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Things to See in the Languedoc:   Historic Villages and Bastides:   Tautavel

Tautavel is a village of some 800 inhabitants in the Roussillon. It is located in a wine growing area in the Catalan The Corbières, between the sea and the mountains, at the bottom of the foothills of the the high Pyrenees ( The Name in Occitan. Click here to find out more about occitan.  Pirenèus,  The Name in Catalan Pirineus,  The Name in French Pyrénées), some 30 km from Perpignan. It shot from obscurity to celebrity when human remains were found in a cave near the village in 1971. Their owner was dubbed Tautavel Man, and his fame is attributable to the fact that he is one of the most ancient humans known in Europe. His bones are estimated to be 450,000 years old. Prehistoric humans seem to have exploited this area as a seasonal hunting ground.  The Arago Cave, where Tautavel Man was discovered, would have made an ideal base for hunting.
There is now an impresive museum in the village, along with some of the infrastructure you would expect of a site of such international importance. You can visit the museum, including a reconstruction of the cave, and take various walking tours. If you are really keen, you can sign up to help in the excavations.
Museum.  Well worth visiting.  Details are:
  Museum of Tautavel,
  European Centre for Prehistory,
  66720 Tautavel, France
  Tel. : + 33 4 68 29 07 76       Fax : + 33 4 68 29 40 09       E-mail :
How to get to Tautavel:
  By car: Autoroute A9 La Catalane, exit Perpignan Nord; From Perpignan: follow Foix, then Tautavel until Estragel
  By train: Perpignan Station         
  By plane: Perpignan-Rivesaltes Airport


Information on Tautavel and its surroundings:  Tautavel Information, Tel. +33 4 68 29 44 29

Official government website:  (Recommended)

Arboretum of Mediterranean plants of the Gouleyrous.   Several botanical waking tours set up set up near the Arago Cave. The species are equivalent to the Paleolithic ones (despite the difference in climate apparently!).  Some 255 species are featured, including pine, green oak, pistachio and olive trees, and wild vine.

Educational offerings.   As part of its programme for education and diffusion of scholarship, the European Centre for Prehistoric Research at Tautavel offers an educational briefcase (man's evolution illustrated with 8 skulls, fauna, tools, a poster, and an explanatory card index), casts, courses on human evolution, a photo CD, information, leaflets and other goodies.  Contact:

  The European Centre for Prehistoric Research at Tautavel,     
  Avenue Léon-Jean Grégory,     
  66720 Tautavel
  Telephone: + 33 4 68 29 47 40     
  Fax: + 33 4 68 29 47 66
  E mail :

Join the Excavation.  Work continues on the site. You can join the excavation. For more information click here.


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