Un portrait de Montvalent

Un portrait de Montvalent

The river Dordogne

The old pilgrim routes via Montvalent to Rocamadour

Right up until the start of the 20th century, three different ferry crossings of the river Dordogne at Montvalent enabled travellers from the north to reach Rocamadour. The crossing at the port of Montvalent (opposite Perical in Creysse) led directly to the village of Montvalent via St Georges and the priory of Issordel. The second, at the port of Creysse near Meyronne, climbed up onto the causse towards Rocamadour. The third via the port of Copeyre, led to les Fieux and Miers and thereafter to Rocamadour via Cantecor near Alvignac.

Before the 12th century Rocamadour was a modest place of pilgrimage dedicated to the Virgin Mary, overseen by the monks at Marcillac. Hospitalet, within sight of Rocamadour, was founded in 1095 by Dame Hélène of Castelnau as a place of welcome for the pilgrims.

A small chapel built into the rock already existed in Rocamadour in 1105 and the abbot of Tulle settled there in 1112. The first miracle, announced in 1148, attracted large crowds as well as gifts which financed the construction of more chapels. Henry II Plantagenet came on pilgrimage to Rocamadour in 1159. Seven years later, in 1166, the perfectly preserved body of St Amadour was discovered in the heart of the sanctuary and was subsequently displayed for the pilgrims to see.

The river crossings

At the height of pilgrimage to Rocamadour the Dordogne ferries were very busy and that of the port of Creysse made a good profit. During the Hundred Years War, in 1324 and 1325, the marshall of Quercy requisitioned all the available boats first for the use of Charles le Bel and Marie of Luxembourg, then for Philippe de Valois (king of France) and Prince John, Duke of Normandy.

From the 15th to the 18th centuries the ports of Creysse and Montvalent were owned by the viscount of Turenne who charged the lord of Creysse to maintain the boats and to manage their operation and to provide the necessary boats to service the traffic at each port. In 1799, following the Revolution, the ferries were effectively nationalised.

In 1824 the authorities decided that the ferries should be put up to public auction and the department of Roads and Bridges was given the responsibility for controlling the landing stages and the boats themselves. The records of the municipal council of the commune of Creysse on 14 May 1824 show that there was no purchaser for the ferry at the port of Creysse and hence the Prefect of Lot considered finally closing the service. But the ferry was still going 63 years later, as the council records of 30th January 1887 show that a new house had to be built for the ferryman.

The traffic using the ferries began an inevitable decline following the construction of the suspension bridges at Gluges (1845) and at Meyronne (1847).

See : BOURDIER Robert, Creysse : Notre rivière au fil de l'eau : La Dordogne, mars 2005




Discovering Montvalent

Evidence of the past...

A history

The Dordogne

The causse


Our ancestors

The Hundred Years War


Villages of Haut Quercy