Doubs (river)

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Doubs Laissey.jpg
The Doubs just before Besançon
Native name Le Doubs
Other name(s) German: Dub
Country France, Switzerland
Basin features
Main source Mouthe, Jura mountains
946 m (3,104 ft)
46°42′17″N 6°12′34″E / 46.70472°N 6.20944°E / 46.70472; 6.20944 (source Doubs)
River mouth Saône
175 m (574 ft)
46°54′3″N 5°1′27″E / 46.90083°N 5.02417°E / 46.90083; 5.02417 (Saône-Doubs)Coordinates: 46°54′3″N 5°1′27″E / 46.90083°N 5.02417°E / 46.90083; 5.02417 (Saône-Doubs)
Progression SaôneRhôneMediterranean Sea
Basin size 7,500 km2 (2,900 sq mi)
Physical characteristics
Length 453 kilometres (281 mi)
  • Average rate:
    176 m3/s (6,200 cu ft/s)
Lakes Lake Saint-Point, Lake of Brenets

The Doubs (French: Le Doubs, French pronunciation: ​[du], German: Dub) is a 453 kilometres (281 mi) long river in eastern France and western Switzerland, left tributary of the Saône. Its source is near Mouthe in the western Jura mountains, at an altitude of 946 m. It is the tenth longest French river in France.


From its source in Mouthe it flows northeast, more or less along the French-Swiss border (forming the border for approx. 40 km). Near Montbéliard it turns southwest, until it flows into the river Saône in Verdun-sur-le-Doubs, approx. 20 km northeast of Chalon-sur-Saône. Its entire course resembles an inverted letter U, with the northeastern corner the only point at which the Doubs flows into Switzerland as far as Saint-Ursanne. In Switzerland it traverses the cantons Jura and Neuchâtel.

The waterfall known as the Saut du Doubs is located on the French-Swiss border.

The Saut du Doubs
Course of the Doubs

The Doubs flows through the following Departments of France, Cantons of Switzerland, and cities:

Tributaries include:

The river forms several lakes:

The Lac de Brenets

Floods and Seasonal Variation[edit]

The rate of flow of the Doubs is very seasonally variable. The flooding season can stretch from September to May, with floods being occasioned either by heavy rains or by quick melting of snow from the Jura mountains. At its mouth, the discharge rate can vary from as low as 20 m³/s to over 1000 m³/s during floods.

In Besançon, the largest floods have been in 1852 (8.50 m), in 1896 (7.96 m) and in 1910. There have also been many lesser floods more recently.


The Dam of Châtelot, completed in 1953

As a mountain river with substantial discharge, the Doubs has been used for electricity generation. Among several hydroelectric stations, the most important are the Dam of Châtelot, 74 metres tall, and the Dam of Refrain, 66.5 metres tall.

See also[edit]