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Caves with a toddler?

Level Contributor
45 posts
427 reviews
Caves with a toddler?

We're going to be visiting the area with a 1.5 year old. I don't think she's ever been in a cave before. Now, I'm sure all kids are different, but does anyone have any experience (or witnessed any experiences) with little kids visiting any of the caves in the area? We're trying to decide if we should even chance it on visiting a cave, or if it's not a good idea.

3 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
28,887 posts
95 reviews
1. Re: Caves with a toddler?

Roffignac has a little train ride into the mountain; that would probably thrill a toddler. We have been in Lascaux II when they turned out the lights and a small child on the trip to freak out. But the kid was fine when the lights were on which is most of the time.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
548 posts
81 reviews
2. Re: Caves with a toddler?

I'm going to be a meaney and say I don't think it will work for a 1.5yo child. They will be bored, and the lights go down on the Rouffignac train ride at certain points on the one hour tour too, so it could be offputting for her. And even if she spoke French, she will have no comprehension of what she's meant to be looking it. An hour is a long time to expect a little toddler to be still, and quiet enough for other people to listen to the guide.

One cave which may work is Abri du Cap Blanc, as you walk upright the whole time in a small but well-lit, accessible area, it's not in darkness at any time, and the child can be carried while you look at the large frescoes of beautiful horse carvings in the rockface, which can be easily viewed and understood, rather than interpreted. And tickets for that can usually be bought easily on the morning, so you can decide whether to go or not on the day.

Level Contributor
19,093 posts
16 reviews
3. Re: Caves with a toddler?

There were several children around that age on my tour when I went to Rouffignac last time, and I don't think it's suitable for them. They cried and fussed and generally made a lot of noise which in turn meant I couldn't hear the guide. I wouldn't say it exactly spoiled the experience, mostly because I don't like to think of experiences as spoiled, but the time I went without children making noise was a much better experience.

Lascaux IV might be ok. I don't remember it being dark particularly but it would still spoil the experience if the child couldn't be kept quiet. I think there was maybe more room to walk a little away from the group than in some of the caves. There might be a way for the adults to go separately on the tour while the other stays with the child in the museum, which is pretty big.

I wouldn't even consider Font de Gaume or Les Combarelles. I think rosemaryoz is right about Abri du Cap Blanc, although it's not exactly a cave. However, you can leave early if the child is unhappy, and there's room for her to walk around as long as you keep her away from the carvings.

There was a child that age at Grottes de Gargas, but that's not in the Dordogne. Again, it's open enough that the father could walk away from the group with the crying child, and it's not as dark as some caves are. I'm trying to think of something similar in the Dordogne, and the closest I can think of as far as spacing is Lascaux.

Personally, if I wanted to see caves, I would either plan to trade off so each adult tours on a different tour, arrange some sort of child care, or wait a few years. I've seen kids in the 4-8 year old range who seemed really interested, but before that age, I think it's unreasonable to expect a child to be quiet for a whole tour like that when there's nothing to hold their interest.

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