Standing on a viewing platform at the Grotte De Niaux. The above picture is looking into the valley, very characteristic of the Pyrenees and this picture is looking into the cave where 13,000 year old paintings are protected, totally intact.
They only allow 10 people at a time to enter and you must be with a tour. Each participant has a flashlight and that is the only light for the whole three hour walk. As I scrambled along trying bravely not to hold up the group by breaking my leg, the guide pointed out the basics of cave tours – stalactites, stalagmites, deep water pools, etc. until, long into the cave and without warning she raised her flashlight for our first glimpse of a cave painting. It really was breathtaking.
The group then played flashlight-follow-the-leader on many paintings in different rooms all with what I am sure are the most fascinating stories. I got most of what I learned from the brochure as the tour was conducted entirely in French.