The origins of Souillac-sur-Dordogne are intertwined with the monks who founded a monastery culminating in the construction of the beautiful 12th century abbey Sainte Marie.
The abbey brought newfound importance to the village of Souillac and saw it grow into an important town.
Like many major centres along the Dordogne river, Souillac served as a port for the river trade that dominated the region. Gabares (flat-bottomed boats/barges) transported wood downstream on a route that stretched from the Auvergne to Bordeaux. In turn, wine, salt and exotic goods from the French colonies were brought back from Bordeaux into the Valley. It was perilous and backbreaking work, as a team of men with ropes on either side of the river literally pulled the gabares back upstream.