Word of the Day – Saturday, November 19th



Word of the Day


Clever Clue of the Month

The Cruciverbalist


Daily Email

LOIRE (lwahr)

The longest river in France

Common clues: France's longest river; French wine valley; Nante's river; River of Tours; Bay of Biscay feeder; Orlean's river; Its valley is dotted with chateaux

Crossword puzzle frequency: 4 times a year

Frequency in English language: 26120 / 86800

News: Loire wines win new fans

Video: Cathedral of Orleans along the Loire River

The Loire River, the longest river in France with a length of just over 1000 km, drains an area of 117,000 km², more than a fifth of France. The central part of the Loire Valley was added on the World Heritage Sites list by the UNESCO on December 2, 2000.

The name "Loire" comes from Latin Liger, which is itself a transcription of the native Gaulish (Celtic) name of the river. The Gaulish name of the river comes from the Gaulish word liga, which means "silt, sediment, deposit, alluvium", and which gave French lie, which in turn gave English lees. Liga comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *legh-, meaning "to lie, lay", which gave many words in English, such as to lie, to lay, ledge, law, etc.

In French the adjective derived from the river is ligérien, as in le climat ligérien ("the climate of the Loire Valley"), a climate considered the most pleasant of northern France, with warmer winters and, more generally, fewer extremes in temperatures than in more continental climates.

Originating in the north-eastern part of the southern Cévennes highlands, the Loire flows roughly northward through Roanne and Nevers to Orléans and thereafter westward through Tours to the Atlantic at Nantes. The river's irregularity has sometimes resulted in serious flooding, notably in 1856, 1866 and 1910.

The Loire River in Orleans, France.

Unlike most other rivers in Western Europe, there are very few dams or locks creating obstacles to its natural flow (the Villerest dam, built in 1985 a few kilometers south of Roanne, has played a key-role in preventing recent flooding). As a result, the Loire is a very popular river for boating excursions, flowing through a pastoral countryside, past limestone cliffs and storybook castles.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Loire River".