engravings. This walk would be about three miles round trip. A car is a necessity to reach the other prehistoric sites such as Lascaux, Le Moustier, etc.
I haven't even mentioned the medieval castles in the area like Commarque, Castelnaud, Beynac and the entire medieval town of Sarlat 23 miles east of Les Eyzies. As an archaeologist this is a must see and a wonderful place.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Le Cro Magnon
- Hotel Restaurant Le Cro-Magnon France/Les Eyzies-De-Tayac-Sireuil