Now before I start I want to warn you all that our review is our own opinion, while the Caverne du Pont d’Arc in the Ardeche gets great reviews on Trip Advisor we found our visit wasn’t worthwhile and wish had never bothered wasting our money. People obviously love this place but for us it was nil point.
While you can see they have invested a lot of money into building this replica cave (the original cave being the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave) there are a few improvements to be made in our eyes to make this a 5 star tourist attraction.
You can find our views about the Caverne du Pont d’Arc at the bottom.
About Caverne du Pont d’Arc
The original Chauvet Cave is famous for its 36,000-year-old art, which dates back to prehistoric times and is believed to be the oldest in the world. It cost £45 million to make and is located 1.5 miles from the original caves. The replica cave isn’t made to size, but is to show you the drawings from different sections of the original cave. Paintings include cave lions, rhinos, horses and more. It is easy to find from Vallon Pont d’Arc (there are signposts) and there is a big car park so parking should be fine. Also it is very disabled friendly/pram friendly.
Ticket Prices & Opening Dates
For up to date ticket prices and opening dates check out the main website for the cave. Ticket prices include an audio guide for non French speakers. You can book tickets online to speed up the process (however we waited 40 minutes in the line behind 2 families that had bought tickets online so I don’t know how much it will speed up the process!)
Food & Drink
There is a large onsite restaurant and also a snack place within the restaurant. We ate from the snack place where we got a sandwich and drink. Food was nice and not too expensive. Main restaurant is open between 12 and 2.30pm
This place has got great potential. But we found it wasn’t geared towards non French Speakers. The guide who took you round didn’t go in the order of the audio guide, this meant we listened to what the audio was saying and thinking “well that doesn’t look like a horse” only to find out the French guide was doing another painting first and then eventually we would see the guide point to what was the horse. All very confusing and frustrating.
Although I think they also do English guides now too, but from the website I’m not 100% certain. It wasn’t clear from the outset that you would be given a time to go in at, we also tried to go to another exhibit after the cave but that said it was timed entry as well, so we left.
Also as per other caves in the region nothing for kids. Our son who was 4, wanted to know what was being said and learn, but nothing for them. So we had to keep giving him our audio guide to listen too. These tourist attractions are missing something big not letting the children learn about everything, especially like our son that he wanted to know and learn these things.
We knew this was a replica cave but it didn’t feel like a cave…nothing like one to be honest. No smells, temperature…nothing. The audio guide mentioned the smell of rotting flesh…then you would expect to smell rotting flesh to make it realistic. It wasn’t realistic and felt fake. OK it is fake but after spending all that money on it, it should feel real. So would we go back, in one word no, but that doesnt mean other families won’t like it. Far from it if you read the reviews on Trip Advisor but then everyone has different expectations.
* Reviews are our own opinion. We haven’t been paid in anyway for writing this.