Exhibition brings the Lascaux cave paintings to Paris

Set to open in Paris on May 20, a new exhibition will allow the public to contemplate the prehistoric paintings of the Lascaux caves through a life-sized facsimile.

"Lascaux à Paris, L'exposition" will include scale models, interactive games and archival images, as well as a life-size, walk-through reproduction of part of the actual Lascaux caves.

Visitors are invited to travel back through time, viewing the caves first through the eyes of the four boys who discovered them in 1940, and then from the perspective of the Paleolithic artists who created the paintings around 20,000 years ago.

Five parts of the cave are reproduced in a facsimile displayed in Paris for the first time ever, including the area with the famous well scene. A special lighting system will allow visitors to see certain drawings not visible to the naked eye.

For a totally immersive experience, the exhibit will also include realistic anatomical sculptures of four Cro-Magnons: an old man, a woman, an adolescent girl and a young boy.

The organizers of the exhibit aim to convey the importance of this cultural and historic heritage site, as well as to educate the public on the "esthetic revolution" sparked by its discovery in 1940 and the reasons for closing the caves in 1963.

The first facsimile of the caves, Lascaux 2, was opened to the public in 1983 near the original site. The exhibit in Paris is based on the second facsimile, a traveling version called Lascaux 3, which was initiated in 2010 and first displayed in Bordeaux in 2012. Lascaux 3 was also presented in Chicago, Houston, Montreal and Brussels in 2013, when it was elected Best Touring Exhibition of the Year.

Another facsimile, Lascaux 4, is currently in the works and is scheduled to open in Lascaux in spring 2016.

Reservations for the exhibit in Paris open online starting on May 2.

For those unable to make it to Paris, images and virtual tours of the caves are available at the Lascaux website.

"Lascaux à Paris, L'exposition" takes place from May 20 to August 30 at Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles, Pavilion 8/B.

More information: www.lascaux-expo.fr