The landscape of the Vézère Valley The source of the Vézère river lies on the Plateau de Millevaches in Haute-Corrèze at an altitude of almost 900 metres. It travels more than 200 km to Limeuil before flowing into Dordogne at just 45 metres above sea level. The Vézère Valley is located in Périgord on the north-east edge of the Aquitaine basin, close to the foothills of the Massif Central and the Brive Basin. The limestone plateaus are divided by the river network and its tributaries. This landscape has been shaped naturally over many millennia. Over the glaciations of the Quaternary, between 2 million and 10,000 years before our time, the powerful rivers cut into the softest rocks, forming valleys both large and small. Along the way, they deposited thick masses of fertile alluvium. In the hilly region between Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère and Les Eyzies, the erosion sculpted rocky cliffs reaching up to 80 metres high. It is in this area that there are the many rock formation shelters in which homo erectus chose to live around 400,000 years ago. Since Antiquity, local people have always felt drawn to admiring a landscape that they themselves began to transform with their agricultural activities. At the end of the Middle Ages, castles and homes here had large windows offering beautiful views across the valley. This movement intensified from the 16th century onwards, with the construction of castles that were integrated into the landscape. Gardens and walkways lined with trees were carefully arranged and surrounded the sites for decorative purposes. From then on, panoramic viewpoints and balconies facing the Vézère appeared more and more. Today, the landscape is being worked to make the famous limestone cliffs that sheltered prehistoric artists visible again.
This video clip allows you to place Montignac in the geographical and landscape context of the Vézère Valley, which was formed by the erosion of limestone…
In this interview, Geneviève Pinçon, director of the National Centre for Prehistory, describes the exceptional richness of the Vézère Valley’s prehistoric…
With this audio guide, you can spend a few minutes in this distinctive 18th-century manor house, which is now listed as a Historical Monument.