Musée National de Préhistoire

National Museum of Prehistory

Useful Information

Location: Les Eyzies de Tayac, in the rue du musée.
45 km from Périgueux, 20 km from Sarlat.
A20 exit Souillac, towards Sarlat, throughBrive-la-Gaillarde, 60 km.
A89 exit Saint-Laurent-sur-Manoire, 35 km.
Open: JUL to AUG daily 9:30-18:30. SEP to JUN Mon, Wed-Sun 9:30-12:30, 14-17:30. [2006]
Fee: Adults EUR 4.50, Students (18-27) EUR 3, Children (0-17) EUR free. Groups (20+): Adults EUR 3. [2006]
Classification: Museum
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Musée National de Préhistoire, 1, rue du musée, Les-Eyzies-de-Tayac 24620, Tel: +33-55306-4545, Tel: +33-55306-4567. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1863 Lartet and Christy excavated the cave at Les Eyzies (Richard's Cave).
1875 Reliquiae Aquitanicae published.
1891 Denis Peyrony beacem teacher at Les Eyzies.
1913 Denis Peyrony convinced the state to buy the ruined castle and build a musem.
1914 start of reconstruction, soon paused by World War I.
1920 first tours to a dozen important prehistoric sites offered by the Information Office.
1923 inauguration of the museum.
1928 Peyrony became Museum Curator.
1931 sculpture of primitive man by Darde inaugurated.
2006 museum moved to center of the village, completely redone.


The Musée National de Préhistoire (National Museum of Prehistory) is the praised new exhibition on classical research of prehistory and modern developments. Formerly located in the romantic castle of Les Eyzies, it lately moved to the center of the village, close to the town hall. The new exhibition is completely reorganized and modernized.

Les Eyzies is the center of classic archaeology. The ShowcaveGrotte de Font-de-Gaume is only 800 m away, ShowcaveGrotte des Combarelles two kilometers. But all began with the discovery of remains at Les Eyzies in the middle of the last century. Then at nearby La Madeleine more discoveries were made, which lead to a sort of gold rush. The abri of Cro-Magnon, an overhanging cliff, became famous for the 35.000 years old culture, which was then called Cro Magnon. All in all, if you study archaeology you may know most of the locations from your terminology. In archaeology many cultures were named after the place were they were first discovered, and the discoveries in this area are legion.

The Vézère valley is classified by the UNESCO as part of the world's heritage. 200.000 years of history, the whole Palaeolithic era, can be found here. More than 200 sites were excavated along the cliffs overhanging the river and around. The upper cliff terrace is a privileged position, overlooking a vast hunting ground and a main passage for reindeer. This was 12,000 years ago, during the ice age, when the first Magdalenians came to this place.

The museum at Les Eyzies shows exhibtion on prehistoric remains, reconstructions of the time including full size sculptures of prehistoric man. It was founded at the turn of the 20th century, when an already very long history of exploration had the be presented to the interested public. The first location was the castle of Les Eyzies, first mentioned in 1585. It is based on the work of Denis Peyrony (*1869-✝1954), who became teacher at Les Eyzies in 1891, met Dr Capitan in 1894, and the discovered most of the sites of the area with him. He wrote monographs and some 200 articles and scientific papers. His chronology of the Mousterian and the Upper Paleolithic is still widely used today. He and Capitan assembled an exceptional collection of prehistoric objects. Part of it was donated to the Museum of National Antiquities, part of it became the base of the new local museum.