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Garonne

The Garonne is a river that flows through the picturesque and peaceful regions in the south of France. It forms in Spain's Aran Valley, before travelling around 300 miles to meet up with the Dordogne and forge a route to the Bay of Biscay. When the Garonne and the Dordogne meet they create the Gironde estuary, which is wide enough to allow large sea-faring vessels to sail inland. So much so that ocean ships can reach as far as Bordeaux.

In a rarity for rivers, the Garonne features a tidal bore that travels up the river against the natural current. It also makes up part of a canal which provides a safer route for ships travelling from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, or vice versa, without having to sail around the Iberian Peninsula. The first part of the 'Canal des Deux Mers', the 'Canal du Midi', was initiated in 1666 but the section that uses the Garonne river, between Toulouse and Bordeaux, wasn't constructed until 1856.

Major ports that you may visit during your Garonne river cruise include Bordeaux and Cadillac. This part of France is famous for its numerous vineyards which produce some of the world's best wines. There is sure to be a chance to sample a few drops along the way, as well as touring the elegant chateaux that line the river bank. Itineraries are often twinned with Dordogne and Gironde River cruises.

Garonne Factfile

  • The Garonne is a river in southwest France and northern Spain
  • It flows from the central Spanish Pyrenees to the Gironde estuary at the French port of Bordeaux
  • Its length is 529 km, of which 47 km is in Spain; this extends to 602 km if the Gironde estuary is included
  • The Garonne, which is regulated by 50 locks
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