Canal de Lalinde
Forgotten and lost between alt the different curiosities in the Dordogne I found a beautiful canal on my holidays in France: The canal de Lalinde. This canal is over fifteen kilometers long. The canal has been put into use at 1843 to avoid perilous rapids in the river Dordogne. The prosperity of the canal has only been short because of the rapid competition of railway and road-traffic. In 1926 the canal has been put out of use.
At a village called Mauzac a dike was constructed in the river Dordogne. By way of a lock you can enter the canal. When I follow the canal downstream, I find locks at Lalinde and one called 'La Borie Basse'. On my way I see a port-basin at Lalinde with a slipway and one in Couze especially for the many paper-mills which were situated by the river with the same name. The ports are abandoned, except for a solitary rowing-boat. This part of the canal misses a soul: A port without boats is as a man without balls.
That changes when I come to the village Saint-Capraise. There is a beautiful pedestrian tunnel that crosses under the canal between picturesque buildings and weeping-willows.
At a next port-basin an old barge 'Merlandou' is languishing ashore and then I arrive at the phenomenal staircase of locks at Les Tuilières where the canal is connected with the Dordogne again. Here I find a pair of triple locks with a basin in-between where the up- and downstream boats could pass each other.
On the top of the staircase of locks appears an old lockkeepers house which is renovated. Closely I see a dry-dock which can be put into use immediately as far as I can see.
Standing on the top of the staircase of locks I see the Dordogne running in the depth. The lock-quays of yellow stones are sloping somewhat downstairs and are a bit overgrown. I hear the water streaming over the lock-sills.
Downstairs is another lockkeepers house which is situated on a magnificent place. The house is situated ten meters above the river Dordogne on an isthmus encircled by the Dordogne and the canal. Above the lowest lock chamber there is an old bridge. On both sides of the canal is an long solemn double stairs going down to the locks.
Despite that the canal is not in use during the past 75 years, the staircase of locks looks good. The habitants of the lockkeepers house take good care of the scenery but I can see on the chamber-walls that nature takes it back. It is fascinating to see how nature gains ground little by little at this old piece of culture.
From there I see six waterfalls sparkling in the sunlight. All the gates are opened, the rusty service-mechanisms are for a greater deal still intact. It 's a pity that there is no navigating anymore. On a sign an initiative is mentioned to restore the old canal but in the meantime this sign is also fallen into decay.