La Min-sú de Terrasson

retreat, reflect, refresh

White and purple Périgord highlights

he Périgord is divided into four distinct areas: Noir (Black), Blanc (White), Vert (Green) and Pourpre (Purple). Terrasson, the UNESCO recognized Vézère valley, Sarlat, as well as the 'golden stretch' of the Dordogne valley, are all located in the Périgord noir (find more information here).

The Isle river is at the center of the Périgord blanc and is home to the capital city of Périgueux (find more imformation here). The white Périgord can be explored through the voie verte de la vallée de l'Isle (VR90 Périgueux - Libourne).

The purple Périgord is quite distinct as it is famous for its wine areas; the Pécharmant, Rosette, Monbazillac, Saussignac and Montravel, surrounding the city of Bergerac. It is also the 'pays de bastides', the medeaval 'new towns' constructed in the rivalry between the ‘French’ (Capetian) and Angevin (‘English’) kings to assert their dominace.

map_location_perigord_blancThe voie vertes of Bergerac, 'des grands barrages' and the Lalinde canal (part of the VR91 Dordogne valley) are great ways to explore the area. Or dedicate a day to visiting Bergerac, some of the wine producers and the Monbazillac castle.

Voie verte de la vallée de l'Isle

Grands itinéraires a vélo en Dordogne Périgord, build on european and national véloroutes. (see long distance cycling routes on the econtourism page). V90 Isle Valley connects Périgueux with Libourne (Gironde) and on to Bordeaux. LA flow vélo conecting the Île d'Aix/Rochefort on the Atlantic coast with Thiviers through Saintes - Cognac - Angoulême - Nontron. can be accessed through the VR Périgueux / flow vélo et Miallet. Dans la Roue de Lawrence d'Arabie

The start of the VR90 is also known as the Voie Verte des Berges de l'Isle: Trélissac - Périgueux and Périgueux - Marsac sur l'Isle. For details on the Voie Verte du Manoire connecting Périgueux - Saint-Laurent-sur-Manoire - Niversac, see the Périgueux page.

Canal de l'Isle

Historic navigability of the Isle river is suggested by the construction of the Petrucores people’s oppodium and the Roman city of Vésunna on its side. And attested by the Norman visits of 849 and 863 to Périgueux. It was however king Edward I of England who in 1274 listed the Isle as a navigable waterway.

In the 15th century, the municipality of Périgueux makes some efforts in this direction, and by 1507 the Parliament of Bordeaux orders the destruction of mills and other obstacles to facilitate navigation. As mills (and fisheries) were important sources of income to the local lords, the decree is never implemented.

Under the royal ordinance of 1669, royal engineer Ferry (1649-1701) developed a plan for a ‘pas de roi’ between Coutras and Périgueux. In 1765, a decree of the King's Council ordered the creation of locks, and by 1780, the Coutras-Mussidan section was actually completed.

The (French) Revolution delayed further construction until 1821, when the ‘Compagnie de Navigation de l'Isle’ relaunched the project. Between 1821 and 1837, 30 new locks were built and 10 existing locks renovated, resulting in 40 locks, 42 dams and 28 derivation canals between Libourne and Périgueux.

The most important diversion canals are: the 1.4 kilometer long Canal d'Anesse near Annesse-et-Beaulieu, the canals of Saint-Astier, Gravelle and the Canal de la Filolie in Bénévent. With smaller diversions at Duellas, Marcillac, Chollet and Camps.

A plaque in the lock de la Cité commemorates the 1837 inauguration on behalf of Philippe 1er, Roi des Français. A 20 years period of prosperity will follow. In 1857, at the height of river navigation, the 2 km long Canal de Campniac provided access to a new port in front of the cathedral of Périgueux through the écluse de Ste-Claire.

However, this was also the year the Coutras - Périgeux railway line opened, which facilitated the decline in river navigation. Commerce and industry favored the efficiency of rail transport. By 1938 the Dordogne departmental council requested the declassification of the Isle as a navigable river. Some use was made of the river’s lower reaches and official declassification had to wait till 1957, after which no more maintenance budget was allocated.

Currently, the ‘Syndicat Mixte du Bassin de l'Isle (SMBI)’, a public service managed by elected representatives of five local communities (4 rural communautés de communes and the urban agglomération of Périgueux) . The SMBI carries out the maintenance of the locks, to maintain water levels for agriculture, wetlands and hydroelectric facilities as well as for the use of green tourism.

Since 1998 the Gabare rides from the Duelllas mill (near Montpon) take tours through renovated locks upstream.

Trélissac - Périgueux

Périgueux - Marsac sur l'Isle

The Manor house is a beautiful 17th century building constructed in the local golden stone with a slate roof. It has a charming graveled courtyard flanked by two smaller stone buildings also in yellow natural stone with tall slate roofs. Les Jardins d'Eyrignac is a topiary garden on a huge scale. Begun in the 18th century the gardens were inspired by the Italian gardens popular at the time. Covering many hectares the garden is roughly split into 5 main areas known: the Box Labyrinth; the Plant Sculptures Kingdom; the Manor and French garden; Capucine's gardens and the White Garden and Flower Meadow. The gardens have been classified as a 'Jardin Remarquable'. (Entrance fee)

Marsac sur l'Isle - Annesse et Beaulieu

Annesse et Beaulieu - St.Astier

St.Astier - St.Leon sur l'Isle

St.Leon sur l'Isle - Neuvic sur l'Isle

Neuvic sur l'Isle - St.Louis en l'Isle

St.Louis en l'Isle - St.Front de Pardoux

St.Front de Pardoux - Mussidan

Mussidan - St.Laurent des Hommes

St.Laurent des Hommes - Montpon-Ménestérol

Montpon-Ménestérol - Ménesplet

Ménesplet - Moulin Neuf

Route Km stops
Trélissac - Périgueux 8.9 3, 5.6 and 7.3
Périgueux - Marsac sur l'Isle 7.7 3.2
Marsac sur l'Isle - Annesse et Beaulieu 7.4 3.5
Annesse et Beaulieu - St.Astier 7.5 0.8, 2.1 and 6
St.Astier - St.Leon sur l'Isle 4.4
St.Leon sur l'Isle - Neuvic sur l'Isle 4.8
Neuvic sur l'Isle - St.Louis en l'Isle 14.2 2..4, 4.5, 7.9 and 11.2
St.Louis en l'Isle - St.Front de Pardoux 3 2
St.Front de Pardoux - Mussidan 2.4
Mussidan - St.Laurent des Hommes 16.2 1.1 and 3.6
St.Laurent des Hommes - Montpon-Ménestérol 12.8 1.7, 5.4 and 9.4
Montpon-Ménestérol - Ménesplet 6.2 1.4 and 3.4
Ménesplet - Moulin Neuf 8.4 5.5

The purple Périgord



Voie verte Bergerac



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