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Origin Pyrenees
Mouth Ariège
43°18′21″N 1°33′9″E / 43.30583°N 1.55250°E / 43.30583; 1.55250 (Ariège-Hers-Vif)Coordinates: 43°18′21″N 1°33′9″E / 43.30583°N 1.55250°E / 43.30583; 1.55250 (Ariège-Hers-Vif)
Basin countries France
Length 135 km
Source elevation ±1500 m
Avg. discharge 15 m³/s
Basin area 1,350 km²

The Hers-Vif ("Live Hers", as opposed to the slower flowing Hers-Mort, "Dead Hers"), also named Grand Hers or simply Hers, is a 135 km long river in Southern France, right tributary of the Ariège River.

The Hers-Vif rises at a height of ±1500 m near the Chioula Pass of the Pyrenees, approximately 6 km north of Ax-les-Thermes. It is the major tributary of the Ariège into whose right bank it flows 2 km upstream from Cintegabelle in the Haute-Garonne.

It flows some 30 kilometers through the Pyrenees, descending 1100 m to the village of Peyrat which it reaches a piedmont plain. Its valley widens as it traverses the plain, reaching the medieval city of Mirepoix which marks the start of its lower valley.

Several rivers flow into it:

Departments and towns along its course are:


The Hers is probably known as vif (intense or rapid in this context) because of its sometimes spectacular floods - that of June 16, 1289 having entirely destroyed Mirepoix. More recently, there have been:

  • 23 June 1875: estimated flow rate of 1500 m3/s at Mazères;
  • 6 February 1919: estimated flow rate of 600–800 m3/s at Mazères;
  • 19 May 1977: estimated flow rate of 1070 m3/s at Mazères;
  • 16 January 1981: estimated flow rate of 1100 m3/s at Mazères;
  • 11 June 2000: estimated flow rate of 500 m3/s at Mazères;
  • 24 January 2004: estimated flow rate of 500 m3/s at Mazères.