Arising in the Auvergne Mountains in south-west France from the confluence of two rivers, the Dore and the Dogne, this is a beautiful river of fast water, long lakes, deep gorges and high bridges. It flows west through orchards, vineyards and pastures in Limousin and Périgord until it joins the Gironde estuary north of Bordeaux.
Apart from its great wines and popularity with holidaymakers, the river shares a rare feature with certain British rivers like the Trent and the Ribble in having a tidal bore.

  • Bordeaux

    Bordeaux is renowned for its fine wines which are considered amongst the best in the world. As the capital of the department Gironde in the region Aquitaine, it has one million inhabitants in its metropolitan area at a 2008 estimate. After years of neglect, the former wet docks are the country's new hot spot, with a number of cafés, gardens, and museums springing up all the time. A lively university community of over 60,000, (Bordeaux Campus is the largest in France) establishes that Bordeaux is more than just fine wine.

  • Libourne

    Located where the Dordogne joins the Isle river, Libourne had its share of tribulations during the Hundred Years War but has endured to become the wine-making centre of the Gironde region.

    A pretty 16th century town house near the Place Abel Surchamp contains a small museum, while on the quay a 14th century clock-tower is what survives of the original city walls. Libourne's river bridge earned praise from none other than John Stuart Mill, who passed through here in 1854: "Quite the best thing there is the bridge of the Dordogne, the view from which is really fine."

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