What is the longest river in France? Here is a ranking of the longest rivers in France that wind through all over the country!
France’s beautiful country is home to many rivers that flow through towns and villages, offering typical landscapes with old bridges, terraces at the water’s edge, or castles overlooking the valley.
Almost all French departments take their names from the rivers that cross them. However, our ranking of the day leads us to wonder what the longest rivers in France are.
The 10 Longest Rivers In France (France’s Longest River)
10th longest river in France – Vilaine
Length: 218 km Area of the basin:
Flow: 80 m³/s
Ocean Departments: Mayenne, Ille-et-Vilaine, Loire-Atlantique, Morbihan
Our ranking begins with the Vilaine, which is 218 km long and ranks 10th of the longest rivers in France.
The Vilaine River is a 218-kilometer-long watercourse located in western France. It flows through Mayenne, Ille-et-Vilaine, Loire-Atlantique, and Morbihan departments. The river’s basin has an area of 10,500 square kilometers and an average flow of 80 cubic meters per second. The Vilaine River empties into the Atlantic Ocean, making it one of the larger rivers in the region that have a direct connection to the sea.
The river begins in the Massif Central, in the Loire-Atlantique department, near the town of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil. It flows northwest, passing through towns such as Redon, Fougères, and Rennes before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near the city of Lorient.
9th longest river in France – Sum
The Sum River is a 245-kilometer-long watercourse located in northeastern France. It flows through the departments of Aisne and Somme and has a drainage basin of 6,550 square kilometers. The river has an average flow of 35 cubic meters per second. The Sum River empties into the Manche, which is a sea inlet of the English channel.
245 km long, it is, therefore, one of the 10 longest French rivers.
8th longest river in France – Adour
Length: 308 km
Area of the basin: 16,912 km²
Flow: 350 m³/s
Ocean Departments: Gers, Landes, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées
The Adour River is a 308-kilometer-long watercourse located in southwestern France. It flows through the departments of Gers, Landes, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, and Hautes-Pyrénées and has a drainage basin of 16,912 square kilometers. The river has an average flow of 350 cubic meters per second. The Adour River empties into the Atlantic Ocean, making it one of the major rivers of the region with a direct connection to the sea.
As with many major French rivers, the Adour flows into the Atlantic Ocean after crossing Bayonne. The length of this Basque river was measured at 308 km, making the Adour eighth France’s longest river.
7th longest river in France – Charente
The Charente is a river that is 381 km long. It has its source in Chéronnac in Haute-Vienne, at an altitude of 295 meters and its waters flow into the Atlantic Ocean near the city of Port-des-Barques.
Length: 381.4 km
Basin area: 9,855 km²
Flow: 49 m³/s
Ocean Departments: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Vienne, Haute-Vienne
6th longest river in France – Dordogne
The Dordogne has its source in Puy de Sancy, in the Massif Central, at an altitude of 1366 m, and then flows for 483 km, ending in the Gironde Estuary. It is France’s longest river number 6th.
Length: 483 km
Area of the basin: 23,957 km²
Flow: 380 m³/s
Ocean Departments: Puy-de-Dôme, Corrèze, Cantal, Lot, Dordogne, Gironde
5th longest river in France – Meuse
Measuring 950 km long, only half of which is in France (486 km), the Meuse has its source in the Bassigny (Haute-Marne), at an altitude of 409 m, and flows into the North Sea after crossing Belgium and the Netherlands.
The fifth longest river in France is also considered the oldest river globally because it was formed in the Paleozoic era.
Length: 486 km
Basin area: 36,000 km²
Flow: 357 m³/s
Sea Departments: Haute-Marne, Vosges, Meuse, Ardennes
4th longest river in France – Garonne
Taking its source in Spain at two different places (Pla de Beret, at 1860 meters above sea level, in the Val d’Aran, and the Pic d’Aneto, in Aragon), the Garonne flows 647 km, including 521.9 km in France.
It is in Gironde, in the Atlantic, that the Garonne ends its course.
Length: 521.9 km
Basin area: 55,000 km²
Flow: 650 m³/s
Ocean Departments: Haute-Garonne, Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne, Gironde
3rd longest river in France – Rhone
The Rhone is 812 km long but only 545 km on French soil, making it the third-longest river in France. It has its source in the Rhone Glacier, in the Canton of Valais in Switzerland.
Crossing Lake Geneva, it continues into the Bouches-du-Rhône, where it finally flows into the Mediterranean Sea.
Length: 545 km
Area of the basin: 95,590 km²
Flow: 1,690 m³/s
Sea Departments: Ain, Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Isère, Rhône, Drôme, Loire, Ardèche, Gard, Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône
2nd longest river in France – Seine
The Seine is the second-longest river in France. It has its source on the Langres plateau at 446 meters above sea level, in the department of Côte d’Or.
Famous for crossing Paris at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, it is also renowned for the low slope of the valley, which explains the high sinuosity of its course. 777 km long, it flows into the English Channel at Le Havre.
Length: 777 km
Area of the basin: 79,000 km²
Flow: 563 m³/s
Departments: Côte d’Or, Aube, Marne, Seine-et-Marne, Essonne, Val-de-Marne, Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-St-Denis, Val d’Oise, Yvelynes, Eure, Seine-Maritime, Calvados
Longest river in France – Loire
The Loire is the longest river in France, with a length of 1012 km. Finding its source on the Mont de Gerbier de Jonc in ardèche, it ends its course in the Atlantic Ocean, in the estuary of Saint-Nazaire.
At this level, its flow rate is 1000 m3/s. The Loire is famous for the castles that border it between Blois and Nantes.
Length: 1,012 km
Basin area: 117,356 km²
Flow: 931 m³/s
Ocean Departments: Ardèche, Haute-Loire, Loire, Allier, Saône-et-Loire, Nièvre, Loiret, Cher, Loir-et-Cher, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire, Loire-Atlantique
The Loire, although it is the longest French river, is only the twelfth longest river in Europe.