An integral part of the famous Dordogne river basin, which is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the upper valley of the Dordogne stretches from Bort-les-Orgues to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne in Corrèze, and will enchant lovers of landscapes and old buildings with its wild gorges, reservoirs, wooded riverbanks and typical old towns! There are many marked paths where you can hike, or ride a horse or mountain bike through green, hilly beauty spots.
Keen photographers will be delighted by the panoramic viewpoints at the Busatier Rock in Marcillac-la-Croisille and Gratte-Bruyère in Sérandon, which both offer a spectacular view of the Dordogne's wild gorges. Designated picnic areas also make it a very pleasant place for a snack.
When it comes to water sports, you'll be spoilt for choice: swimming, fishing, pedalo, sailing, water skiing and boat cruises on Lake Bort-les-Orgues; canoe-kayak in the Upper Dordogne gorges. Between April and the end of October, you can also opt for a trip in a kind of barge known as a gabare, a traditional boat that was once used to transport goods. These picturesque guided outings can be enjoyed near Argentat and Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, on the tranquil waters of the Dordogne. Barge cruises are also available on the Chastang dam reservoir, departing from the old bargemen's village of Spontour, for a pleasant boat ride in the middle of the gorges.
When it comes to built heritage, the upper valley of the Dordogne has plenty to offer, as evidenced by the charming medieval towns of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne and Argentat, both nestling on the banks of the peaceful river.
Fans of industrial tourism? Guided tours are organised at Chastang dam, 11 km from Argentat in the municipality of Servières-le-Château. At the foot of the hydropower structure is an information area where you can learn all about the skills involved in hydropower generation and understand the importance of this form of renewable energy. As you explore the Dordogne gorges, you will have an opportunity to see other impressive dams like those of L'Aigle or Marèges.