Our man in France Jacques V headed down to the Ardeche region to check out the Chauvet cave and its replica that opened recently to the public. The cave contains the earliest known cave paintings in the world, which are estimated to date back about 36,000 years old!
Discovered in 1994, the cave is located in the Gorges de l’Ardeche in south-east France (near Provence) and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Unfortunately visitors cannot enter the cave proper (due to threat of damage and deterioration) but there is an exact full-size replica just a few kilometers away, which opened on April 25 of this year–and still see an exact reproduction of this ancient art.
The paintings depict cave lions, panthers, cave hyenas, bears, rhinos, as well as “Venus” figures and hand prints. In addition to art, the cave contains a child’s footprints, charred remains of a heart, smoke stains, paw prints of cave bears, and fossilized bones of bears and of an ibex. Check out Jacques’ spectacular photos below!