Francois Hollande opens the new replica of the Lascaux Caves, called Lascaux 4

Francois Hollande Inaugurated Lascaux 4 in the Dordogne

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Francois Hollande on Saturday inaugurated the Centre international d’art pariétal de Montignac (Dordogne) which houses a new replica of the prehistoric cave of Lascaux , dubbed “Lascaux 4”, before opening to the public on the 15th December.

Arriving at 3pm, the head of state, accompanied by the Minister of Culture, Audrey Azoulay, has experienced the visit  of the “immersive” reproduction of the cave, making the route as it will be offered to visitors starting next week.
Surrounded by the President of the Departmental Council of Dordogne, Germinal Peiro (PS), of the conservative Center, Muriel Mauriac, and President of the Scientific Council, the paleoanthropologist Yves Coppens, François Hollande visited the various rooms for some 45 minutes.

This is a facsimile, is a work! “, Welcomed the head of state, learning about the dating of the cave, painted there about 18,000 years on the techniques used at the time and the technologies used for this reproduction to 100% and to scale.

The Head of State also received a gift of a facsimile of a foot drawing reproducing a bird present in the room from the well of the cave, a copy made by the team of the Workshop facsimiles of Périgord (AFSP), which has raised the scientific and artistic challenge to fully reproduce the prehistoric gem.

Upon his arrival, Hollande unveiled a plaque, officially inaugurating the International Centre for Montignac parietal art, located on the opposite side of the hill where the original cave.  After the visit, the President met, away from the cameras, with a delegation of farmers of the Périgord, in the presence of the president of the County Council.

The Head of State was then to deliver a speech before an audience of more than a thousand guests. Ranked first, Simon Coencas, 89, last survivor of four teenagers who had discovered the original cave September 12, 1940.
Several hundred local officials were present, including the president of the New Aquitaine, Alain Rousset. The Region and the Department were the two largest funders of the budget of the International Centre estimated at 57 million euros (66 million devices with equiments).

Total sanctuary

For this new project of 8,500 m2, aimed towards scientific, artistic and tourism, the objective is to revive the visitor the “same feeling” that the four teenagers who, believing to have found an underground of a castle, discovered the exceptional prehistoric sanctuary.

Nestled in a plain concrete and glass building all in length (150 m long) semi-underground, which fits like a “hole in the sky”, the replica contains the dimensions, reliefs and colors of the original cave.

The beginning of the visit simulates outside the hill of Lascaux, to the barking of the dog that had found the opening of the cave. Once inside, it’s total darkness, and the tour begins with a discreet lighting, which turns on and off the passage of tourists, guided by the deliberately minimal explanations.

The objective of “Lascaux 4” is also to ensure a “total sanctuary” of the historic site that the flow of tourists and vehicles visiting “Lascaux 2”, close to the original cave was eventually threatened.  “Lascaux 2”, with copies of 90% of frescoes was inaugurated in 1983 after the closure in 1963 of the original cave that public enthusiasm had deteriorated, will now be reserved for educational visits.

For the website operator, Semitour, the goal with this new replica is to attract nearly 400,000 visitors a year, against 270,000 a year previously for “Lascaux 2”. A traveling exhibition, taking up most of the wonders of the Perigord cave, “Lascaux 3”, completes the center.

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