Loire - a river in France: description, characteristics

Table of contents:

Loire - a river in France: description, characteristics
Loire - a river in France: description, characteristics

This amazing river has for centuries been one of the most important water arteries that led from the very center of France to the oceans. And it was here that huge ships passed from the Atlantic to the heart of the state. Today this river is navigable, but the way to the center of the country is closed. The largest river in France is the Laura.

laura river

Navigation was widely developed on the river for about two thousand years. Here, since the 9th century, construction work has been carried out to build dams to protect settlements and for the needs of navigation. But often dams are not able to contain the powerful flows of a huge unpredictable river (catastrophes of 1856 and 1866).

Before we talk about it, consider what other rivers flow through the territory of France.

Rivers of France: a brief description

France has enough hydrological resources. There are no drying lakes and rivers in this country, a rather moderate maritime warm climate reigns, precipitation falls constantly throughout the year. This, of course, contributes to the fact that the entire water system is almost unchanged.

Complex of natural reservoirsFrance includes hundreds of the smallest bodies of water and large rivers. But this country has its own peculiarity. According to the terminology existing in France, rivers (fleuves) are considered to be bodies of water that directly flow into the oceans. And there are 131 of them on the territory of this country, and only 10 of them (Loire, Rhine, Rhone, Meuse, Garonne, Seine, Charente, Dordogne, Scheldt and Adour) have a length of more than 300 km. Moreover, the basins of all these rivers occupy more than 400 thousand square kilometers of the territory of the entire state (more than 70%).

These rivers of France are the main water collectors. The volumes of water flow at the mouths have the following values ​​(in cubic meters / s): Loire - 931, Rhine - 2300, Rhone - 1690, Meuse - 400, Garonne - 650, Seine - 563, Charente - 49, Dordogne - 380, Scheldt - 104 and Adour - 350. Their total annual water collection in the total mass is about 40-45% of the total annual volume throughout France. Approximately 33-34% are rivers flowing into the seas: Rhone, Loire, Dordogne, Seine, Garonne, Adour and Charente. The bodies of water that leave water within France are the Meuse, the Rhine and the Scheldt.

Loire River: Options

It flows into the Atlantic Ocean in France. The Loire River has a length of 1020 kilometers. The map shows that it is really the longest. Its basin covers an area of ​​more than 115,000 square meters. km, which represents more than 20% of the territory of continental France, and therefore it is the most important and significant river in the country.

Laura River on the map


The Loire originates near a small village thatis called Saint Elalie (in the department of Ardèche), located in the east of the Central French Massif. The height of this place is 1408 meters above sea level.

A river in France on its way crosses the northern and eastern slopes of the massif, after which it enters a section of the Paris Basin (the North French Lowland). In these places, the speed of the current drops sharply, and it turns into a rather calm river flowing through a plain with shallows and inlets. On its banks are numerous cities of France, such as Roanne, Orleans, Angers, Nevers, Blois, Tours and Nantes. The city on the Loire River Saint-Nazaire is the point of confluence with the Atlantic Ocean.

City on the Laura River

The path of the great river initially runs from south to north to the city of Orleans, after which it turns from east to west to the city of Nantes. Then the river carries its waters to the very Atlantic Ocean, without changing direction.


The Loire is a river originating on a rocky ledge (volcanic) called Gerbier-de-Jon (Ardèche department, within Velay and Vivaret). Approximately 150 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea, it takes a meridian direction to the north.

A mountain river flows at high speed over a rather uneven terrain between huge granite boulders of the Central Massif. It overcomes the mountains of the Velai crystal structure (they have numerous passes) and the mountains near Butières, in Foret, in Beaujolais, in Lyon and the Madeleine.

Loire: river regime, cataclysms

In autumn and winter, the river replenishesMediterranean showers and oceanic precipitation, and in spring, snowmelt and oceanic rains. In summer, the reservoir is rather poor in water. What this is connected with, we will consider further.

Rivers of France

These places are characterized by unexpected changes in climatic conditions, which significantly affect the state of the river. In rather dry summers, the Loire changes greatly. Moreover, sharp climatic deviations often reach quite catastrophic values. Various natural phenomena take place. Autumn mediterranean tornadoes occurred in October and September 1846 and 1866, respectively, heavy oceanic showers (winter 1910 and 1936) and prolonged spring rains in combination with sudden unexpected snowmelt (early summer 1856).

River tributary

The Loire has its main tributary (from the left bank) - the Allier River. Its length is 421 kilometers, water flow - an average of 140 m³ / s. More than 14,300 km² - the area of ​​the basin.

A tributary of the Laura River

The water in Allia is at its lowest in summer (July to September). Its source is also located in the Massif Central. The direction of the river flow is mainly north. One of the most beautiful French cities lies on the banks - Moulin (the capital of the department of the same name).

This river is unique in that freshwater grayling fish lives in its natural environment in its waters.

Medieval towers, attractions

The Loire River Valley has a huge variety of beautiful ancient architecturalstructures: castles, palaces, ancient cities, etc. They carry a fascinating centuries-old history of wonderful France.

Valley of the Laura River

Medieval towers once witnessed a variety of military events. Subsequently, having turned into beautiful buildings, they became magnificent centers of culture and art (they listened to great music, watched beautiful paintings, showed wonderful theatrical performances, composed and read poems, novels, and many others). This is the most wonderful, almost fabulous valley.

The main castles of these amazing places are Amboise, Langeais, Chenonceau, Azay-le-Rideau, Blois, Chaumont-sur-Loire, Chambord and Valençay. The magnificent Loire Valley, located between Chalons and Sully-sur-Loire, was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.

No wonder the Loire is the river, which is also called the royal one, and its valley is the royal garden of France, or the wedding dress of the country.

It should be noted that, unfortunately, improper cleaning of the bottom of the Loire caused the destruction of a wonderful ancient architectural structure - the Tour Bridge (1978).

Importance of the river for the country

The river for France is important in many areas. Mostly the Loire is a river (like the Rhone), which is of great importance in the production of energy for the country. Two barriers have also been built on its territory (on the highest basin): Nossan and Villerest (Allier river basin), which today serve mainly to cool nuclear reactors located in fourlocations in France.

River in France

In addition, the river is connected by a large number of channels with the Seine (Niveret and Briare), with the Saone (Central) river, with the river. Cher (Berry). The body of water is only navigable upstream near Nantes.

It should also be noted that the Loire is a river that contributes to the widespread development of agriculture and tourism.

In conclusion about the features of the pool

The rapids in this river wander from year to year. In the spring, when the Loire is filled with a large amount of melt water from a large area of ​​the basin, its shallows "wander" under the influence of a huge mass of water. They are transported by the force of water to other places, and for the most part new shallows appear at the places where the river turns, where the speed of the current drops.

After the melt waters go down, the Loire again returns to its former shores. You may find that the shallows are in other places, and not where they were in the previous year. It turns out that the river in France every year is a little, but changes its configuration at the turns.

The river also has a peculiar flow pattern. Due to the large catchment area of ​​the Loire in its lower reaches, it is often unpredictable. Flash floods often occur here due to the passage of prolonged rains in the French mainland, after which the tributaries of the Loire bring large volumes of water into its channel.

Laura River

Therefore, it is not uncommon here that at the mouth of the river the volume of water flow increases sharply to 7000 m3/s (flood period). And a sharp declinewater levels are also not uncommon in these places. In 1976, a record was set near the city of Orleans: the flow of water then amounted to only 22.4 m3 (the usual average flow in the same place is 400 m3).

Popular topic