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The Garonne (, also , ;
Occitan Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no ,), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speakers, is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evol ...
,
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * C ...
,
Basque Basque may refer to: * Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a Basque culture, common culture and shared genetic ancestry to th ...
, and es, Garona, ; la, Garumna or ) is a
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...

river
of southwest
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and northern
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
. It flows from the central Spanish Pyrenees to the
Gironde estuary The Gironde estuary ( , American English, US usually ; french: estuaire de la Gironde, ; oc, estuari de Gironda, ) is a navigable estuary (though often referred to as a river) in southwest France and is formed from the meeting of the riv ...

Gironde estuary
at the French port of
Bordeaux Bordeaux ( , ; Gascon language, Gascon oc, Bordèu ) is a port city on the river Garonne in the Gironde Departments of France, department in Southwestern France. The municipality (Communes of France, commune) of Bordeaux proper has a popula ...

Bordeaux
– a length of , of which is in Spain (
Val d'Aran Aran (; ; ) (previously officially called in Occitan Val d'Aran, Catalan: ''Vall d'Aran'', Spanish: ''Valle de Arán'') is an administrative entity (formerly considered a Comarques of Catalonia, comarca) in Lleida (province), Lleida, Catalonia, Sp ...

Val d'Aran
);Le bassin versant de la Garonne
Syndicat Mixte d'Études & d'Aménagement de la Garonne
the total length extends to if one includes the
Gironde estuary The Gironde estuary ( , American English, US usually ; french: estuaire de la Gironde, ; oc, estuari de Gironda, ) is a navigable estuary (though often referred to as a river) in southwest France and is formed from the meeting of the riv ...

Gironde estuary
between the river and the sea. Its basin area is , which increases to if the Dordogne River, which flows from the east and joins the Garonne at Bec d'Ambès to form the Gironde estuary, is included.
Umayyad The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the ...
and Aquitanian forces fought the
Battle of the River Garonne The Battle of the River Garonne, also known as the Battle of Bordeaux,Matthew Bennett ''The Hutchinson Dictionary of Ancient & Medieval Warfare'' 1579581161 1998 p319 "In 732 a large army (70,000-80,000) led by Abd ar-Rahman defeated the Aquitainia ...
in 732 beside the river near present-day Bordeaux.


Etymology

The name derives from ''Garumna'', a
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
ized version of the Aquitanian name meaning "stony river" ("kar" relating to "stone" and "-ona" relating to "river").


Geography


Sources

The Garonne's headwaters are to be found in the
Aran Valley Aran (; ; ) (previously officially called in Occitan Val d'Aran, Catalan: ''Vall d'Aran'', Spanish: ''Valle de Arán'') is an administrative entity (formerly considered a comarca A ''comarca'' (, or ) is a traditional region or local administr ...
in the Spanish
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to ...

Pyrenees
, though three different locations have been proposed as the true source: the ''Uelh deth Garona'' at Plan de Beret (), the Ratera-Saboredo cirque ), or the slopes of (Salterillo-Barrancs ravine according to the season). The ''Uelh deth Garona'' at above
sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are in th ...

sea level
has been traditionally considered as the source of the Garonne. From this point a brook (called the ''Beret-Garona'') runs for until the bed of the main upper Garonne valley. The river runs for another until the French border at ''
Pont de Rei The Pont de Rei ( en, King's Bridge, french: Pont du Roi, oc, Eth Pònt de Rei) is a bridge and border crossing Border control is the measures taken by a state or a bloc of states to monitor its borders and regulate the movement of people, a ...
'', in total. The Ratera-Saboredo cirque is the head of the upper Garonne valley, and its upper lake at above sea level is the origin of the Ruda-Garona river, running for until the confluence with the Beret-Garona brook, and another until the French border at ''Pont del Rei'', in total. At the confluence, the Ruda-Garona carries of water. tp://oph.chebro.es:2121/BulkDATA/DOCUMENTACION/DirectivaMarco/Garona/DocumPrevia%202008.pdf/ref> The Ratera-Saboredo cirque has been pointed by many researchers as the origin of the Garonne.Faura i Sans (M.); Sobre hidrología subterránea en los Pirineos Centrales de Aragón y Cataluña. Bol. de la Real Soc. de Hist. Nat, vom. XVI, pgs. 353-354. Madrid, 1916. The third thesis holds that the river rises on the slopes of Pic Aneto at above sea level and flows by way of a
sinkhole A sinkhole is a depression or hole in the ground caused by some form of collapse of the surface layer. The term is sometimes used to refer to doline, enclosed depressions that are locally also known as vrtače and shakeholes, and to openings ...

sinkhole
known as the '' Forau de Aigualluts'' () through the
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its na ...

limestone
of the Tuca Blanca de Pomèro and a resurgence in the Val dera Artiga above the Aran Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees. This underground route was suggested by the geologist in 1787, but there was no confirmation until 1931, when
caver Caving – also known as spelunking in the United States and Canada and potholing in the United Kingdom and Ireland – is the recreational pastime of exploring wild cave systems (as distinguished from show caves). In contrast, speleology is ...
Norbert Casteret poured fluorescein dye into the flow and noted its emergence a few hours later away at ''Uelhs deth Joèu'' ("Jove's eyes" ) in the Artiga de Lin on the other side of the mountain. From Aigualluts to the confluence with the main river at the bed of the upper Garonne valley at above sea level, the Joèu has run for (16 kilometres more to get to the French border), carrying of water, while the main river is carrying . Despite the lack of universal agreement upon definition for determining a stream's Source (hydrology), source, the United States Geological Survey, the National Geographic Society, and the Smithsonian Institution agree that a stream's source should be considered as the most distant point (along watercourses from the river mouth) in the drainage basin from which water runs.The True Utmost Reaches of the Missouri
/ref> The Ratera-Saboredo cirque is the "most distant point (along watercourses from the river mouth) in the drainage basin from which water runs", and the source of the Garonne, according to the United States Geological Survey, the National Geographic Society, and the Smithsonian Institution convention upon determining a stream's source.


Course

The Garonne follows the Aran Valley northwards into France, flowing via Toulouse and Agen towards
Bordeaux Bordeaux ( , ; Gascon language, Gascon oc, Bordèu ) is a port city on the river Garonne in the Gironde Departments of France, department in Southwestern France. The municipality (Communes of France, commune) of Bordeaux proper has a popula ...

Bordeaux
, where it meets the
Gironde estuary The Gironde estuary ( , American English, US usually ; french: estuaire de la Gironde, ; oc, estuari de Gironda, ) is a navigable estuary (though often referred to as a river) in southwest France and is formed from the meeting of the riv ...

Gironde estuary
. The Gironde flows into the Atlantic Ocean (Bay of Biscay). Along its course, the Garonne is joined by three other major rivers: the Ariège (river), Ariège, the Tarn (river), Tarn, and the Lot (river), Lot. Just after Bordeaux, the Garonne meets the Dordogne (river), Dordogne at the Bec d'Ambès, forming the Gironde estuary, which after approximately empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Other tributaries include the Save (Garonne), Save and the Gers (river), Gers. The Garonne is one of the few rivers in the world that exhibit a tidal bore. Surfers and jet skiers could ride the tidal bore at least as far as the village of Cambes, Gironde, Cambes, from the Atlantic, and even further upstream to Cadillac, Gironde, Cadillac, although the tidal bore appears and disappears in response to changes in the channel bathymetry. In 2010 and 2012, some detailed field studies were conducted in the Garonne's Arcins channel between Arcins Island and the right bank close to Lastrene township. A striking feature of the field data sets was the large and rapid fluctuations in turbulent velocities and turbulent stresses during the tidal bore and flood flow.


European sea sturgeon conservation

The European sea sturgeon (Acipenser sturio), also known as the Atlantic sturgeon or common sturgeon, is now a Critically Endangered species (IUCN) status. This species of sturgeon can reach a length of , weigh up to and can reach an age of 100 years. Previously found on most coasts of Europe, it has now become so rare that they only breed in the Garonne river basin in France. Conservation projects are under way to save this fish from extinction via species reintroduction from aquaculture, with the first releases having been made in 1995.


Towns along the river

*
Aran Valley Aran (; ; ) (previously officially called in Occitan Val d'Aran, Catalan: ''Vall d'Aran'', Spanish: ''Valle de Arán'') is an administrative entity (formerly considered a comarca A ''comarca'' (, or ) is a traditional region or local administr ...
(Spain): Vielha, Bossòst * Haute-Garonne (31): Saint-Gaudens, Haute-Garonne, Saint-Gaudens, Muret, Toulouse * Tarn-et-Garonne (82): Castelsarrasin * Lot-et-Garonne (47): Agen, Marmande, Aiguillon, Lot-et-Garonne, Aiguillon * Gironde (33): Langon, Gironde, Langon,
Bordeaux Bordeaux ( , ; Gascon language, Gascon oc, Bordèu ) is a port city on the river Garonne in the Gironde Departments of France, department in Southwestern France. The municipality (Communes of France, commune) of Bordeaux proper has a popula ...

Bordeaux


Main tributaries

Following the flow of the river, from source to mouth: * Pique (river), Pique * Ourse * Neste (river), Neste * Salat (river), Salat * Volp * Arize * Louge * Ariège (river), Ariège * Touch (river), Touch * Hers-Mort * Save (Garonne), Save * Gimone * Tarn (river), Tarn * Arrats * Barguelonne * Auroue * Séoune * Gers (river), Gers * Baïse * Lot (river), Lot * Avance (Garonne), Avance * Dropt * Ciron * Gat mort * Devèze (river), Devèze * Jalle de Blanquefort


Navigation

The Garonne plays an important role in inland shipping. The river not only allows seagoing vessels to reach the port of Bordeaux but also forms part of the Canal des Deux Mers, linking the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. From the ocean, ships pass through the
Gironde estuary The Gironde estuary ( , American English, US usually ; french: estuaire de la Gironde, ; oc, estuari de Gironda, ) is a navigable estuary (though often referred to as a river) in southwest France and is formed from the meeting of the riv ...

Gironde estuary
up to the mouth of the Garonne (to the right of the Dordogne when sailing upstream). Ships continue on the tidal river Garonne up to the ''Pont de Pierre'' (stone bridge) in Bordeaux. Inland vessels continue upstream to Castets-en-Dorthe, where the Canal de Garonne joins the river. Prior to the building of the Canal lateral à la Garonne, between 1838 and 1856, shallow-draught boats used the Garonne itself as far as Toulouse. However, navigation on the upper river was very uncertain, and this stretch of the river is no longer considered navigable. Instead the lateral canal takes boats through 53 Canal lock, locks to the town of Toulouse, where the canal meets the Canal du Midi.


Hydrography

The upstream part of the river, upstream from Toulouse depends primarily on snow and snow melt. The lower/downstream part is rain fed as well as its main tributaries. The Garonne also feeds several channels/canals: * The Canal de Saint-Martory, Saint-Martory canal – Saint-Martory water intake takes 10 m3/s from the river; * The Canal Latéral de la Garonne, canal latéral à la Garonne – with the water intake in Toulouse by the Brienne canal. Sandre, SANDRE assigns to the Garonne a hydrographic identity number 0 --- 00000 and the generic code O --- 000014,15.


Floods

A flood of the Garonne in 1930 broke the dike in Thivras (Marmande). In Toulouse, the Garonne has been the cause of many floods, especially since its left bank is inhabited. The earliest records of floods are from around 1177. It is also recorded to have flooded in 1220, 1258, 1430, 1523, 1536 and in 1589, 1608, 1658, 1673, 1675, 1709, 1712, 1727, 1750, 1772, 1788, 1804 and 1810. In 1772, the Garonne reached 8 meters 50. In the recent centuries, in 1827, 1835, 1855 and 1856/7. In Toulouse, in 1827, the water level of the Garonne rose four meters above the ordinary level and filled the arches of the Pont de pierre (Bordeaux), Pont de Pierre and Pont Neuf, Toulouse, Pont Neuf. In 1835, the Garonne rose to five meters above normal and 35 meters above the low water level and flowed through the four arcs of the Pont de Pierre. Flood of the Garonne in 1835: 7,50 m at Toulouse Pont-Neuf Flood of the Garonne in 1855: 7.25 m at Toulouse Pont-Neuf Flood of the Garonne in 1875: 9,70 m to Toulouse Pont-Neuf (or 8m32 according to vigicrue). Flood of the Garonne in 1879: 4,87 m at Toulouse Pont-Neuf Flood of the Garonne in 1890: 3.30 m at Toulouse Pont-Neuf Flood of the Garonne in 1900: 4,00 m in Toulouse Pont-Neuf Flood of the Garonne in 1905: 4.24 m at Toulouse Pont-Neuf Crete of 1927 in Aquitaine, particularly imposing after the confluence of the Garonne with the Lot (of which it remained raw reference), insignificant upstream18. Flood of the Garonne in 1952: 4,57 m at Toulouse Pont-Neuf Flood of the Garonne in 1977: 4,31 m in Toulouse Pont-Neuf Flood of the Garonne in 2000: 4.38 m at Toulouse Pont-Neuf Flood of the Garonne in 2004: 3,52 m at Toulouse Pont-Neuf In 1777, the Garonne suffered an extraordinary flood to the point that the priest of Bourdelles took the trouble to retranscribe the event, at the end of the acts of the year, in the parish register of baptisms, marriages and deaths.


See also

* List of rivers of Europe


References


External links


Garonne and Gironde estuary
detailed information on places, ports and moorings on the canal, by the author of ''Inland Waterways of France'', Imray
Navigation details for 80 French rivers and canals
(French waterways website section
History and real-time water heights of Garonne river and main tributaries
{{Authority control Rivers of Catalonia Rivers of Spain Rivers of France Garonne basin, Rivers of Gironde Rivers of Haute-Garonne Rivers of Lot-et-Garonne Rivers of Tarn-et-Garonne Rivers of Nouvelle-Aquitaine Rivers of Occitanie International rivers of Europe