Few places in Europe are as wild and spectacular as the Pyrenees mountains dividing France and Spain. As long as 100,000 years ago, hunting tribes were using the web of caves along the Pyrenees foothills as shelters and sanctuaries. They left tools, carvings and paintings that tell the tale. Yet only a few caves with wall paintings can be visited, and the objects found in the caves - the myriad spears, carved bones, axes - are carefully guarded in museums. But Tarascon-sur-Ariege, a village in the foothills on the French side of the Pyrenees, recently completed a 13-hectare park to evoke those ancient times. It has molded a landscape of boulders and springs, studded with images of the great animals, the bison, cave bears and reindeer that once roamed here. It has also built a large underground model of a painted cave. The cave model is based on the nearby caves of Niaux, which are set in a deep gorge just a 20-minute drive away. Niaux itself, with its magnificent 12,000 BC paintings, is open to the public, but large parts of the cave network are off-limits and groups of no more than 20 people are allowed to enter only three times a day. Interest in prehistoric art has soared in France, spurred by the discoveries of two spectacular painted caves, one near Marseilles in 1991 and another in the Ardeche valley in 1994. The park at Tarascon-sur-Ariege, which took four years to plan and two more years and HK$61 million to build, has drawn more than 50,000 people this summer. The park is set in a high valley, surrounded by forested slopes. On a large open range, visitors can get a sense of what it was like to go after one's next meal by throwing spears at wooden mock-ups of wolves and bears. The model cave has copies of the Niaux murals.