As another day of "let's do in one day what others do in two" :) , I had to get up at 07:00 to go in at at 07:20 for a 09:30 ticket sale and a 10:00 visit. Don't get me started on how messed up that was, or the fact that the broke government wouldn't sell any tickets at inflated prices by reservation instead of forcing everyone to go stand in line earlier and earlier outside hours before the ticket booth opens.
After all this, we did get to see Font de Gaume. It is the only grotto left you can visit and that has real polychrome paintings. Only about 80 people are admitted per day. Putting aside the 2H+ line outside before the ticket counter opens, it was nice and probably the best such grotto still open to the public today. The paintings are over 17,000 years old:
bright and early
over 2h later, the ticket counter opened
the guide was really good
We went to the prehistoric museum a couple of times between assigned times in the grottos:
Next, was time for our tour of Grotte des Combarelles, which is also full of drawings etched with lines in the rock about 12,000 years ago. They take an even fewer 66 people per day:
Cap Blanc had a huge fresca etched into the face of a mountain where Cro Magnon man used to live, although it had unfortunately been quite damaged by the clueless folks who first found it. Still, it's one of the only examples in the world:
Last, but not least, we went to grottes de Rouffignac, which you get to visit by taking an electric train 1km down. It also had lots of drawings, including holes where bears used to go hibernate:
To be honest, it was pretty cool to see art, and some was pretty good art, made by so called cavemen (really Cro-Magnon) about 12,000 to 17,000 years ago, and effectively the oldest writings of man left today.
That was a lot of grottos and prehistoric drawings for one day, so we ended the day at Domme, a nice little village at the top of the cliff, with view on the Dordogne river, and headed to our hotel at la Roque-Gageac for dinner and much needed rest (we had a nice dinner there too):
view from our room