Approved by the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme
The Vallée de la Dordogne nature reserve, approved by the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme, is a remarkable place of exceptional beauty and diversity, proudly shared by the départements of Corrèze and Dordogne. The Corrèze part stretches from Bort-les-Orgues to Beaulieu sur Dordogne in a succession of picture-postcard villages, breathtaking gorges and deep blue lakes which provide a splendid backdrop for a thousand one things to do and places to visit.
The area is ideal for family holidays with easy access to the river which is safe for swimming. The Dordogne is also a paradise for fly fishing. The Corrèze section has been nicknamed « Péchistan » by well-known fishing bloggers.
The valley is also a great place for sporting enthusiasts ! What better way to spend a day than paddling down the river in a canoe with friends or family or walking through the hills above the Gorges de la Dordogne to discover picturesque villages and dams which are absolute works of art.
La Dordogne de Bort-les-Orgues à Argentat
Argentat used to be the main port for ‘gabariers’ (river seamen). Its emblematic quayside is a lovely place to stroll past fine, lauze-roofed houses with wooden balconies.
At the southern tip of Corrèze, the village of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne nestles in a loop of the river with plenty of water sports to try and a Romanesque Chapelle des Pénitents to visit.
The Vallée de la Dordogne opens up towards the villages of Curemonte and Collonges-la-Rouge, two of the « Loveliest Villages in France ». Curemonte is dominated by no less than three medieval catles and a 12th century Romanesque church.
The village of Collonges-la-Rouge is built of bright red sandstone blocks. It is a good idea to go there in the morning to wander through its narrow, traffic-free streets. Don’t miss the 16th century Maison de la Sirène which takes its name from the fine mermaid carving at the top right of the front door.
Before continuing your discovery journey to the Caves of Lascaux in Dordogne, don’t forget to stop off at the village of Chapelle-aux-Saints, where a complete skeleton of Neanderthal Man was discovered and visit the museum devoted to him in the village.
Between Argentat and Beaulieu sur Dordogne, the village of Monceaux sur Dordogne has a local producers’ market every Thursday evening in July and August. Take the opportunity to try their delicious products. It is not unusual to find holiday makers there with their Gites de France hosts enjoying local speciality foods to the sound of a Maugein accordion (made in Corrèze).