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An Ice Age polychrome painting of a bison where the painter has used the natural surface of the rock to suggest the body of the animal.

Buying Tickets for Font de Gaume, Les Combarelles & Abri Cap Blanc

Everyone wants to see the prehistoric paintings and engravings in the caves of Font de Gaume and Les Combarelles. And with good reason. Besides the high demand, entry to these two caves is more restricted than others for conservation reasons. Although tickets are only available online via the official website, the website does not fully explain the procedure. This short article explains the process for our readers.

Tickets are now available to purchase up until the end of August 2024.

People queuing sitting on benches wrapped against the misty early morning outside the Font de Gaume ticket office.
Queuing in the early morning mist for tickets, in June 2019.

Using the Official Website

Font De Gaume Ticket Website
Font De Gaume Tickets
Font De Gaume Validate
Font De Gaume Basket

Why Are Tickets Limited?

Are These Three Caves Worth the Trouble?

More Cave Art Sites in France

From the World famous cave of Lascaux to one of the most recent discoveries – including Cosquer and Chauvet, France has some of the most spectacular prehistoric cave art in the world. Painted and engraved images, as well as bas relief sculptures, were made by Homo sapiens and probably also Neanderthals between about 36,000 to 12,000 years ago, a period that coincides with the end of the last Ice Age. In this is a guide to the caves, replicas and museums of Ice Age art in France we provide all you need to know to plan your trip.

Add these Ice Age Caves to Your Itineraries & Travel Lists

Font de Gaume

Font de Gaume is the only decorated cave in France that has polychrome paintings that has remained open to the public. Although access is very restricted, and why tickets are highly sort after. In a narrow gallery there are over 230 animal engraved and painted depictions. Not only are some of the painted bisons polychrome, they are also both engraved and painted. One of the many highlights of the site is a frieze of 5 bison, where the artist(s) made use of the contours of the rock face to give shape to the painted bison.

Les Combarelles

Les Combarelles, unlike most of the other caves open to the public in the Les Eyzies area, is notable for its many exquisitely engraved depictions along a windy, narrow passage of about 240 metres in length. Although the usual range of animals were engraved, such as horses, bison, mammoth, reindeer, bears, and lions, there are also a number of representations of humans. Depictions of humans in European cave art are relatively rare, but there are exceptional examples here: stylized outlines of female bodies.

Abri Cap Blanc

The bas relief sculptures of animals, mostly horses, at Cap Blanc are the finest examples of sculptured Palaeolithic art still in situ and open to the public in France. The highlight of the frieze is a carved horse, the body of which measures over two metres in length. In the deposit in front of the carved panel lies the body (now a cast) of a young female. The archaeological deposit also revealed tools that must have been used to carve the animals. Today the shelter is enclosed within a building that also houses a very good museum.

Archaeology Travel Writer

Thomas Dowson

With a professional background in archaeology and a passion for travel, I founded Archaeology Travel to help more people explore our world’s fascinating pasts. Born in Zambia, I trained as an archaeologist at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) and taught archaeology at the universities of Southampton and Manchester (England). Read More

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