Around France

7 Days In Dordogne: Lascaux to Brantôme

Caves, canals and missteps describe day four of the seven day adventure through Dordogne. 

Overcast and rainy weather changed our planned route today. Good thing we are driving. Instead of Rocamadour we headed for the painted cave at Lascaux.

The route to Lascaux from our hotel wasn’t very long so we gave ourselves a little time before setting out. Interestingly, the curvy roads and scenery along part of the way reminded us North Carolina girls of our own Blue Ridge Mountains. Same trees, same rocks and hills. Or so it seemed.

Before reaching Lascaux, we read we were to buy tickets at the tourist office in the nearby town of Montignac. Not so. After stopping there…and a brief visit to an art exhibit in the local church where I came close to buying these handmade items…

Art and craft exhibit in Montignac


…we went to the Lascaux park site for tickets. Or let’s say, we set off to find our way there.

Hint: If you are navigating with a Garmin or other device, shut it off here. Follow the printed road signs to Lascaux. If not, you’ll spend your precious time going in circles.

Lascaux II

Lascaux I is the original, authentic, painted cave found by four boys and their dog in 1940. The cave was closed in 1963 to prevent the drawings being destroyed by human contact — mostly CO2. Lascaux II was opened to the public in 1983 as an exact replica of the original. Lascaux IV, a new, modern park and more exhibits, is under construction. It is supposed to open this year. Hmmm…

Photos were not allowed within the cave, but these photos may give you an idea of the park area and surroundings.


After lunch at a brasserie in Montignac, we dead-headed for Brantôme, mostly driving on a super-highway.

Yes, foie gras again. A Dordogne hamburger, that is, with thin slices of duck breast, too.



Oh la la! Step aside, Sarlat, I may like Brantôme best yet! What a beautiful town!



By the time we’d left Montignac, the sun was shining. The perfect setting for Brantôme. The town is straight out of a fairytale, complete with knights in shiny armour.



Brantôme is on an island surrounded by the River Dronne. The centerpiece of the town is the abbey, founded by cave-dwelling monks in the eight century.


The abbey, the caves and the bell-tower, said to be the oldest is France, are must-sees. The carvings in the cave and the tale of the Abbey though the centuries is remarkable. It’s one of my favorite sites along this journey.


Hint: If you plan to have dinner in Brantôme you’ll have to wait until 7 pm. 

Back to Sarlat

When we discovered we wouldn’t find a place to eat dinner in Brantôme, and it was after 6pm and a two hour drive back to our hotel, we decided to go straight to the neighborhood restaurant near our hotel.

Arriving back in Marquay, the hotel manager, Joel, gave directions to the cafe …only a few steps away in the village.nAlas, when we arrived, the restaurant was closed. We dragged our hungry selves back to the hotel where Joel had another suggestion.

“Just five minutes down the road,” he  said, drawing a map with curved lines and “x’s.”


Back in the car we went …in the dark. By the time we had traveled for ten minutes or so, we knew we had missed the turn to the restaurant. Oh well, Sarlat was five minutes away.

 “Stop at the first place that’s open,” we said, almost simultaneously.

The first place was a bar that served pizzas. It appeared to be men-only.

“Never mind” the waiter was gorgeous.

When I told him he looked like a movie star, but I couldn’t remember his name, the handsome man looked puzzled. When I told him the star was married to Penelope Cruz,  he said: “Javier Bardem.”

We all burst into laughter.

The black cloud that had gathered over our evening was lifted.  And the pizza was delicious.

Tomorrow, Rocamodore.

Stay tuned…

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