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As well as being a region in the south of France, the Dordogne is also a river that runs through this part of the country. It combines with the Garonne River to form the Gironde estuary and a journey along these two waterways is often included in a Dordogne river cruise. It flows towards the Bay of Biscay from the mountains above Auvergne and its entire length of 310 miles is within France. The river takes its name from the two streams from which it is formed, the Dore and the Dogne.

Just like the Garonne, the Dordogne exhibits a tidal bore. This is when waves travel up the river, in the opposite direction to the current, and means that ships plying the route need to take great care. The Dordogne Valley is a popular holiday spot for both the French and us Brits. The beautiful scenery, excellent food and wine, and exciting water sports make it a prime tourist destination throughout the summer.

The main ports that might visit along the river include Libourne and Bourg. The former lies close to the famous wine village of Saint Émilion, which has been growing grapes since Roman times, whilst the latter offers medieval charms and quaint, historic streets.

Dordogne factfile

  • The Dordogne is a river in south-central and southwest France
  • It is 483.1 km long
  • The Dordogne and its watershed were designated Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO on July 11th 2012
  • The Dordogne flows through 4 regions, 6 departments and 173 communes
  • It flows generally west through the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and the Dordogne department before flowing into the Gironde where it joins, in the north of the city of Bordeaux