Our third 'Patrimoine' visit of the weekend was to the 'Roc Aux Sorciers' at Angles-sur-l'Anglin. A place we'd often thought we should visit so as we could advise guests whether to go or not. In fact I have a free entry ticket that I won in a raffle but never used.It was free to all at the weekend.
It has been open since 2008 so we have had ample opportunities to check it out. This is the site of prehistoric carvings dating from 15 000 years ago, a kind of '
Lascaux of sculpture'. Well actually it's not - as you can see from the top photograph the actual site is at the other side of the village. so what you have here is an 'interpretation'
You enter the building you see from the road which is really just a reception hall. I understand that normally you can now only view the exhibition with a guide but on Sunday it was 'open house', although we did eventually catch up with a 'guided' group who seemed to be enjoying the experience with the help of an enthusiastic young guide - all in French of course.As you start your tour you are given information on boards about the original dig and about Suzanne Cassou de Saint-Mathurin who first discovered the carvings in 1950. She had been inspired by an article written in 1933 by archaeologist Lucirn Rousseu who had originally identified the site as one that had supported prehistoric life. She was hoping to discover a cave similar to the one in Lascaux but instead discovered a 'rock shelter' that had been hidden by the collapse of the earth above it that contained a 20 metre sculptured frieze.
There are no English translations but we were given an informative leaflet in English which meant we did not really need to view the placards (though Pauline did) here or along the concrete (shame) route to the visual display.
Outside there is a resin cast version of the frieze which gives a good representation of the original - but might it not have been better as a wall of stone?...maybe this would have been too difficult.
There is also a representation of how a family may have lived - st up outside the multimedia building.I found it interesting that prehistoric man (and woman) were such attractive people... well at least here they are!
The carvings are said to be the most important of their type in Europe - it's such a shame that you don't actually get a chance to catch a glimpse of them. Madam de Saint Mathurin on bequeathing the site to the state stipulated that it must remain closed to the public. I understand the need to preserve such sites but for who? Who actually gets to see them? My personal feeling was that the 'interpretation' could really be anywhere (even Disneyland) as it somehow lacked 'connection' but don't let me put you off visiting and judging for yourself.
There are guided tours in English every day at 11.00am during July and August.
You can find rates and practical information here