Grotte de Pech Merle

Useful Information

Location: 3,5 km from Cabrerets, 32 km from Cahors.
Open: Palm Sunday or start of spring holiday to All Saints' day daily 9:30-12, 13:30-17.
Closed when 700 visitors are reached.
Fee: Adults EUR 7.50, Children (5-14) EUR 4.50, Children (0-3) free.
Groups (25+): Adults JUL-AUG EUR 6, other months EUR 4, Children (5-14) EUR 3.50.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave cave system, Speleologyriver cave. ArchaeologyPainted Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: A=280 m asl.
Guided tours:
Address: Grotte de Pech Merle, Centre de Prehistoire/Grotte & Musee, 46330 Cabrerets, Tel: +33-565-312705, Fax: +33-565312047. Email: contact.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1914 cave discovered.
1922 paintings discovered by two school pupils, André David and Henri Dutertre.
1923 cave developed.


Painting of horses and hands from the Pech Merle cave, Gravettien. Replica in the Brno museum Anthropos.

Pech-Merle has beautiful speleothemes and interesting waterfilled parts, but it is famous for its prehistoric remains. Beneath stenciled hands, engravings and black line drawings of mammoth and bulls, is the Horse of Pomelé a famous artwork. This panel shows two dappled horses standing back to back. The bodies and the surroundings are coverd by sprayed black dots. The panel also shows several stenciled hands beneath the horses. Very interesting is, how the artist used the shape of the rock to give the head of one horse a three dimensional look. It is radiocarbon dated to about 25,000 BP.

The natural entrance of the cave, which was used by stone age visitors collapsed about 10,000 BP. As a result the cave paintings were protected from destruction. When the cave was developed in 1923 an artificial entrance tunnel with a staircase an a tunnel connecting the The Combel gallery were built.

Another specialty are rare footprints of the stone age visitors. A dozen prints of an adolescent boy in two different directions can be seen. They are located between the Bear's Gallery and the Hall of the Discs.

Pech Merle even has some impressive speleothems beneath the cave painting. There are rare shields or disks in the Hall of the Discs. Two parallel calcite slaps are formed by water transported through the thin crack inbetween by capillary forces. Another extraordinary spelethem is a pool with numerous cave pearls.

To protect the fragile cave paintings 700 visitors are allowed in this cave per day. It is strictly forbidden to take pictures.