The Rhône, a river in Europe, is 812 kilometers long (one third in Switzerland and two thirds in France).

Its source is the Rhône glacier, in Switzerland, at an altitude of 2,209 m, at the eastern end of Valais, in the Uranian Alps massif. It travels 290 km in Switzerland, flowing into Lake Geneva to exit in Geneva.

It then enters France, where it covers 522 km, according to the Larousse Encyclopedia, or 545 km, according to the SANDRE, taking its turn south at Lyon.

At Arles, near its mouth, the river divides into the Great Rhône and the Little Rhône (le Petit Rhône). It ends its course in the Camargue delta and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône is the last town crossed by the Rhône.

Of all the rivers flowing into the Mediterranean, the Rhône is the second largest after the Nile, if the Black Sea is not taken into account, where the Danube and the Don, in particular, flow.

Ending its course in a tidal sea, the river formed a delta with branches that moved primarily from west to east throughout history.

Now dammed, this delta is frozen, except during exceptional floods, such as in 1993, 1994 and 2003.

The main tributaries of the Rhône are, from source to mouth:

Massa (right)
Vispa (left)
Drance (left)
Trient (left)
Venoge (right, Lake Geneva)
Dranse (left, Lake Geneva)
Hermance (left, Lake Geneva)
Versoix (right, Lake Geneva)
Arve (left)
Allondon (right)
Valserine (right)
Fier (left)
Guiers (left)
Bourbre (left)
Ain (right)
Saône (right)
Gier (right)
Gère (left)
Galaure (left)
Doux (right)
Isère (left)
Eyrieux (right)
Drôme (left)
Ardèche (right)
Cèze (right)
Aigues (left)
Ouvèze (left)
Durance (left)
Gardon (right)

Before railroads and highways were developed, the Rhône was an important inland trade and transportation route, connecting the cities of Arles, Avignon, Valence, Vienne and Lyon to the Mediterranean ports of Fos-sur-Mer, Marseille and Sète.

In France the river passes 3 regions: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Occitania, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

Main cities in France along the Rhône:

  • Lyon (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
  • Vienne (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
  • Tournon-sur-Rhône (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) opposite Tain-l’Hermitage

  • Valence (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) opposite Saint-Péray and Guilherand-Granges
  • Montélimar (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) opposite Le Teil and Rochemaure
  • Viviers (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
  • Bourg-Saint-Andéol (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
  • Pont-Saint-Esprit (Occitania)
  • Roquemaure (Occitania) opposite Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)
  • Avignon (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) opposite Villeneuve-lès-Avignon (Occitania)
  • Beaucaire (Occitania) opposite Tarascon (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)
  • Vallabrègues (Occitania)
  • Arles (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)

See also France travel guide

See also Spain travel guide

See also Pyrenees travel guide

See also Andorra travel guide


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