What is the longest river in France?
While the country's most popular river is the Seine and the Rhine is the longest of all the rivers that flow through the country, the longest river that runs entirely through France is also considered to be the wildest in Europe.
The longest river in France is the Loire at 1,020 km. The river rises and flows into the country, with its source at Mont Gerbier de Jonc at an altitude of 1,408 m and its mouth in the French department of Loire-Atlantique.
The river flows north, northwest, southeast and west and crosses a large estuary of more than fifty kilometres (the Nantes estuary) before flowing into the Bay of Biscay. It is also worth noting that in its lower course it is enclosed between several dykes.
The Loire river basin has a total surface area of 115,0120 km2. Hydrologically, it is further divided into three sub-basins, each with its tributaries on the left and right banks. The main ones are:
- Upper Loire or Upper Loire: from its source to Bec d'Allier at Cuffy, at which point it joins the river Allier.
- Left bank tributaries: Bresbe.
- Right bank tributaries: Lignon, Arroux, Aron, Nièvre.
- Middle Loire: from Bec d'Allier to Bec de Vienne, at the confluence with the river Vienne.
- Left bank tributaries: Allier, Beuvron, Loiret, Cher, Indre.
- Right bank tributaries: Œuf, Vrille, Oussance.
- Lower Loire or Lower Loire: from Bec de Vienne to the Nantes estuary.
- Left bank tributaries: Vienne, Thouet.
- Right bank tributaries: Sarthe, Erdre.
The Loire river basin (Source: Riosdelplaneta).