The river Maronne - Les Tours de Merle

The river Maronne

The Maronne is a major tributary of the river Dordogne. It encircles the “Tours de Merle” (towers of Merle) turning the castrum into a natural fortress. The river is also known as "petit eyge" ("small water"), and played an essential role in the history of the castellany. 

"Here, the river and mankind live in perfect harmony, taking breaks and letting time take its course..."  



The Maronne valley

The Maronne valley is a European Natura 2000 site and has a ZNIEFF 2 (Natural zone of ecological interest, fauna and flora) certification. Many rare and protected species live in the valley, including salmonidae such as brown trout and wild grayling. You may even be lucky enough to spot the paw prints of an otter and watch the riverside’s great dragonfly population in summer. 

The old bridge

In the golden ages of Merle, between the 14th and 16th centuries, a bridge made of two stone pillars with a wooden deck was used to cross the river. In order to cross this first seigneurial bridge, you had to pay a toll. The river Maronne often overflowed and the bridge was entirely rebuilt in 1735. It collapsed 5 years later after a terrible flood. During the entire Middle Ages, this was the valley’s only known bridge. Nowadays, visitors can spot the base of one of the old bridge pillars on the castrum side.

We currently lead a restoration project on the old bridge, hidding a part of it. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

The mill ruins

Visitors can enjoy a lovely stroll on the path that leads to the mill, along the river Maronne. Upstream, are the vestiges of a 14th century water mill, which was used for grinding rye and crushing walnuts, to extract the oil. The mill was in used until 1900. Relief canals evened out the water force that activated the turbines. A dike or "peyssière" was built in the early 14th century to store fish. Today, the mill’s ruins desperately need to be restored.