France’s President Francois Hollande to step back in time at giant cave replica
But he will actually be above ground, inaugurating a giant, millimetre-by-millimetre exact replica of the closely-guarded Grotte Chauvet in southern France, unearthed by chance in 1994 by a group of speleologists who discovered hundreds of paintings by the our prehistoric ancestors.
Nestled deep in a limestone cliff that hangs over the meandering Ardeche River, the cave is closed to the public so scientists and artists toiled for years to build the 55-million-euro ($58-million) replica down to cloning even the stalactites and stalagmites that pepper the real cavern.
The giant cave reproduction, which from the sky is shaped like a bear’s paw, stands on a lush hill close to the small town of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, just one kilometre from the real deal, which last year became a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Photo credit: UNESCO
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