About Musee National de Prehistoire
Musee National de Prehistoire or the National Prehistoric Museum in Les Eyzies, France, displays an impressive collection of 18,000 prehistoric artefacts, mostly excavated from the Vézère Valley.
Musee National de Prehistoire history
Through displays, original pieces and timelines, Musee National de Prehistoire offers an overview of the prehistoric past of this region of France and is a good introduction to the period prior to visiting archaeological sites in the area.
Located near the main sanctuaries of cave art listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Font-de-Gaume caves, les Combarelles, etc.), the museum houses exceptional collections which allow the tracing of more than 400 millennia of human presence.
In 1913, Denis Peyrony, a researcher to whom we owe the discovery of many prehistoric sites, bought the ruins of the castle of Eyzies in order to preserve, study and present on the spot of the archaeological heritage site of the valley of the Vézère. This region is known for its remarkable prehistoric remains and conservation.
Moreover, it is in this region that humanity reveals its capacity for symbolic expression, both among Neanderthals and among Homo sapiens.
Inaugurated on 19 July, 2004, the extension designed by the Parisian architect Jean-Pierre Buffi has considerably increased the reception capacity of the establishment which now offers the public an amazing experience. More than 18,000 pieces are in fact displayed over an area of nearly 1,500 m² in an entirely new museum.
Musee National de Prehistoire today
The National Prehistory Museum is the ideal introduction to your tour of the area’s prehistoric sites, listed as World Heritage with UNESCO. Visitors can explore the oldest traces left by man exhibited through a particularly vivid approach within a beautiful contemporary building built into the cliff.
The exhibition galleries reveal a wealth of stone tools, bone and ivory decorative objects, and forensic reconstructions (life-sized sculptures of prehistoric people and animals based on skeletal remains) to enable you to understand 400,000 years of hominid evolution.
Foreign tourists should note that the exhibitions are mostly in French. Anybody wishing to have a tour in English should call in advance.
Getting to Musee National de Prehistoire
The address of the National Prehistoric Museum is 1, rue du musée – 24620 Les Eyzies. If travelling by car, the museum is 45 km from Périgueux-Sarlat (via the D47) and 20km from Sarlat. If travelling via train, visitors can take the Paris-Limoges-Périgueux-Agen line. The duration of the trip starting at Périgueux is 30 minutes.
All museum rooms are wheelchair-accessible through the elevators and ramps.
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