The Dordogne River
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Jean-Claude Leygnac|
|• Land1||22.41 km2 (8.65 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||140/km2 (350/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||19010 / 19400|
|Elevation||166–441 m (545–1,447 ft)
(avg. 188 m or 617 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The inhabitants of the commune are known as Argentacois or Argentacoises
Argentat is situated on the Dordogne River, 30 km south-east of Tulle, 30 km east by south-east of Brive-la-Gaillarde, and some 15 km south-west of Saint-Privat. Access to the commune is by road D1120 from Saint-Chamant in the north-west passing through the town and continuing south-east to Montvert. The D980 goes from the town north-east to Saint-Privat. The D12 goes south-west from the town to Brivezac. The D33 branches off the D1120 east of the town and goes south to La Chapelle-Saint-Geraud. The D169 goes west from the town to Neuville. The D18 goes north-east from the village and continues north to Saint-Martin-la-Meanne. The D131 branches off the D18 and goes north to Saint-Bazile-de-la-Roche. The D129 goes north-east to the Barrage du Chastang. The D116 goes south from the town to connect to the hamlets of L'Hopital and Les Etables. Apart from the large town area the commune is mostly forest with some farming north and south of the town.
The Dordogne river flows through the town and the commune from north to south with the Maronne river flowing through the commune from the east and joining the Dordogne at the south-western corner of the commune. At the northern border of the commune the Doustre river flows into the Dordogne. Several other streams flow into the Dordogne in the commune including the Ruisseau du Laie.
Argentat lies on the border of three regions, Limousin, Midi-Pyrénées and Auvergne, although it officially lies within the Limousin region. It also lies on the Dordogne river below some deep gorges with tumultuous water. This location makes the town of some importance due to the bridges crossing the Dordogne and the important river traffic to Bergerac and Libourne.
Since Gallic times a village perched on a nearby hill, the Puy-du-Tour, has controlled the ford on a protohistoric way connecting Armorica to the Mediterranean. A Roman villa was established on the plain of Longour, a farming-oriented area, close to the Dordogne.
From the 10th century Argentat is known to have had a priory and a priest in a walled city. The town depended on a religious lord, the Prior of Carennac, and a lay lord, the Viscount of Turenne. Guarding his rights the Viscounty did not grant any charter of liberties and the local community had to be content until, in 1615, parish trustees were appointed to manage it. However from 1263, the Turennes conceded an important market on the Saint Andrew's day to the town which is the oldest fair in Lower Limousin. Argentat sided with the Huguenots in the Wars of religion which created a troubled situation for half a century.
In the 17th century, with the Counter-Reformation and the subsequent establishment of the Recollects and the Poor Clares around 1633 and the Ursulines in 1637, the struggles gradually subsided. With the annexation of Viscounty to the Crown in 1738, Argentat became the seat of a sub-delegation of the management of Limoges.
The town experienced significant economic growth in the 18th and 19th centuries from Inland navigation by scows, which were known locally as courpet, that allowed the delivery of goods (mainly oak staves for cooperage and carassonne-stakes for grapevines) to the Bordeaux region. This activity began to decline at the end of the 19th century following the outbreak of phylloxera, which devastated the vineyards, and the inauguration of the PO Corrèze railway between Tulle and Argentat in 1904 (this line remained in operation until 1970).
Azure, two keys Argent addorsed posed in pale with interlaced rings.
List of Successive Mayors
|1989||2014||René Teulade||PS||Vice President of the General Council, Senator, former Minister|
|2014||2014||François Bretin||PCF||Interim Mayor on the death of M. Teulade, general councillor for the Canton of Argentat since 2011|
(Not all data is known)
In 2009 the commune had 3,052 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]
Sites and Monuments
- Heritage House
- Saint Peter's Church
- Recollects convent, founded in the early 17th century
- Boatmen's cross
- Lestourgie masonry pier from the 19th century with a beautiful promenade, on the right bank of the Dordogne
- Convent of the Poor Clares, 7 Rue des Clarisses
- Hotel Turenne, the "Raymondie", 13 rue des Clarisses
- The chapel, built in the late 19th Street Rue des Clarisses
- Rue Porte-Basse
- Birthplace of General Delmas
- Filliol house (16th century), former post office
- Eyrial Manor (1457)
- Chateau Neuville, also known as Chateau Fénelon
- Chateau du Bac: the façade is from the 18th century and the dovecote from the 16th century
- Chapelle-aux-Plats, former parish merged with the commune of Argentat. Its chateau belonged to a branch of the Pestels family
- The Barrage of Argentat (Argentat Dam)
- Antoine Guillaume Delmas (1766-1813), General of the French Revolution, killed in action at the Battle of Leipzig
- Eusèbe Bombal (1827-1915), historian of Argentat, ethnologist, local archaeologist, precursor of Limousin folklore
- Auguste Lestourgie (1833-1885), Mayor of Argentat and MP for Corrèze
- Jean Douvisis, (1866-1926), creator of the agricultural associations of France.
- René Caillier (1879-1946), politician
- Emmanuel Berl (1892-1976), journalist, historian and essayist, stayed in Argentat during the Second World War
- Mireille Hartuch (1906-1996), singer and actress with the stage name Mireille, lived at Argentat with her husband Emmanuel Berl
- René Teulade (1931-2014), politician. Senator and Mayor of Argentat, former Minister of Social Affairs and Integration
A postage stamp worth 4.40 francs portraying the Lestourgie dock and beautiful renovated houses in Argentat was issued on 18 June 1994.
Several movies and TV series have been shot in the commune. In particular:
- 1995: TV series La Rivière Espérance by Josée Dayan
- Views of Argentat
- The Church of Saint Pierre
- Jacques Patureau, The Coal Mines of Argentat, Tulle, Mille Sources, 2001. (French)
- Eusèbe Bombal, Upper Dordogne and its boatmen, foreword by Henri Soudeille, illustrations by Simone Hymon, bio-bibliography by Daniel Borzeix, published by "Les Monedieres", 1981 (first edition 1903). (French)
- Communes of the Corrèze department
- Argentat Optique website (French)
- Official website (French)
- Community of Communes of Pays d'Argentat website (French)
- Argentat on the National Geographic Institute website (French)
- Argentat on the INSEE website (French)
- INSEE (French)
Notes and references
- At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002, the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" allows, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For communes with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these communes is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force in 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.
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