Caverne du Pont d'Arc

Top choice Museum

in Gorges de l’Ardèche

This unique complex about 7km northeast of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc takes you on an incredible journey back in time. The biggest replica cave in the world, it was built a few kilometres north of the original Grotte Chauvet site and contains 1000 painstakingly reproduced paintings as well as around 450 bones and other debris. An hour-long tour takes visitors along a raised walkway, past panels displaying hundreds of breathtakingly sophisticated drawings of various animal species, including lions, panthers, rhinoceros and mammoths.

The original Grotte Chauvet, which was discovered in 1994 and is now a Unesco World Heritage Site, is not open to the public. It's the oldest known and best-preserved cave decorated by humans; the actual paintings date back 36,000 years. Specialists used 3D modelling techniques and a high-precision scanner to create a three-dimensional digital model of the original cave.

Due to visitor limitations, it often sells out – buy your ticket online a few days in advance.