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A Detailed Tutorial Describing the Longest Rivers in France

The Longest Rivers in France
The rivers in France are famous tourist attractions and they represent the culture of their valleys. In this article, we will discuss the longest rivers in this country.
Vacayholics Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
From the breathtaking vineyards to the magnificent châteaux, France has always been one of the top tourist destinations for people all around the world. The valleys of the rivers in this country should not be left out while planning a trip here. Each of these rivers has a history of its own and has witnessed the evolution of the French civilization. Some of the longest rivers in France are as follows.

Loire River

The Loire river is the longest in France, covering a length of around 630 miles. It rises from the Cévennes mountain range in the south-eastern part of the country, and carves out a big chunk of area from north Alps to Orleans. On its course, it flows west and reaches the Bay of Biscay at St. Nazaire. The mesmerizing beauty of Loire river valley exhibits the land of rich vineyards and magnificent châteaux, like Chinon, Angers, Chambord, Chenonceau, and Villandry. This region is also known as The Garden of France because of the fertility of land along the course of Loire. The main tributaries of this river include the Allier, Indre, Cher, and Vienne on the left and the Niévre and Maine on the right side, which flow along its course. The region flaunts a number of wine sub-regions held together by the Loire.

Seine River

The waters of Seine have constantly been a part of the evolution of the city of Paris, and are still the heart and soul of it. In Paris, the bridges spanned over the Seine river provide the perfect romantic ambiance for lovers. The river is around 485 miles long and is famous for its mesmerizing beauty. It is used by commercial boats from Bas-sur-Seine to the river mouth. The river ends in the Atlantic ocean, covering a basin area of around 78,650 square kilometers. Besides Paris, three other cities, viz., La Havre, Rheims, and Rouen are also covered in the course of this river.

Rhone River

The Rhone river was used to provide an important medium for inland trade connecting the cities of Valence, Vienne, and Lyon to the Mediterranean ports of Marseille, Fos, Arles, and Séte. After the invention of railroads, the transportation route was changed in order to cover the distance in a lesser amount of time. Rhone is one of the longest rivers in France, and has been infamous for its underlying strong currents. When carrying large quantities of water, the current can speed up to 6 mph, making the transportation unsafe. This river rises in the Swiss Alps in Oberwald, and covers a length of approximately 505 miles. It divides itself into two arms namely the Grande Rhone and the Petit Rhone. Out of the complete length of this river, the navigable portion covers only 300 miles and all its branches merge into the Mediterranean sea. The river is Alpine in character, and its valley in south-eastern France is famous for producing red wines.

Garonne River

Garonne covers a distance of around 358 miles along its course. Formed by two head-streams in the Aragon region of north-east Spain, it originates from the slopes of Pic Aneto and flows via Toulouse and Agen, meeting the Gironde estuary at Bordeaux. The Garonne is subject to sudden floods and its flow is irregular, depending on the season. High springtime levels can be seen at its source, and low levels are seen in August and September. The area covered by its basin is somewhere around 21,600 square miles. Garonne is joined by three major rivers, viz., Tarn, Ariége, and Lot, along its course, and flows into the Bay of Biscay (Atlantic Ocean). Its main tributaries are the Save, Gers, Tarn, and Dordogne.

Dordogne River

The Dordogne rises on the flanks of Puy de Sancy and covers a length of around 300 miles along its course, with a drainage basin of 9300 square miles. Although it is navigable along 112 miles of its course, commercial traffic on Dordogne is not so heavy as compared to the other rivers. This river is formed by two merging torrents namely the Dore and the Dogne. The Dordogne valley flaunts its powerful aura of brave knights from the middle ages, and its culture and lifestyle attract visitors from all over the world. The main season for tourism in this valley starts from June and continues till late September.

The rivers of France cover a good portion of the country. They also provide a good scope for agricultural as well as commercial growth, and are treated as elements of national pride.
Eiffel tower in sunrise time
Bordeaux and the Garonne from above
Dordogne River, Perigord