Donjon du Capitole
31080 TOULOUSE 6
fax : 05.61.23 74 97
Garonne (antic Garumna; Oc Garona /garun) is a river in
southwest France, with a length of 575 km (357 miles).
name "Garonne", Garumna in the Antiquity, is a native name
still meaning 'river' in Gascon.
It derives from the Aquitanian (language related to old
Basque) word *kharr-, meaning "rock", akin to modern Basque
harri, "stone", and
from a Pre-Indo-European suffix -unn-, -onna which means
"source, river", and which can be found in the name of many
rivers of western Europe (such as the Seine, the Saône, etc.).
The Garonne River in the SW of France
The river rises in the Val d'Aran (Spanish Pyrenees), flowing
via Toulouse towards Bordeaux, where it flows into the Gironde
estuary. The Gironde Estuary flows into the Atlantic Ocean
(Bay of Biscay).
The Garonne River Basin in France
In its flow, the Garonne is joined by three other major
rivers: the Ariège, the Tarn, the Lot. Just after Bordeaux,
the Garonne river finally meets the Dordogne, after which the
two rivers become the Gironde estuary which after
approximately 60 miles joins the Atlantic Ocean. Other
tributaries include the Save and the Gers.
The Garonne is one of the few rivers in the world that exhibit
a tidal bore. Surf boarders, Jet Skiers, etc. can ride the
tidal bore as least as far as the village of Cambes (70 miles
from the Atlantic) and even further upstream.
||84,811 km² *
Towns along the river
Val d'Aran (Spain): Vielha
Haute-Garonne: Saint-Gaudens, Muret, Toulouse
Lot-et-Garonne: Agen, Marmande
Gironde (33) : Langon, Bordeaux, Blaye, Le Verdon-sur-Mer
Following the flow of the river:
Jalle de Blanquefort
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", the
canal that links the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean
(Bay of Biscay), allowing a shorter and safer way for goods to
pass from the agricultural areas of the South of France to the
From the Ocean, ships pass through the Gironde estuary until
the mouth of the Gironde, the left of the two rivers for those
who sail upstream. The Garonne remains navigable for larger
vessels up to the "Pont de Pierre" (Stone Bridge) in Bordeaux.
River vessels can sail upstream to Castets-en-Dorthe, where
the Garonne Lateral Canal (Canal Latéral à la Garonne) joins
the river. The lateral canal takes the ships through 53 locks
to the town of Toulouse, where the canal meets the Canal du
Midi, with which its form the "Canal des Deux Mers".
The Garonne Lateral Canal was subject to one of the largest
infrastructure works in Europe, when it was adapted to the
standardized barge size of 38 by 5 meters, during the last
French minister Freycinet ordered that all canals with
importance for long distance transport be suitable for vessels
of those standard dimensions. The extension of ALL the former
30 meter locks to the new standard length was carried out
throughout the lateral canal.
The other half of the Canal des Deux Mers, the Canal du Midi,
partly escaped this operation, because by the time the works
had reached the area where the most locks were situated,
commercial traffic on the canal had almost disappeared. The
works were stopped, leading to the cultural heritage status of
the United Nations that has made the Canal du Midi famous.
: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the