The Rivers of France
While most people have heard of the Seine or the Loire, France has several hundred kilometers of rivers, canals and tributaries. There are four major rivers in France: the Loire, the Seine, the Rhône and the Garonne. Each of these rivers has several tributaries providing fertile farmland for produce and exquisite vineyards.
The Loire Valley is best known for the several hundred castles that you will find winding down the Loire River. The river itself holds the distinction of being the longest river in France, running 1013 kilometers from Mont Gerbier de Jonc to the Bay of Biscay. Along with the famous châteaux, you will also find many of France's finest vineyards here.
It is while traveling along the Seine that you can see some of the most popular tourist sites Paris has to offer. The river winds its way through Paris and you can catch a glimpse of the Louvre, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Almost equally well-known on this tour are the 39 bridges that cross the Seine. Of particular interest is the Pont Neuf, built in the 17th century.
The Garonne is not one of the best-known rivers of France from a tourist’s stand-point. It runs through the South of France and into Spain. However, it is significant because it forms the more western half of the Canal des deux mers, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay of Biscay. It is widely used for inland shipping and commerce.
The Rhône river graces the landscape of Southern France, starting in Switzerland and running its course to the Mediterranean Sea. It plays host to several well-known towns in the South of France including Lyon, Avignon and Arles. However, what the Rhône River and its valley are truly known for is its wine. Connoisseurs from all over the world visit the Rhône River Valley to get a taste of Southern France’s finest offerings.
The rivers of France play a vital role in the French economic landscape. The people of France have been dependent on their rivers for centuries. While providing trade routes and transportation throughout the country, they also create fertile farmlands and vineyards. Tourists particularly enjoy tours along the Loire, the Seine and the Rhône to see famous châteaux, the sites of Paris and sample delicious French wine, respectively. If you are visiting France, a tour along one of these picturesque rivers is a must.