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39 bvd. Beaumarchais (Paris)
L’Annexe de DARWIN, 2, quai de Brazza (33)
T +33 1 77 45 36 50
F +33 1 40 29 43 85

39 bvd. Beaumarchais (Paris)
16, esplanade du Champ de Mars (Rennes)

T +33 1 77 45 36 50
F +33 1 40 29 43 85

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Circular economy # 1

The courpet

t, single-use and recyclable boat

The courpet is an old cargo ship of the gabare type, single-use, rowed and steered by a long tail oar, used in the Dordogne valley. It was used to transport staves for the Bordeaux cooperage and carassonnes (piquet of vines in chestnut trees).

Shortfalls were seasonal and limited to the fall and spring flooding periods. These periods of navigability of the Dordogne were called by the gabariers:"merchantable water" or "travelling water".

The journey between Argentat (Corrèze) and Libourne (Gironde) took 5-6 days in good weather, but nonetheless required that several courpets leave in convoy to face the perilous passages that are the rapids (called locally "malpas").

Designed to make only one trip, the boat, usually made of beech, aspen, alder, or sometimes birch, was dismantled at its destination and its wood was sold for construction equipment or firewood. The gabariers then walked up the banks of the river to their homes.