The 17 Most Impressive Rivers in France
20th January, 2023
Do you want to know which are the most impressive rivers in France and why? Then you have come to the right place! Whether you are planning a trip to one of the rivers in France or you simply want to learn more then I have you covered in this article. Read on….
- The Most Impressive Rivers in France
- 1. The River Gardon
- 2. The Tarn River
- 3. The Verdon River
- 4. The Adour
- 5. The Dordogne
- 6. The Doubs
- 7. The Vilaine
- 8. The Truyère
- 9. The Ardèche
- 10. La Garonne
- 11. Le Rhône
- 12. La Loire
- 13. Le Rhine
- 14. La Seine
- 15. Lake Serre-Ponçon
- 16. Dranse River
- 17. Nive River
- The Most Impressive Rivers In France- Bottom Line
The Most Impressive Rivers in France
When we hear the name France, the Eiffel tower is the only spot that comes to our mind. Besides this extravagant tower, France is well-known around the world for its beautiful landscapes, art galleries, and of course, rivers! Yes, France has some of the most magnificent rivers in the world.
Read on to this post till the end to know about some of the most impressive rivers in France for your next visit there. Don’t forget to update your bucket list for your next vay-cay in France. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
1. The River Gardon
If you are looking for a spot that has water around but is calm and serene, then pay a visit to the Gorges Du Gardon. The River Gardon is one of the most peaceful rivers in France, with a low-lying environment and the gorge is one of the most beautiful spots.
Because of the serene vibe, this river allows visitors for a brief plunge alongside the stoned river banks before continuing on the journey. The main attraction of the descent is the Pont du Gard. It is one of the highest Roman aqueducts, created in the early half of the first century, and is about 48 meters high.
2. The Tarn River
Next on the list, we have the Tarn River in South Western France. This river is spectacular throughout, but is most impressive at the Tarn Gorge, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010 as it is a spectacular landscape.
When you gaze around Tarn Gorge, which is a 53-kilometer canyon, the surrounding 500-meter-high cliffs will surely astonish you. If you want to stay overnight there, you can navigate through the canoe and caves all around this place.
3. The Verdon River
The Verdon River can be found in Southern France and is most famous for its spectacular gorge. The Gorge du Verdon is not only one of the most beautiful gorges in France, but it is also among Europe’s most stunning gorges. Tourists have declared this area as dreamlike and even more astonishing than the Tarn Gorge.
Every year, millions of tourists are lured to the Verdon Gorge located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Two beloved sites along the Verdon Gorge are; the “Styx du Verdon,” and “L’Imbut.” The former one is a tiny canyon that has been organically carved into the gorge, while the latter is a short passage.
4. The Adour
The Adour River is situated in southwestern France and is lovely, just like its name. This gorgeous river makes its way through the Basque country, eventually emptying into the Atlantic at Anglet after passing through the lovely town of Bayonne.
Just at the right bank on Adour lies the port and industrial complexes of Le Boucau and Forges. The area all around has a beautiful ambience that anyone could fall in love with. Bayonne is well-known for its fine salt, hams, and chocolate. So if you ever visit there, don’t forget to stock up on some quality chocolates.
5. The Dordogne
The Dordogne river is yet another amazing river in France. Not only is this one of the best places to witness blue skies and glass water but it also has a lot of other beautiful spots to explore.
During the summer, the Dordogne River is buzzing with bustle as tourists cool off in its clear, refreshing waters. Take advantage of kayaking, swimming, fishing, and relaxing on its tranquil banks.
Unwind while cruising the river in a classic “gabarre,” or flat-bottomed boat. Climbers are drawn to the area’s steep cliffs and rocky outcrops, while hikers and cyclists are drawn to the region’s rolling slopes and valleys throughout the year. Take a thrilling hot air balloon flight for breathtaking views of the area from above.
6. The Doubs
The Doubs river flows along a length of 453 kilometers. This river originates from the Jura mountains, which is next to Mouthe. Also, this place is one of the coldest places in France all around the year.
Cruise along the valley of the Doubs from Besançon to Montbéliard, passing through luscious regions and breathtaking scenery. You can visit major landmarks like Montbéliard, the Besançon fortress, Baume-Les-Dames, or the Reposoir Chapel to learn about their rich histories and distinctive traditions.
7. The Vilaine
The Vilaine is one of the longest rivers in France. This river has a strange name but still has a charming watercourse that stretches along the Redon, Vitre, and Arzal towns. It runs 225 kilometers from its source in Mayenne to the Atlantic Ocean between Muzillac and Pénestin in the Morbihan department.
River-cruise boats are some of the greatest methods to explore the port and La Vilaine. Make trips along La Vilaine to explore the region all the way to Redon. Arzal or La Roche-Bernard are two options for departure.
You can start your journey by taking a seat on a cruise boat. Sit back, relax and explore the mountainous terrain and lush green banks of the La Vilaine region. Additionally, there are “restaurant-ships” that depart from the dam in Arzal and go 42 kilometers back to Foleux, a tiny port located close to Nivillac. If you want to paddle a canoe, kayak, or catamaran everything is available here!
8. The Truyère
The Truyère is one of the best rivers in France if you like to have a walk along the bank of a river in a calm environment. It is situated right in the Aveyron department in the Lot valley.
In Truyère, a lot of interesting activities await you. You can start by exploring its past and intriguing present. If you overlook the whole area, it seems picturesque, depicting its vintage houses with stone roofs.
When you pay a visit there, don’t forget to click a picture of the 13th-century Gothic bridge. Besides discovering sites, you can also enjoy various activities like canoe or kayak riding.
9. The Ardèche
The Ardèche is a 125-kilometre long river in south-central France, most famous for its impressive gorges. The Gorges De l’Ardèche is another beautiful river in France. Moreover, the best way to explore the real beauty of this river is to descend from Vallon Pont d’Arc to Saint-Martin d’Ardeche in a canoe.
The Ardeche Gorges Natural Reserve is the name given to the region surrounding the gorges. Although there are no settlements along the gorges themselves, the Natural Reserve has a lot of beautiful landscapes and a number of historic settlements that are fascinating to explore.
10. La Garonne
La Garonne is one of the most surprising rivers in France because of many reasons. However, this river is most famous for fishing and other water activities, including cruising or Kayaking.
This river is sourced in Spain and eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean through Gascony. Massive waves up to three meters high, known as mascaret, are created at low tide and during the seasons when the tides are greatest. This is the ideal time to catch a wave on the river Garonne if you enjoy surfing or kayaking!
Go on a trip down this wild river to see the Garonne from a different angle.
11. Le Rhône
Le Rhone is the perfect river if you are fond of clicking beautiful landscape pictures. The river flows through the region, which is also surrounded by some well-known wine regions.
Moreover, Le Rhone is among the most visited rivers in France, mainly known for its relishing cruises along the shores. Besides, if you aren’t very fond of water, you can relax there and order delicious French cuisine along with some quality wine.
The lesser-known fact about the Le Rhone river is that it has the highest inflow of any river into the Mediterranean. Additionally, you can also swim into the water downstream from the Sous-Terre bridge to Sentier Des Saules.
12. La Loire
One of the longest rivers in France, the LA Lore is also the 171st longest river in the world. Because of its vast length, it covers almost more than a quarter of France. In contrast, the average discharge of the La Loire is only half of that of the Rhône.
La Loire is located in the southern Massif Central and it flows towards the north and west into the Atlantic ocean. Upon crossing the valley of Massif, it narrows into gorges. This significantly expanded stream runs across Berry’s limestone platform after being joined by the Allier.
The temperature at La Loire remains moderate, without any precipitation or dryness. The upper basin area can get snowfall in the winter too. Moreover, the area surrounding the water can often receive an autumn storm from the Mediterranean, causing floods.
Surrounding the La Loire river is its small but gorgeous valley. You can explore the Loire by riding a bike or going for a boat ride. If you are a fan of the canoe, you can have it at the La Loire and discover the gems of this valley. Also, there are a number of wineries surrounding the river where you can explore and indulge in a variety of authentic wines.
13. Le Rhine
Le Rhine is one of the most famous rivers in Europe, and it starts from the Swiss Alps and flows through Germany and the Netherlands. This one river flows across a number of countries providing some of the lushest landscapes surrounded by surreal vineyards.
The Rhine river passes along some of Europe’s breathtaking landscapes, with a length of 760 miles. You can witness these marvels of nature by hopping on a cruise ship. Make sure to not miss any of the serene sites!
The region of the Middle Rhine between Bingen and Koblenz is the best area of the Rhine. The hillsides above the river are dotted with castles, and there are quaint towns to discover. A day or two is sufficient to explore this beautiful town surrounded by castles. When you are there, don’t forget to take that perfect Instagram shot!
14. La Seine
La Seine is one of the famous rivers in France because it is the third longest-running river in the country. It flows 485 miles from Dijon to the English Channel. Serene sites of La Seine have been the subject of famous paintings including Renoir’s Seine River at Asnieres.
Because of its huge water discharge, about half of the water used in Paris is still provided by the Seine. Swimming has been banned in La Seine since the 1920s, but you don’t have to worry because you can still enjoy a stroll down the water shores.
The surrounding area of La Seine is surrounded by architectural masterpieces that have this Victorian touch to them. To contemplate the wonders of nature you can take an hour’s ride on the Seine cruise or get a tour bus to explore the neighboring sceneries.
15. Lake Serre-Ponçon
Whilst not technically a river, Lake Serre-Poncon, is worth a visit. This artificial lake was created after the devastating floods of the Durance and Ubaye rivers in the middle of 19th century and is now a spectacular site to visit. One of the largest reservoirs in Western Europe, Lake Serre-Ponçon is located in the departments of Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in southeast France. If you are a fan of nautical activities including swimming or sunbathing, Lake Serre-Ponçon must be your next destination to visit.
Apart from water activities, this river also has some other fun activities including; paragliding, cycling, horse riding, climbing, and much more. Bluewater and clear skies here will definitely intrigue you.
16. Dranse River
The French river Dranse flows into Lake Geneva in Haute-Savoie and is about 49 Km long. One amazing thing about the Dranse River is that it is surrounded by a lush green forest. Tourists love to enjoy a walk in the woods on the banks of the Dranse River.
This river is beautiful because it flows through a steep gorge made up of extraordinary rock formations from a geological perspective. Dranse river is well known for its white water rafting activity, where 6 to 8 people team up in a boat and descend into the river.
Dranse river is the ideal fusion of adventurous mountain boulevards while discovering a range of beautiful landscapes.
17. Nive River
Nive River is one of the best rivers in France for fishing and other activities like canoeing and rafting. This incredible river flows across the French Basque Country and is the left-out part of the Adour river that we discussed earlier.
In Bayonne, the Nive combines with the Adour, and the two sail onto Anglet’s coastline. A two-day trip is sufficient to explore the landscapes of the Nive river. You can arrange a rafting trip with your friends, or you can go salmon fishing.
The Most Impressive Rivers In France- Bottom Line
Here you have reached the end of today’s list of the 17 most impressive rivers in France. Hopefully, you have enjoyed this article and have already updated your bucket list on where to visit next time you end up in France. If you are fond of traveling and want to read more about it have a look at some of the recommendations below.
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- A guide to visiting Oradour-sur-Glane