Sunday, August 21, 2016

Drifting through the Valley of Man

The Vezere Valley from the river

Readers of this blog may notice I recently posted a story of a canoe trip on the Dordogne. Although similar, a day spent on the Vézère offers a somewhat different experience — trading medieval châteaux for prehistoric dwellings. As I paddle the 19-km route from Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère to the base camp at Les Eyzies de Tayac, I sense an uncanny connection to those who lived in caves high above the shores some 30,000 years ago.

A canoe trip on the Vézère river passes by high rocky
cliffs and large rock ledges.

The Vézère Valley is sometimes called la Vallée de l'Homme —Valley of Man. This area of the Dordogne has nearly 150 prehistoric sites, 14 of which are registered UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Our friends approach Pont du Moustier on the Vézère river.

Our route passes by prehistoric sites including La Roque Saint-Christophe, Maison Forte de Reignac and La Madeleine. Along the way, enormous rock ledges and tiny waterfalls dot the edges of the winding river.

Pont de Tursac on the Vézère river

A small waterfall on the shore of the Vézère river
Brochures for canoeing and kayaking outlets along the Vézère can be found at tourism offices. Paddles, a waterproof container and life jackets are included in the cost. Not all canoes offer seats with backrests — a feature my husband insists we'll have on our next canoe trip. Choose from a selection of launch points depending on how long your want to be on the river; our 19-km trip took about five hours.

Village de La Madeleine on the Vézère river

If you aren't too tired after your trip down river, visit Musée National de Préhistoire in Les Eyzies. One of the most renown museums of prehistory, the architecturally stunning museum displays tools, art and artifacts from 400,000 BC to 10,000 BC.

An ancient ancestor greets visitors to Musée National
de Préhistoire in Les Eyzies.

The terrace of the Musée National de Préhistoire, as photographed on a 2012 visit

No comments:

Post a Comment