Some say the Millevaches takes its name from the Celtic for ‘many rivers’, others that it relates to the thousands of springs rising on this northern fringe of the Massif Central.
Certainly, Plateau de Millevaches is the source of many springs and rivers, a sparsely populated area where sheep and the famous Limousin cattle graze; a land of wild places, coniferous forests, and woodlands of beech and chestnut - beautiful in autumn when nuts and wild mushrooms are gathered.
Old traditions remain on farms such as haymaking with rakes and pitchforks. Walking or cycling in late spring and summer are good ways to enjoy the area but be aware it can get cold in winter.
This beautiful man-made lake, covering over 1,000 hectares, is one of the largest in France and a well known leisure spot. Formed by damming the River Creuse, Vassiviere provides quiet inlets offering opportunities for swimming, and a range of water based leisure activities.
Walk the easy trails around Vassiviere’s wooded shores or voyage to its central island to find a sculpture park amongst the trees and open air museum. Such a picturesque spot is a fitting venue for the International Centre of Art and Landscape housed in a lighthouse-shaped building which in itself is a work of art. The island also has a café and there’s superb carp fishing on Lake Vassiviere too - either boat or shoreline.
The Valley of the River Creuse, is a landscape of great beauty which inspired nineteenth century painters such as Claude Monet and continues to delight visitors today.
The river flows north to join the Loire and dams for hydro-electric power have created a series of lakes like Lake Chambon formed by the Eguzon dam near the village of Crozant. The gorges of the River Sedelles meet the Creuse at Crozant and the bubbling waters here and through the wild gorges near Fresselines create a magical picture.
Higher up the valley, villages such as, Glenic, Anzeme and Le Bourg d’Hem offer wonderful panoramas from high above the river gorges. The whole valley is a paradise for outdoor leisure pursuits. Fast flowing rivers are great for canoeing, kayaking and game fishing and where dams produce lakes you can also fish or swim.
South of Gueret, La Foret de Chabrieres covers a chain of hills and Puy des Trois Cornes (three cornered hill) known collectively as the Monts de Gueret. The granite here has eroded into weird and wonderful shapes which emerge from the forest christened with fanciful names such as Judgement Stone, Wolf’s Stone, Moving Stone and Treasure Stone, each with its own legend. Marked trails take you through the landscape which has been inhabited by man since pre-historic times and which today is a favourite location for outdoor pursuits.