Bort-les-Orgues is a town in Corrèze, in Aquitaine region Nova, 28 km southeast of Ussel, on the edge of Cantal.
Ranging from 400 to 788 m above sea level, its territory of 15 km² still belongs to the Massif Central: the town takes its name besides "organ", a set of stacks of magmatic rocks like pipes, and that are aligned to two kilometers, overlooking the city.
The physiognomy of the town was further transformed when making a dam on the Dordogne that runs through its territory. The lake holding some 1,000 hectares formed during the impoundment in 1952, it has engulfed several villages, contributed from the growth of tourism.
Dominated by the Puy de Bort (860 m), the town developed after the creation of a Benedictine priory in the tenth century. With a bridge over the Dordogne and fortifications in the fifteenth century, the city is attached to the diocese of Limoges until 1801 and its commercial vocation, add craft and industrial sites in the nineteenth century (headgear, working the silk and leather, textiles).
Labeled "Green Station", the town with about 2800 inhabitants is popular with visitors and tourists for its historical heritage and natural environment and recreation related to the lake. A destination of choice!
In terms of heritage, the small town has preserved some sites of interest, starting with the Saint-Germain church which dates from the 12th century and was altered in the 15th century, mixing Romanesque and Gothic styles. The relics brought back from the Crusades of Saint Germain of Constantinople and Saint Remède, who was Bishop of Gap, are kept there in a reliquary exposed at the entrance to the building. Still at the entrance, the church houses a magnificent 17th century Madonna and Child carved in painted and gilded wood, seated in an armchair while the Child holds a globe in her hand. The statue is framed by six paintings from the 18th century, oil paintings on copper plate. The whole is protected as historical monuments. Finally, it should be noted that the organ of the church is remarkable. It is possible to approach it, listen to it closely and visit it, all year round, but by appointment on +33 5 55 96 81 85 leaving a message if necessary.
In the center of the village, to see also, the 19th century market halls now listed in the Inventory.
We should also mention the castle of Val, built in the neighboring town of Lanobre but owned by the town of Bort-les-Orgues: dating from the 15th century, formerly overlooking the Dordogne and now the lake whose waters surround its walls, it presents an imposing silhouette that soften six towers with pepper roofs. The castle hosts exhibitions and concerts in season.
A visit to the Tannery and Leather Museum, founded in 1996 by volunteers, then allows you to understand a part of the economic and industrial past of the city. Set up in the old tanneries which once employed hundreds of workers, it presents all the stages of leather manufacturing (video projection, exhibition of machines, documents and products). Entrance: 4 and 5.50 euros. Information on +33 5 55 96 85 59.
Another part of the economy and know-how, but more recent this time, the EDF Space open to the public near the dam built after the war on the course of the Dordogne. This educational, interactive and fun place allows you to discover the different means of electricity production and how they work. Free admission. Open Tuesday to Sunday in July and August, Tuesday to Saturday in June and September and more specifically reserved for groups in other months. Information on +33 5 55 46 15 33.
Whether it is the impressive dam itself, the shores of the lake, the course and banks of the Dordogne downstream, the canyons of the Rhuie (its tributary, at the level of the Saut de la Saule), the puy de Bort, famous organs of volcanic origin, the environment of the town lends itself to hiking. A number of marked trails have been developed and allow you to understand the landscape, the unique geology and the mid-mountain environment, supplemented since the 1950s by the charms of the lake. Most of the routes are dotted with amazing panoramas. Maps and information on +33 5 55 96 02 49.
Many other sports and nature activities are available in the town, starting with the potential of the three supervised beaches (in July and August) set up by the lake: those of Aubazines, Val and Siauve. At the level of that of the Val, dominated by the castle, an "Aqua Loisirs" base allows the rental of pedal boats or canoes, or even the practice of jet-skiing, water skiing and towed buoys. Open from May to October. Information on +33 6 62 17 19 13.
For those who prefer a more conventional setting, the Aubazines aqua-recreational center, open in July and August, has a heated swimming pool, fun equipment (water slope, counter-current swimming) and well-being (Jacuzzis, hydro-massage benches). A solarium and a "green" beach complete the set for relaxation. Price: 3 and 4 euros. Inquire on +33 5 55 46 12 18.
Another more conventional pool but with a covered pool and an outdoor pool open in season is located in the town. Price: 2.30 and 3.30 euros. Information on +33 5 55 96 02 49.
Finally, for fishing enthusiasts, between the lake and the rivers, it is an understatement to say that the potential is rich at Bort-les-Orgues! All information on +33 5 55 94 37 48.
In July and August, Wednesdays at the Château de Val offer evening theater performances or concerts in the courtyard of the castle.
On the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, the Bort-les-Orgues fair (food products, clothing) perpetuates the city's commercial vocation.
Concerts in the church of Bort-les-Orgues.
Special guided tours for European Heritage Days. Free. Reservation at +33 5 55 96 81 85.