Barges brought cheese, leather and wool down the Dordogne river from the Auvergne, and those that returned from Bordeaux carried spices, sugar, salt and dried fish. Small boats arriving from the Massif Central would unload their goods onto the quayside at Limeuil, which were then stored in the 'Chai' (warehouse) before being loaded onto the larger barges.
After their heavy work, the bargemen would quench their thirst at the 'Ancre de Salut' bar, which served both as a customs house and as the home of the boatmen's union.
Today, take a trip down the river in a canoe, to discover the flora and fauna of the riverbanks, and catch a glimpse of the ancient towpaths.
The Dordogne River
The Dordogne rises where the Dore and the Dogne meet at the foot of the Sancy, the highest peak in the Massif Central. At the end of its journey, it meets the Garonne to form the Gironde estuary. The Dordogne was for a long time a navigable waterway, bringing economic propsperity to the region, and whilst it was in places dangerous, it nevertheless provided a living for numerous boatmen. Today, however, only the coastal reaches of the river have kept their economic actiivity. Wild and untamed in olden times, the river is now controlled by several dams - before these were built, the river was either a raging torrent in winter or completely dried up in the summer. The river was only navigable by barges at two times of year, spring or autumn, when the water levels were raised by either melting snow, or heavy rains.
The confluence from the Panoramic Gardens
The Vézère River
Rising on the Millevaches Plateau in the Department of Corrèze, the Vézère flows for 211 km, passing through enchanting and picturesque countryside, before joining the Dordogne at Limeuil. The bridges which proudly span the two rivers were built in 1891.