Dordogne (river)

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Dordogne 2.jpg
The Dordogne in Périgord, near Castelnaud-la-Chapelle
Location of the Dordogne in France
Native nameLa Dordogne (French)
Physical characteristics
 • locationMassif Central
 • elevation1,720 m (5,640 ft)
 • location
Gironde estuary
 • coordinates
45°2′29″N 0°36′24″W / 45.04139°N 0.60667°W / 45.04139; -0.60667Coordinates: 45°2′29″N 0°36′24″W / 45.04139°N 0.60667°W / 45.04139; -0.60667
Length483 km (300 mi)
Basin size23,870 km2 (9,220 sq mi)
 • average450 m3/s (16,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features
ProgressionGironde estuaryAtlantic Ocean

The Dordogne (French pronunciation: [dɔʁdɔɲ] (listen); Occitan: Dordonha) is a river in south-central and southwest France. It is 483.1 km (300.2 mi) long.[1] The Dordogne and its watershed were designated Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO on July 11 2012.[2]


The river rises on the flanks of the Puy de Sancy at 1,885 metres (6,184 ft) above sea level in the mountains of Auvergne, from the confluence of two small torrents above the town of Le Mont-Dore: the Dore and the Dogne. It flows generally west about 500 kilometres (310 mi) through the Limousin and Périgord regions before flowing into the Gironde, its common estuary with the Garonne, at the Bec d'Ambès ("Ambès beak"), north of the city of Bordeaux.


Canoeing on the Dordogne

The Dordogne is one of the few rivers in the world that exhibit the phenomenon of a tidal bore, known as a mascaret.[3]

The upper valley of the Dordogne is a series of deep gorges. The cliffs, steep banks, fast flowing water and high bridges attract both walkers and drivers. In several places the river is dammed to form long, deep lakes. Camp sites and holiday homes have proliferated wherever the valley floor is wide enough to accommodate them.

Below Argentat and around Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, the valley widens to accommodate fertile farmland, well-watered pasture and orchards. In the towns, which are major tourist attractions because of their history and architecture, the quaysides are lined with eating and drinking places. In Périgord, the valley widens further to encompass one of France's main gastronomic regions, with vineyards, poultry farms and truffle-rich woodlands.

The main season for tourism in the Valley of the Dordogne is from June to September, with July and August being high season. The lifestyle and culture of the Dordogne valley attract both visitors and incomers from all over France, but also from many other countries, particularly Britain and Germany.


The Dordogne at Argentat in Corrèze, part of the Limousin region


The Dordogne in the Périgord
Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne and Dordogne view from Altillac

Main tributaries from source to mouth:[1]

N.B. : (R) = right tributary; (L) = left tributary


Aside from the usual activities such as tennis and golf available in many areas of France, there are a number of water-related activities related to the Dordogne, including:


Barrage du Chastang
  • Marèges Dam
  • Dam at Bort-les-Orgues
  • Barrage de l'Aigle (The Eagle Dam)
  • Dam at Argentat
  • Dam at Bergerac
  • Dam at Chastang
  • Dam at Mauzac
  • Barrage de Tuilières


  1. ^ a b Sandre. "Fiche cours d'eau - La Dordogne (P---0000)".
  2. ^ "UNESCO description of the Bassin de la Dordogne".
  3. ^ Tidal bores, Mascaret, Pororoca (1). Myths, Fables and Reality !!!

External links[edit]