The Loire is, with a length of 1,006 kilometers, the longest French river flowing entirely in France. It takes its source on the southern slope of Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc to the southeast of the Massif Central in the department of Ardèche, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean through an estuary located in Loire-Atlantique, in the region of Pays de la Loire. Its course is oriented first from south to north to the surroundings of Briare in the Loiret, then towards the west.

Its main tributaries include the rivers Nièvre, Maine and the Erdre on its right bank, and the rivers Allier, Cher, Indre, Vienne, and the Sèvre Nantaise on the left bank.

The Loire gives its name to six departments: Loire, Haute-Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire, and Saône-et-Loire. The lower-central swathe of its valley straddling the Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire regions was added to the World Heritage Sites list of UNESCO on December 2, 2000. Vineyards and châteaux are found along the banks of the river throughout this section and are a major tourist attraction.

The Loire flows roughly northward through Roanne and Nevers to Orléans and thereafter westward through Tours to Nantes, where it forms an estuary. It flows into the Atlantic Ocean at 47°16′44″N 2°10′19″W between Saint-Nazaire and Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, connected by a bridge over the river near its mouth.

The Loire flows through the following departments and towns:

Ardèche

Haute-Loire

  • Le Puy-en-Velay

Loire

  • Feurs
  • Roanne

Saône-et-Loire

  • Digoin

Allier

Nièvre

  • Decize
  • Nevers
  • La Charité-sur-Loire
  • Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire

Cher

  • Sancerre

Loiret

  • Briare
  • Gien
  • Orléans

Loir-et-Cher

  • Blois

Indre-et-Loire

  • Amboise
  • Tours

Maine-et-Loire

  • Montsoreau
  • Saumur

Loire-Atlantique

  • Ancenis
  • Nantes
  • Saint-Nazaire

See here France travel guide

See here Spain travel guide

See here Pyrenees travel guide

See here Andorra travel guide

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