La Vézère: The Peyrissac – Uzerche river route.

Distance: 17 km

Difficulty: class 2.

Length:
- Peyrissac-Uzerche (17 km): Up to 5 hours (full day)
- Vernéjoux-Uzerche (10 km) : Up to 3 and a half hours (half day)
(These lengths are the maximum durations for downriver tourist trips when the water levels are low.)

Launch:
- downriver from the Pont de Peyrissac, on the right bank (the stairs to the parking level are on the right before crossing the bridge, when travelling from Peyrissac on route D3E3, heading towards Treignac).
or
- downriver from the du Pont de Vernéjoux, on the right bank (access to the river by the side of the road on the right, before crossing the bridge, when travelling from Eyburie, route D26, parking is on the left).

Arrival: at la Base de la Minoterie at Uzerche, upriver from the embankment at the mill (left hand bank), here after having crossed the embankment by way of an amusing chute situated at the right hand side of the waterworks (launching is then to the left immediately downstream from the mill).

Description of the route.

It is, along with the Uzerche – Vigeois river route, the tourist area of Moyenne-Vézère (the gorges downstream from Vigeois are more for sports enthusiasts).

It is a true class 2 route, because there are branches (sometimes numerous) to be navigated around and there are some parts where you have to manoeuvre between rocks.

The low wooded hills of the surrounding countryside compose the setting for this downriver trip. The Limousin cows in the fields next to the river, idly watch the canoes and kayaks go by. Mossy rocks and softly lit undergrowths contribute to the charm of this river trip.

 

Between Peyrissac and Uzerche: A narrow passage to be negotiated which adds to the charm of this trip.

Guide:

- 3 km after the departure from Peyrissac, the traveller will arrive at the Verdier embankment a little way before a bridge. It is crossed by a chute created in the environment (by SIAV, in 2006) The old bi-channel on the right bank, which has a steep angle towards its exit that is difficult to negotiate on the left, is not normally used any more.

7 km after the departure at Peyrissac, the traveller will discover the Pont de Vernéjoux, a launch point for half day trips. Level with the bridge, the Auberge de la Vézère offers rest and accommodation.

- 2 km after le Pont de Vernéjoux (9 km after departure at Peyrissac) do not cross the Jarrige embankment but take the greatly expanded old bi-channel on the right bank. After some wild water, the remains of ruined bridges lie in wait for the novice.

- 7 km after the Pont de Vernéjoux (14 km after leaving Peyrissac), the old Chaleix embankment is no longer visible under the vegetation, but you can easily see the foaming water on the left that you have to pass with some caution. If the river has been well cleared of encumbering branches, it is easier to take the large passage further towards the right bank, which opens towards the middle of the embankment.

- 9 km after le Pont de Vernéjoux (16 km after leaving Peyrissac), and a little before arriving at Uzerche, the Les Carderies embankment bars the river.
An ancient SNCF viaduct, over which the GR46 road now passes, crosses the Vézère a hundred metres downriver from the embankment.
It is necessary to cross the embankment on the extreme right by a chute (created by SIAV, in 2006).
Just after the viaduct, the canoeist can discover the buildings of the ancient carderies.

- 10 km after the Pont de Vernéjoux (17 km after leaving Peyrissac), you will see Uzerche, then on the last part of the river route at the end on the right - the renovated mill and the Minoterie site.

Accommodation:

Campsites in Peyrissac and Uzerche; Auberge de la Vézère at the Pont de Vernéjoux; chalets on the La Minoterie site at Uzerche; Base de la Minoterie (16 beds); Hotels in Uzerche
Further details about accommodation.

Sites of interest:

About one kilometre before arriving at the Carderies embankment, the "dolmen" d'Espartignac will be seen on the left bank, dominating the river Vézère. It is difficult to see from the river, because it is hidden by trees. It is a Roman or medieval fort which hides a way of crossing the Vézère (the journey going from l'Armorique to the Mediterranean). It is a very interesting ramble or mountain bike trail from Espartignac. You then go by the site of "Château la Blanche": Hardly any of the fortifications remain; a carpet of periwinkles corresponding exactly to site of the ancient courtyard can be seen in the right season. The famous "dolmen" on the same spur of rocks, is all nearly in ruins. It is possible to go down beside the banks of the Vézère by a very steep path and to walk round by the left bank, but sadly it is often overgrown with brush; On returning by the site of the Carderies (embankment, viaduct, old mills where wool was carded).