Trip Planner: Europe / France / Occitanie / Hautes-Pyrenees / Aventignan / Nature / Grottes de Gargas
The Caves of Gargas in the Pyrenees region of France are known for their cave art from the Upper Paleolithic period - about 27,000 years old.The caves are open to the public.LocationThe caves are located near the town of Aventignan in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in south-western France, at the edge of the Haute-Garonne close to Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges.HistoryHuman occupationThe caves have yielded evidence of occupation from the Mousterian to the Middle Ages, but it is most famous for its paintings and engravings of the Upper Paleolithic.The paintings have numerous negative hand stencils made by the stencil technique. The hands are red or black, using a mixture of iron oxide and manganese crushed with animal fat, and sprayed around the hand against the wall. Some have one or more fingers absent which leads to hypotheses of diseases, frostbite and ritual amputation, but most researchers prefer the symbolism of bending one or more fingers.Many figurative engravings are also present in other parts of the caves, depicting horses, bison, aurochs, ibex and mammoth. Carbon-14 dating of a bone stuck in a crack in a wall decorated with hand stencils revealed close to 27,000 years BP, indicating that the cave was frequented in the Gravettian period. It is surmised that the Hands paintings probably date from this period.Use our Aventignan itinerary maker to visit Grottes de Gargas on your trip to Aventignan, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Nous avons été enchantés par la visite de ce lieu magique présenté par un guide agréable et pédagogue mais nous avons été très désagréablement surpris par la présence lors de la visite de très jeunes ... more »We were delighted by the visit of this magical place presented by a nice guide and teacher but we were very unpleasantly surprised by the presence during the visit of very young children (about 2/3 years) who have stopped complaining, coughing, shouting and jumping everywhere throughout the visit. Parents said nothing and instead, at the slightest note of those present, be offended and made comments embittered suggesting that we are abnormal to not appreciate the vicissitudes of their offspring... I really think that a minimum age should be required or that visits for children should be provided with respect to all visitors." Each freedom stops where that of others begins..."
Grotte magnifique, parfaitement préservée. A chacune de nos visites la magie opère. Notre guide (Laure) passionnée par son sujet nous a fait voyager dans le temps. Les petits et les grands enfants att... more »Cave beautiful, perfectly preserved. Each of our visits the magic. Our guide (Laure) passionate about his topic did we travel back in time. Small and big kids are waiting for the next night with impatience!
Je connaissais déjà cette grotte pour y être allée quand j'étais à l'école primaire. Mais quel bonheur d'y retourner! Le site s'est enrichi d'un espace interactif et ludique. Ainsi que d'un restaurant... more »I already knew this cave for being there when I was in elementary school. But what a joy to go back! The site is enhanced by interactive and playful space. As well as a restaurant. There are also picnic. The lighting of the caves is made by LED lights that do not alter the cave nor the paintings rock. The cave includes many "hands" painted which makes a site rich in Europe. The meaning of the visit is suitable for the entire family because it is clockwise descending and no amount of the cave. The guides are interesting and accessible even after visits to ask other questions
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