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2011 Jul 05


A candidate for registration as a Unesco world heritage site, the cave is the subject of exceptional attention. It has therefore been closed to the public since its discovery for obvious protection and preservation reasons. Nevertheless, to allow as many people as possible to discover the marvellous treasures left by our homo-sapiens ancestors, the Ardeche County Council and the Rhone-Alpes Region have decided, with support from the State and European Union to create a reproduction - Chauvet Virtual.

From 2014, the public will be able to discover, two kilometres from the original site on the heights of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, a full-scale reproduction of the works left by humanity's oldest artists. Laid on buried piles and spread like a footprint on the countryside on an 8 hectare site, the Reproduction Area will include the reproduced 3,500 sq.m cave, a discovery centre, a teaching centre, an event space, a restaurant and a shop.

The most innovative techniques will be used to respond to the formidable challenge of recreating the emotions aroused by the original cave. All five of visitors' senses will be stimulated: the cool temperature, the humidity, the silence, the darkness, but also the olfactory sensations will contribute to the effect of immersing the public in the cave reproduction. The relief of the walls will be reproduced to the millimetre, and all the paintings will be processed from digitised originals.

Managed by the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Reproduction Area Mixed Syndicate (Syndicat mixte Espace de restitution de la Grotte Chauvet - Pont d'Arc), this cultural project is particularly ambitious. Forty three million euros will be invested. The future Reproduction Area will be managed by a delegated body specialising in managing cultural and tourist sites and will have the objective of accommodating between 300,000 and 400,000 visitors annually. The permanent exhibition proposed at Vallon-Pont-d'Arc by the European Prehistoric Research Centre and the Vallonnaise municipal council will allow thousands of visitors to discover the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave throughout the year.

The Reproduction Area will open in 2014.

For further information:

La prehistoire en Ardeche
Tel +33 (0)4 75 37 17 68

Syndicat Mixte Espace de Restitution de la Grotte Chauvet-Pont d'Arc
(Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Reproduction Area Mixed Syndicate)
Tel +33 (0)4 75 66 97 38
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