Lascaux IV, a life-size replica of the Lascaux cave in the Dordogne open by the end of 2016, was welcomed Thursday its one-millionth visitor, indicated to the AFP André Barbé, the director-general of the Semitour, the operator of the site. “The one millionth visitor has been identified and thanked on Thursday morning, it is part of a couple and their two children, originating in the north of France. They are left with a nice bag of regional products and have earned the right to come back and see us for free as many times as they want for a year!”, explained André Barbé.

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To this manager, “Lascaux, this is a story of magic, a printed mark in the collective memory”. “Since 1983, Lascaux II, we saw that a copy could be as successful as the original, this is what makes the strength of Lascaux”, he noted. The decorated cave to be original, old 18,000 years ago and dubbed the “sistine Chapel of Prehistory”, is inaccessible to the public since 1963 for preservation reasons. At the international Centre of parietal art Lascaux IV, the conditions of humidity, temperature and sound environment, however, are similar to those of the original, which was discovered by four teenagers in 1940, in Montignac. “We have this chance to have a gem: this color, the pigmentation, the drawings, the prints… This wealth of wonderful and incomparable is fully understood by the public,” says André Barbé.

Peak attendance during the summer

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Since its opening on December 15, 2016, Lascaux IV has been seen by over 30,000 visitors per month on average, or a little more than 1000 visitors per day in average. “But even if we are open year round, we do 60% of our turnover in July/August, when attendance can reach up to 4,000 people per day some days,” says Mr. Barbé. According to him, 80% of the clientele is French. The foreigners come mainly from Europe, English and Dutch in the head.

Lascaux IV had passed the bar of 500,000 visitors in December 2017, only a year after its opening. Its objective then was to attract around 330,000 people per year. Always open, Lascaux II receives approximately 70,000 visitors per year and Lascaux III continues on its path of international travelling exhibition. It is in Munich until September and will move to Naples in February 2020. “I have a thought for these four adolescents, discoverers, of whom the last survivor Simon Coencas,” added André Barbé. “They are the ones who have sent us this brand beautiful Lascaux”.