Rediscovered by 18 year old Marcel Ravidat, on the 12th of September 1940, when his dog fell into a hole in the ground. He returned with three friends and discovered a 15 metre shaft, that led to a cave full of paintings of bulls, and other wild animals.
The caves prehistoric paintings depict wild animals, humans and a series of symbols. All in all, there are registered almost 6.000 unique, 17.300 year old cavepaintings in the cave.
The doors (or in this case the shaft) were opened to the public on the 14th of Juli 1948, but the popular destination was quickly
Unfortunately the caves were closed for the public in 1967. The co2 from 1200 daily visitors combined with artificial lights, caused fungus, lichen and algae to blossom. After relatively short time, this began to harm the cave paintings.
Visiting the caves
Since the original caves were closed for the public, it has been very hard to be granted access. Today, only a select handful are allowed to enter every week. I don’t have the criteria for being one of the select few visitors, but I expect you need to be a archeologist, anthropologist or similar, with a scientific reason to see the historic wall murals.
Instead the general public can visit a replica cave, created by the Norwegian firm Snøhetta, to give a sense of the real cave.