496km (308 miles) SW of Paris; 47km (29 miles) SE of Périgueux
The Caves at Lascaux, 2km (1 1/4 miles) from the Vézère River town of Montignac in the Dordogne region, contain the most beautiful and most famous cave paintings in the world. Unfortunately, you can't view the actual paintings (the caves have been closed to the public to prevent deterioration), but a replica gives you a clear picture of the remarkable works.
Four boys looking for a dog discovered the caves in 1940, which opened to the public in 1948, quickly becoming one of France's major attractions and drawing 125,000 visitors annually. However, the hordes of tourists caused atmospheric changes in the caves, endangering the paintings. Scientists went to work to halt the deterioration, known as "the green sickness."