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The Dordogne River : a source of economic development


Office de Tourisme du Grand Saint-Emilionnais
Place du Clocher - 33330 Saint-Emilion

05 57 55 28 28



In the past, the Dordogne river was the only way to send foods and goods towards inner lands, but especially to Bordeaux port and the Atlantic coast.


When sailing up the Dordogne, the gabare sailors used the tides up to Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens. Then they had to call on ox-herders or haulers, men who pulled the boat along the towpaths that can still be seen today on the banks of the Dordogne river.


Gabares and courreaux were both flat-bottomed little boats used on the Middle and Lower Dordogne river. Since the Middle Ages, such boats were mainly used for the transportation of wine.


River transport on the Dordogne was progressively aban- doned with the opening of the railway line between Bordeaux and Bergerac in 1872 and the development of road trade.


Nowadays, the Lower Dordogne is also known for the formation of the mascaret. This sea-water wave runs up the Dordogne to the town of Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens and then dies in the villages of Vignonet and Sainte-Terre. This rare phenomenon in France is due to a sudden rise in the water level caused by the rising tide, particularly during the spring tides.


Magnificent landscapes are to be discovered along this river. You can find the 10 most beautiful panoramas here >


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