Guests of three new holiday lets in Domme have the opportunity to tour a private historical site: an ancient troglodyte village housing two Monument Historiques, cooking classes, wine tastings, more
Three new gites de charme have just opened in Domme, Dordogne, that will offer lodging guests the opportunity to book a private guided tour of a pre-historic cave village, a complex of troglodyte dwellings that lay witness to continuous human habitation from Cro magnon times to World War II. The opportunity to combine spacious accommodation with bespoke experiences is unsurpassed.
The three holiday lets offer superior comfort and service. Located in the Commune of Domme—confirmed as one of France's most beautiful villages—there are one-, two-, and four-bedroom luxury lodging options, all with en-suite bathrooms, tasteful decoration, and superb touches like a terrace with views of the Domme ramparts, or a stone-paved courtyard with jacuzzi.
The gites were recently granted a rating of 4 Keys (4 clés) after an inspection by Clévacances, the French national rating agency. 4 Key properties present an “excellent level of comfort and equipment.” The Domme locations also earned 4 épis from Gites de France, another longstanding accommodation association.
Those staying in the rentals can enjoy the opportunity for in-room massage, breakfast delivery, grocery and housekeeping services, as well as cooking classes, guided cheese & wine tastings, and the Cave Village Experience. Superior linens are provided for each apartment and staff are available for concierge advice on local sites and restaurants.
The Cave Village is a complex of 7 caves in the cliff face at the picturesque hamlet of Saint Front, Domme. Saint Front is first described in the 14th century, shortly after the founding of the Bastide of Domme by King Phillip III of France, though Gallo-Roman remains have also been found there. However, archaeologists know humans lived at Saint Front starting 20,000 years ago or more, as testified to by the extensive wall art found in at least two of the caves, which were declared French Historic Monuments in the 1980s.
The Dovecoat Cave (Grotte de Pigeonnier) has, for example, a bas relief sculpture of two horses (both headless), while the Cave of the Mammoth (Grotte du Mammouth) has an astounding complete bas relief sculpture of a wooly mammoth 1.25 metres tall and 1.1 metres in width! Recent archaeological surveys turned up hundreds of artifacts in the Cave of the Mammoth, including 14 tools, and also evidence of human occupation during the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The Mammoth Cave has given rise to several published studies of cave art. These have highlighted the importance of the artworks that display techniques combining engraving & sculpture from tens of thousands of years ago.
Other of the seven caves also provide for a fascinating guided visit. For example, a kind of mini-fortress occupied one of the caves, and remnants of ancient stone masonry, a stone cistern for water, a massive fireplace, and a medieval bread oven still exist. This house also features extensive graffiti from World War II, when people fleeing the Nazi invasion of France occupied the caves. The Nazis actually bombarded the caves and adjoining houses in 1944, in retribution for resistance fighters taking up positions in the Domme forests, including the cave village.
A knowledgeable guide will present this history and more, alongside a visit to the complex, by appointment. The tour will trace this history of the whole cave village from pre-history, to Roman times, through the Medieval period, and up to World War II.
These experiences can all be reserved when making accommodation reservations at the web site www.experienceperigord.com or by calling +33 649 30 20 30. Only Experience Perigord accommodation guests will be able to reserve these bespoke services and experiences.
Please note: entry into the caves that a are classified as Historic Monuments is currently not part of the tour due to French government regulation, however, the contents of the caves will be explained and shown to participants by the expert guide. The visit is an off the beaten path experience, involves steep trails, and is recommended for those physically capable of hiking.