At 7:00, Stanley and I were the first to arrive at Grotte de Font de Gaume this morning. The moon was still up and it was icy freezy cold, but I was determined to see this. De Gaume features polychrome art and it is the last Magdalenian cave with this type of painting still open to the public.
Type in "images of grotte de font de Gaume" in your search box will bring up wonderful photos.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Font-de-Gaume will tell you all about it.
We early birds were able to get all four tickets, and there was a very unexpected perk.
We had to leave everything behind. No cameras, no bags, no hats. We were told to be very careful not to touch the walls. I expected our guide to tell us to limit our breathing, but he stopped short of that. Although he cave is still open, there are severe restrictions. Only 52 people a day. No more than 10 at one time. Very short visits. And only a tiny piece of the cave is open. We were only in the small portion from the Entree to First left passage.
Inside the cave, it was cold and dark. All the art had been done in flickering oil lamp light. Today, it is best viewed with a guide who will flick his hand over the flash light beam to recreate the effect. In fact, some of the paintings were difficult (make that impossible for me) to see until he did that.
Of course, no camera, no pictures. Here is a sample from the Internet.
The artists used the uneven surface of the cave wall as part of the work. In fact sometimes the natural surface is more important than the paint. This is very obvious in the first picture of the horse.
The use of color.
Symbols which are unique to this cave.
The absence of the "hunter."
It was a wonderful experience! Was it worth the wait? Oh, yes!