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  • Day412

    Day 413: Caves of Pont d'Arc

    April 3, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Another World Heritage site, but no Roman ruins today which makes for a nice change! Left Schnitzel at home today since we knew he'd have to stay in the car, but weren't sure whether he'd be OK in the car park or not - the website was quite explicit that there were no shady parking spaces!

    So off we went, about 90 minutes drive to the north and west of Avignon, to a river canyon near a famous rock arch known as Pont d'Arc. Here, a cave was discovered in 1994 that contained prehistoric art from around 38,000 years ago. And it's not just stick figure art either, like that we'd seen recently, this stuff was incredibly detailed. Drawn mostly with red ochre and charcoal, it has shading, movement, and even uses the contours of the rock to create a feeling of depth.

    The drawings are mostly of animals - lions, mammoths, bears, but there's also an owl, horses, buffalo, ibexes and all sorts of other stuff. Even a snow leopard, which aren't really known to have lived in this area but obviously did!

    Although the original cave is obviously closed to visitors, the government has constructed an exact replica into the hillside nearby, so we spent an hour going on a guided tour through that. It was a little odd since the French speakers got a local guide, while the non-French speakers just got an audio guide, but it mostly worked.

    The art was super impressive though, and even though I couldn't film inside we were both very impressed. It reminded us a lot of the cave art we'd seen in Spain the first time around, at Altamira, where they had bulls and the like done with multiple colours. It's actually my best-performing video for whatever reason, so hopefully I can live up to my standards with this one!

    By around 2pm we were done with the cave tour and the museum, so we hopped back into the car and drove back to Avignon. This time though we took the slower way through the canyons, marvelling at the pretty sandstone landscapes. The rock arch was also very impressive!
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