During the First World War, France found itself having to import energy resources at high prices, as its coal mining regions had been occupied by the Germans. As a result, at the end of the conflict, the country provided itself with the necessary legislation and structures to release its hydroelectric potential. The construction of Marèges, the first of its dams built on the upper reaches of the Dordogne, was part of this approach.
The structure, commissioned in 1935, owes its design to André Coyne, who added some major innovations - a ski-jump spillway, anchorage of the gravity abutment on the right bank using 500 tonne prestressed cable, wall markings for gradual submersion of the coffer dam, internal deformation measuring using audible signals...
A. Coyne always emphasised the major role played by the Léon Ballot company in the success of the project. The mechanisation of the site and the mass production of quality cement were in fact vital in the construction of the dam.