Tuesday, 15 May 2012

La Corrèze #1

La Corrèze

My wife and I have just returned from two weeks in the Corrèze departement of France, near to the town of Argentat, on the banks of the Dordogne river. Our home was a beautiful gîte with stunning views over the river valley (thanks to Sue and Pete for letting us stay there....again...)

The area has very fertile soil, with walnut trees everywhere. A wide variety of arable crops are grown too and one can see many small herds (8-12 head) of Limousin cattle, which are farmed for beef. There are very few, if any commercial vineyards to be found.

The area is popular for canoeing, with a number of companies providing canoeing holidays from their bases on the banks of the river. The river is also popular for fishing, with trout and grayling being the main species sought.

Our base

View from above the gîte looking north
As in the UK, April had been extremely wet and water levels in the rivers were unusually high, flooding out the local camp site.


The town of Argentat lies conveniently about 4km upstream - perfect cycling distance - boasting a stunning waterfront with bars, cafés and ice cream parlours. The main town has a large number of shops and excellent restaurants.
Argentat from the road bridge looking East
Just above the town of Argentat is Le Barrage du Sablier, one of a number of hydro-electric dams that also  operate together to regulate water levels. The river here is about 100m wide and huge volumes of water were passing through.

In stark contrast, the view of the other side of the barrage is totally serene - like a millpond - with views to the Château du Gibael campsite.

View upstream from the barrage showing the Château du Gibanel campsite


About 20km downstream of our base lies Beaulieu-sur-dordoge, a town that we had visited before and were keen to return to. We found a circular walk in a guide book from the market square that took us out into the countryside, offering great views of the river and the town below, before returning back to the town. The light was very contrasty so I used a polariser to hold in the highlights and sky.

View of the riverside walk - a footpath runs in front of the benches!

I was inspired by Anthony to take this image - a woman on her mobile outside of her cosmetic/perfume shop

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