North of the Dordogne, the placid River Vézère winds through lush green meadows and softly blowing willow trees, creating a gorgeous tiny valley flanked by limestone cliffs that conceal dozens of subterranean caverns and indented abris (shelters). This valley is famous for its wonderfully preserved prehistoric sites, and especially for its incredible collection of cave paintings – the highest concentration of Stone Age art found in Europe. The paintings and etchings were mostly created by Cro-Magnon people between around 15,000 BC and 10,000 BC, and range in style and artistry from simple scratched lines to complex multicoloured frescoes.
Most of the key sites are around the towns of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil and Montignac, which are both set up for visitors, though Montignac is by far the more charming. Neither has particularly good restaurants. Visits can also be done as day-trips from elsewhere in the Dordogne.