The 250-metre-long cave of Lascaux with its 1,900 images of animals is an outstanding ­example of the artistic quality of the engravings and wall paintings of Palaeolithic art more than 20,000 years ago. Listed by the 
Unesco as part of its World Cultural Heritage, this is the most important tourist attraction in the Département Dordogne. The museum contains a faithful reproduction of the actual cave. 

The development had to overcome a certain dichotomy. Scenographically, it was to merge with the landscape as far as possible and be virtually invisible, so that visitors would have the impression of being in the original Vézère Valley, where huge herds of reindeer, bison and horses roamed in the Stone Age. On the other hand, to help boost the economy of the region, a striking building was called for with an iconic appearance that would attract passing tourists and motivate them to interrupt their journey and visit the museum. Functionally, these conflicting goals continued internally.