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Loire
France map with Loire highlighted.jpg
Loire
Origin Massif Central
Mouth Atlantic Ocean
47°16′9″N 2°11′9″W / 47.26917°N 2.18583°W / 47.26917; -2.18583 (Atlantic Ocean-Loire)Coordinates: 47°16′9″N 2°11′9″W / 47.26917°N 2.18583°W / 47.26917; -2.18583 (Atlantic Ocean-Loire)
Basin countries France
Length 1,013 km (629 miles)
Source elevation 1,408 m (4607 ft)
Avg. discharge 850 m3/s (30,000 cu ft/s)
Basin area 117,001 km2 (45,174 sq mi)
The Loire at Decize
The Loire spanned at Nantes

The Loire (French pronunciation: [lwaʁ]) is the longest river in France. With a length of 1,013 kilometres (629 mi), it drains an area of 117,000 km2 (45,000 sq mi), which represents more than a fifth of France's land area. It rises in the Cévennes in the département of Ardèche at 1,350 m (4,430 ft) near Mont Gerbier de Jonc, and flows for over 1,000 km (620 mi) north through Nevers to Orléans, then west through Tours and Nantes until it reaches the Bay of Biscay at St Nazaire. Its main tributaries include the Maine, Nièvre and the Erdre rivers on its right bank, and the Allier, Cher, Indre, Vienne, and the Sèvre Nantaise rivers on the left bank. The Loire gives its name to six départements: Loire, Haute-Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire, and Saône-et-Loire. The central part of the Loire Valley was added to the World Heritage Sites list of UNESCO on December 2, 2000. The banks are characterised by vineyards and chateaux in the Loire Valley.

Contents

Name

The name "Loire" comes from Latin Liger, which is itself a transcription of the native Gaulish (Celtic) name of the river. The Gaulish name comes from the Gaulish word liga, which means "silt, sediment, deposit, alluvium", a word that gave French lie, as in sur lie, which in turn gave English lees. Liga comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *legh-, meaning "to lie, lay", which gave many words in English, such as to lie, to lay, ledge, law, etc.

In French the adjective derived from the river is ligérien, as in le climat ligérien ("the climate of the Loire Valley"), a climate considered the most pleasant of northern France, with warmer winters and, more generally, fewer extremes in temperatures, rarely exceeding 38 °C (100 °F).

Origins of the river

The Loire in Orléans.
Looking towards central Tours from the north bank of the River Loire.

Studies of the paleogeography of the region suggest that in the Pleistocene the paleo-Loire continued its northward flow and joined the Seine,[1] while the lower Loire found its source upstream of Orléans in the region of Gien, flowing westward along the present course. At a certain point during the long history of uplift in the Paris Basin, the lower, Atlantic Loire captured the "paleo-Loire" or Loire séquanaise ("Loire-Seine"), producing the present river. The former bed of the Loire séquanaise is occupied by the Loing.

Geography

Originating in Ardèche, in springs on Mont Gerbier de Jonc in the north-eastern part of the southern Cévennes highlands, the Loire flows roughly northward through Roanne and Nevers to Orléans and thereafter westward through Tours to the Atlantic at Nantes, where it forms an estuary. Changes in the river's water levels have sometimes resulted in serious flooding, notably in 1856, 1866 and 1911.

Unlike most other rivers in western Europe, there are very few dams or locks creating obstacles to its natural flow. The Villerest dam, built in 1985 a few kilometres south of Roanne, has played a key-role in preventing recent flooding. As a result, the Loire is a very popular river for boating excursions, flowing through a pastoral countryside, past limestone cliffs and historic castles.

Navigation

For over 2,000 years, the Loire was one of the great highways of France, but the coming of the railway in the 19th century caused a collapse in the river's commercial navigation. Today the river is only regarded as navigable as far as Bouchemaine, where the Maine joins it near Angers, together with a short stretch much further upstream at Decize, where a river level crossing from the Canal latéral à la Loire connects to the Canal du Nivernais.

The Phoenicians and Greeks had used packhorses to transport goods from Lyon to the Loire to get from the Mediterranean basin to the Atlantic coast. The Romans used the Loire as far as Roanne, only around 150 km (93 mi) from the source, whilst the Vikings used longships to attack Tours.

River traffic increased until the 19th century, with a toll system being used in medieval times. For centuries attempts were made to keep a navigable channel open by the use of wooden embankments and dredging. During the 17th century, Jean-Baptiste Colbert instituted stone retaining walls and quays from Roanne to Nantes which helped make the river more reliable, but navigation was frequently stopped by flood and drought. In 1707 floods were said to have drowned 50,000 people, with the water rising more than 3 m (9.8 ft) in two hours in Orléans. A typical passenger timetable from Orléans to Nantes took eight days, with the upstream journey against the flow taking fourteen.

Steam-driven passenger boats appeared soon after the beginning of the 19th century plying the river between Nantes and Orléans; by 1843, 70,000 passengers were being carried annually in the lower river. However with the introduction of the railway in the 1840s trade on the river steadily declined and proposals to build a fully navigable river up to Briare came to nothing. The opening of the Canal latéral à la Loire in 1838 enabled navigation between Digoin and Briare to continue, but the river level crossing at Briare remained a problem until the construction of the Briare aqueduct in 1896.

The Canal de Roanne à Digoin was also opened in 1838 and was nearly closed in 1971 but still provides navigation further up the Loire valley to Digoin. However the 261 km (162 mi) Canal de Berry, a narrow canal with locks only 2.7 m (8.9 ft) wide, which was opened in 1820s and connected the Canal latéral à la Loire at Marseilles-lès-Aubigny to the Cher River at Noyers and back into the Loire near Tours, was closed in 1955.

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Tributaries

The Loire's tributaries include the following rivers, in order going upstream:

Départements and towns

The Loire as it flows through Blois.

Several départements of France were named after the Loire. The Loire flows through the following départements and towns:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ J. Tourenq and C. Pomerol, "Mise en évidence, par la présence d'augite du Massif Central, de l'existance d'une pré-Loire-pré-Seine coulant vers la Manche," Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, 320, 1995:1163-1169; Pierre Antoine, Jean Pierre Lautridou and Michel Laurent, "Long-term fluvial archives in NW France: response of the Seine and Somme rivers to tectonic movements, climatic variations and sea-level changes", Geomorphology 33.3-4, (June 2000:183-207)

External links


Loire
Loire
Origin Massif Central
Mouth Atlantic Ocean
47°16′9″N 2°11′9″W / 47.26917°N 2.18583°W / 47.26917; -2.18583 (Atlantic Ocean-Loire)Coordinates: 47°16′9″N 2°11′9″W / 47.26917°N 2.18583°W / 47.26917; -2.18583 (Atlantic Ocean-Loire)
Basin countries France
Length 1,013 km (629 miles)
Source elevation 1,408 m (4607 ft)
Avg. discharge 850 m3/s (30,000 cu ft/s)
Basin area 117,001 km2 (45,174 sq mi)

]] ]]

The Loire (French pronunciation: [lwaʁ]) is the longest river in France. With a length of 1,013 kilometres (629 mi), it drains an area of 117,000 km2 (45,000 sq mi), which represents more than a fifth of France's land area. It rises in the Cévennes in the département of Ardèche at 1,350 m (4,430 ft) near Mont Gerbier de Jonc, and flows for over 1,000 km (620 mi) north through Nevers to Orléans, then west through Tours and Nantes until it reaches the Bay of Biscay at St Nazaire. Its main tributaries include the Maine, Nièvre and the Erdre rivers on its right bank, and the Allier, Cher, Indre, Vienne, and the Sèvre Nantaise rivers on the left bank. The Loire gives its name to six départements: Loire, Haute-Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire, and Saône-et-Loire. The central part of the Loire Valley was added to the World Heritage Sites list of UNESCO on December 2, 2000. The banks are characterised by vineyards and chateaux in the Loire Valley.

Contents

Etymology

The name "Loire" comes from Latin Liger, which is itself a transcription of the native Gaulish (Celtic) name of the river. The Gaulish name comes from the Gaulish word liga, which means "silt, sediment, deposit, alluvium", a word that gave French lie, as in sur lie, which in turn gave English lees. Liga comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *legh-, meaning "to lie, lay", which gave many words in English, such as to lie, to lay, ledge, law, etc.

In French the adjective derived from the river is ligérien, as in le climat ligérien ("the climate of the Loire Valley"), a climate considered the most pleasant of northern France, with warmer winters and, more generally, fewer extremes in temperatures, rarely exceeding Template:Convert/°C.

Origins of the river

.]]

Studies of the paleogeography of the region suggest that in the Pleistocene the paleo-Loire continued its northward flow and joined the Seine,[1] while the lower Loire found its source upstream of Orléans in the region of Gien, flowing westward along the present course. At a certain point during the long history of uplift in the Paris Basin, the lower, Atlantic Loire captured the "paleo-Loire" or Loire séquanaise ("Loire-Seine"), producing the present river. The former bed of the Loire séquanaise is occupied by the Loing.

Geography

Originating in Ardèche, in springs on Mont Gerbier de Jonc in the north-eastern part of the southern Cévennes highlands, the Loire flows roughly northward through Roanne and Nevers to Orléans and thereafter westward through Tours to the Atlantic at Nantes, where it forms an estuary. Changes in the river's water levels have sometimes resulted in serious flooding, notably in 1856, 1866 and 1911.

Unlike most other rivers in western Europe, there are very few dams or locks creating obstacles to its natural flow. The Villerest dam, built in 1985 a few kilometers south of Roanne, has played a key-role in preventing recent flooding. As a result, the Loire is a very popular river for boating excursions, flowing through a pastoral countryside, past limestone cliffs and historic castles.

Navigation

For over 2,000 years, the Loire was one of the great highways of France, but the coming of the railway in the 19th century caused a collapse in the river's commercial navigation. Today the river is only regarded as navigable as far as Bouchemaine, where the Maine joins it near Angers.

The Phoenicians and Greeks had used packhorses to transport goods from Lyon to the Loire to get from the Mediterranean basin to the Atlantic coast. The Romans used the Loire as far as Roanne, only around 150 km (93 mi) from the source, whilst the Vikings used longships to attack Tours.

River traffic increased until the 19th century, with a toll system being used in medieval times. For centuries attempts were made to keep a navigable channel open by the use of wooden embankments and dredging. During the 17th century, Jean-Baptiste Colbert instituted stone retaining walls and quays from Roanne to Nantes which helped make the river more reliable, but navigation was frequently stopped by flood and drought. In 1707 floods were said to have drowned 50,000 people, with the water rising more than 3 m (9.8 ft) in two hours in Orléans. A typical passenger timetable from Orléans to Nantes took eight days, with the upstream journey against the flow taking fourteen.

Steam-driven passenger boats appeared soon after the beginning of the 19th century plying the river between Nantes and Orléans; by 1843, 70,000 passengers were being carried annually in the lower river. However with the introduction of the railway in the 1840s trade on the river steadily declined and proposals to build a fully navigable river up to Briare came to nothing. The opening of the Canal latéral à la Loire in 1838 enabled navigation between Digoin and Briare to continue, but the river level crossing at Briare remained a problem until the construction of the Briare aqueduct in 1896.

The Canal de Roanne à Digoin was also opened in 1838 and was nearly closed in 1971 but still provides navigation further up the Loire valley to Digoin. However the 261 km (162 mi) Canal de Berry, a narrow canal with locks only 2.7 m (8.9 ft) wide, which was opened in 1820s and connected the Canal latéral à la Loire at Marseilles-lès-Aubigny to the Cher River at Noyers and back into the Loire near Tours, was closed in 1955.

Tributaries

The Loire's tributaries include the following rivers, in order going upstream:

Départements and towns

.]] Several départements of France were named after the Loire. The Loire flows through the following départements and towns:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ J. Tourenq and C. Pomerol, "Mise en évidence, par la présence d'augite du Massif Central, de l'existance d'une pré-Loire-pré-Seine coulant vers la Manche," Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, 320, 1995:1163-1169; Pierre Antoine, Jean Pierre Lautridou and Michel Laurent, "Long-term fluvial archives in NW France: response of the Seine and Somme rivers to tectonic movements, climatic variations and sea-level changes", Geomorphology 33.3-4, (June 2000:183-207)

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LOIRE, the longest river of France, rising in the Gerbier de Jonc in the department of Ardeche, at a height of 4500 ft. and flowing north and west to the Atlantic. After a course of 18 m. in Ardeche it enters Haute-Loire, in which it follows a picturesque channel along the foot of basaltic rocks, through narrow gorges and small plains. At Vorey, where it is joined by the Arzon, it becomes navigable for rafts. Four miles below its entrance into the department of Loire, at La Noirie, river navigation is officially reckoned to begin, and breaking through the gorges of Saint Victor, the Loire enters the wide and swampy plain of Forez, after which it again penetrates the hills and flows out into the plain of Roanne. As in Haute-Loire, it is joined by a large number of streams, the most important being the Coise on the right and the Lignon du Nord or du Forez and the Aix on the left. Below Roanne the Loire is accompanied on its left bank by a canal to Digoin (35 m.) in Saone-et-Loire, thence by the so-called "lateral canal of the Loire" to Briare in Loiret (122 m.).; Owing to the exteme irregularity of the river in different seasons these canals form the only certain navigable way. At Digoin the Loire receives the Arroux, and gives off the canal du Centre (which utilizes the valley of the Bourbince) to Chalon-sur-Saone. At this point its northerly course begins to be interrupted by the mountains of Morvan, and flowing north-west it enters the department of Nievre. Just beyond Nevers it is joined by the Allier; this river rises 30 m. S.W. of the Loire in the department of Lozere, and following an almost parallel course has at the confluence a volume equal to two-thirds of that of the main stream. Above Nevers the Loire is joined by the Aron, along which the canal du Nivernais proceeds northward, and the Nievre, and below the confluence of the Allier gives off the canal du Berry to Bourges and the navigable part of the Cher. About this point the valley becomes more ample and at Briare (in Loiret) the river leaves the highlands and flows between the plateaus of Gatinais and the Beauce on the right and the Sologne on the left. In Loiret it gives off the canal de Briare northward to the Seine and itself bends north-west to Orleans, whence the canal d'Orleans, following the little river Cens, communicates with the Briare canal. At Orleans the river changes its north-westerly for a south-westerly course. A striking peculiarity of the affluents of the Loire in Loiret and the three subsequent departments is that they frequently flow in a parallel channel to the main stream and in the same valley. Passing Blois in Loir-et-Cher, the Loire enters Indre-et-Loire and receives on the right the Cisse, and, after passing Tours, the three important left-hand tributaries of the Cher, Indre and the Vienne. At the confluence of the Vienne the Loire enters Maine-et-Loire, in its course through which department it is frequently divided by long sandy islands fringed with osiers and willows; while upon arriving at LesPonts-de-Ce it is split into several distinct branches. The principal tributaries are: left, the Thouet at Saumur, the Layon and the E y re; right: the Authion, and, most important tributary of all, the Maine, formed by the junction of the rivers Mayenne, Sarthe and Loir. Through Loire-Inferieure the river is studded with islands until below Nantes, where the largest of them, called Belle-Ile, is found. It receives the Erdre on the right at Nantes and on the opposite shore the SevreNantaise, and farther on the canalized Achenau on the left and the navigable Etier de Mean on the right near Saint Nazaire. Below Nantes, between which point and La Martiniere (below Pellerin) the channel is embanked, the river is known as the Loire Maritime and widens out between marshy shores, passing Paimbceuf on the left and finally Saint-Nazaire, where it is i z m. broad. The length of the channel of the Loire is about 625 m.; its drainage area is 46,700 sq.m. A lateral canal (built in1881-1892at a cost of about £1,000,000) known as the Maritime Canal of the Loire between Le Carnet and La Martiniere enables large ships to ascend to Nantes. It is 92 m. long, and 191- (capable of being increased to 24) ft. deep. At each end is a lock 405 ft. long by 59 ft. wide. The canal de Nantes a Brest connects this city with Brest.

The Loire is navigable only in a very limited sense. During the drought of summer thin and feeble streams thread their way between the sandbanks of the channel; while at other times a stupendous flood submerges wide reaches of land. In the middle part of its course the Loire traverses the western portion of the undulating Paris basin, with its Tertiary mar's, sands and clays, and the alluvium carried off from these renders its lower channel inconstant; the rest of the drainage area is occupied by crystalline rocks, over the hard surface of which the water, undiminished by absorption, flows rapidly into the streams. When the flood waters of two or more tributaries arrive at the same time serious inundations result. Attempts to control the river must have begun at a very early date, and by the close of the middle ages the bed between Orleans and Angers was enclosed by dykes io to 13 ft. high. In 1783 a double line of dykes or turcies 23 ft. high was completed from Bec d'Allier downwards. The channel was, however, so much narrowed that the embankments are almost certain to give way as soon as the water rises 16 ft. (the average rise is about 14, and in 1846 and 1856 it was more than 22). In modern times embankments, aided by dredging operations extending over a large number of years, have ensured a depth of 18 ft. in the channel between La Martiniere and Nantes. Several towns have constructed special works to defend themselves against the floods; Tours, the most exposed of all, is surrounded by a circular dyke.

Various schemes for the systematic regulation of the Loire have been discussed. It has been proposed to construct in the upper valleys of the several affluents a number of gigantic dams or reservoirs from which the water, stored during flood, could be let off into the river as required. A dam of this kind (built in 1711) at the village of Pinay, about 18 m. above Roanne, and capable of retaining from 350 to 450 million cub. ft. of water, has greatly diminished the force of the floods at Roanne, and maintained the comparative equilibrium of the current during the dry season. Three other dams of modern construction are also in existence, one near Firminy, the other two near St Etienne.


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Simple English

The Loire River is the longest river in France. It is 1,013 km long. It originates in the Massif Central, and its mouth is near Nantes by the Atlantic. The Loire gives its name to 6 french departments. For years, the Loire was very important for France's commerce. But when the railway developped in the 19th centnury, it put an end to its importance.

Tributaries

The Loire's tributaries include the following rivers, in order going upstream:

  • Sèvre Nantaise (in Nantes)
  • Erdre (in Nantes)
  • Maine (near Angers)
  • Mayenne (near Angers)
  • Ernée (in Saint-Jean-sur-Mayenne)
  • Sarthe (near Angers)
  • Loir (north of Angers)
  • Braye (in Pont-de-Braye)
  • Aigre (near Cloyes-sur-le-Loir)
  • Yerre (near Cloyes-sur-le-Loir)
  • Conie (near Châteaudun)
  • Ozanne (in Bonneval)
  • Huisne (in Le Mans)
  • Thouet (near Saumur)
  • Dive (near Saint-Just-sur-Dive)
  • Losse (near Montreuil-Bellay)
  • Argenton (near Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay)
  • Thouaret (near Taizé)
  • Cébron (near Saint-Loup-sur-Thouet)
  • Palais (near Parthenay)
  • Viette (near Parthenay)
  • Vienne (in Candes-Saint-Martin)
  • Creuse (north of Châtellerault)
  • Gartempe (in La Roche-Posay)
  • Clain (in Châtellerault)
  • Indre (east of Candes-Saint-Martin)
  • Cher (in Villandry)
  • Sauldre (in Selles-sur-Cher)
  • Arnon (near Vierzon)
  • Yèvre (in Vierzon)
  • Auron (in Bourges)
  • Beuvron (in Chaumont-sur-Loire)
  • Loiret (in Orléans)
  • Allier (near Nevers)
  • Sioule (near Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule)
  • Dore (near Puy-Guillaume)
  • Allagnon (near Jumeaux)
  • Ance (in Monistrol-d'Allier)
  • Nièvre (in Nevers)
  • Acolin (near Decize)
  • Aron (in Decize)
  • Besbre (near Dompierre-sur-Besbre)
  • Arroux (in Digoin)
  • Furan (in Andrézieux-Bouthéon)

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