The Caves & Castles ‘Art Gallery’

What do people like about our Tours? We have some lovely comments expressing people’s feelings about this – ranging from a brief “that was fab” to long screeds which some folk go to great lengths to write on their return, describing their experience – which we’re glad to say, is invariably positive! Here’s an example.

On the first day of the Tour, Steve collects everyone (usually from Brive la Gaillarde rail station) and, to make best use of time, we get straight into your Caves & Castles Tour. If it is our Cave Art Tour, Castel Merle is the place we prefer to ‘set the scene’ for the week. It is as close as one can get to how the landscape was in the days of our ancestors when they were attracted to the Vezere Valley with its slightly more hospitable climate, following the reindeer herds which provided them with not only food, but various other materials to keep them warm and protected. Pieces of antler made great tools for knapping flint, the hides made shelters and clothing, sinews for ties and threads – and, of course, food.

Isabel Castanet at Castel Merle

Isabel Castanet at Castel Merle

After this tantalising glimpse into what is in store during the coming days, we then like to offer hospitality ‘chez nous’ – this also gives people a chance to meet Judie with whom they have corresponded during the planning and run up to their Tour. “Thank you for answering my questions” is often said – and even “ you are so patient – I must have driven you mad”! Not at all – we are happy to help and it’s important to get things right.

Welcome 'chez nous'

Welcome ‘chez nous’

We do enjoy welcoming our new friends to our home which always seems to be of great interest and we chat about the work involved converting it from the derelict
structure it was, to our cosy home in the Vezere Valley. Not so long ago, we actually got around to adding some finishing touches and now have various items on the end wall, some of which are particularly special as they were given to us by our visitors.

Our 'Art Gallery'

Our ‘Art Gallery’

So let’s take a walk through our ‘art gallery’.

Firstly we have an huge and very useful map of the Vezere and Dordogne Valleys which shows the various prehistoric sites and the rivers of the same name, the confluence of which is at a pretty little town by the name of Limeuil – it always scores a hit when a visit there is on the itinerary. The map is very useful to see where the sites are in relation to one another.

Map of the Vezere & Dordoge Valleys

Map of the Vezere & Dordoge Valleys

Above the window is a painted curved roof tile which we bought not long after we moved to France. It was painted by a local artist and shows part of the famous Lascaux bull and horses.

Lascaux scene on a roofing tile

Lascaux scene on a roofing tile

Great friends who we met through our Tours are the American artist, Greg Boyd and his wife Donna. Greg is a master at producing prehistoric style works, large and small, and in 2012 Greg held an exhibition in Virginia, USA which this poster advertises.

Greg Boyd's advertising poster

Greg Boyd’s advertising poster


The next two items are very special. They were produced by two young visitors in 2011 who spontaneously sat down and produced these two lovely pictures for us which we treasure. Leo painted the mammoth scene and Zoe the bison.


Zoe’s bison

Leo's mammoth

Leo’s mammoth picture

This next picture is special too. It’s a Christmas card we received from a special friend – what a clever idea to add the Christmas bauble to the reindeer’s antler. We love it!

Christmas Reindeer

Christmas Reindeer

Next another picture very kindly given to us by Greg Boyd – it’s a watercolour of the Les Combarelles lion – it looks so authentic and again, is certainly something to treasure.

Greg's Font de Gaume Lion

Greg’s Font de Gaume Lion


We hope you will join us on a Cave Art Tour in 2017 – there’s still some places available – and you would be very welcome to come and look at some of our treasures.

Steve and Judie Burman live in the beautiful Vezere Valley in the Dordogne region of South-West France. Together they run Caves and Castles, specialising in prehistoric Cave Art and medieval Castles Tours. You can join a small group (up to 6) 4 night/5 day Tour based 2 nights each in the medieval towns of Sarlat and Montignac-sur-Vezere or book a custom Tour for a day or more.

Professional archaeologist, Steve loves to share his passion for the ‘Cradle of Humanity.’ World famous sites such as Lascaux, the ‘Sistine Chapel of Prehistory’ and Font de Gaume are close by. Coupled with gastronomic meals and superb wines, your Caves & Castles Tour is really special.

Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.
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