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WATERWAYS IN FRANCE (part 3)

 
 
           
 

The Moselle River

The Moselle (known as Mosel in German) is approximately 320 mi. (515 km) long, rising in the Vosges mountain range of northeastern France, and winding generally north past Epinal and Metz. Leaving France, it forms part of the border between Luxembourg and Germany, then enters Germany, passes Trier, and cuts between the Eifel and the Hunsrück ranges to reach the Rhine River at Koblenz. The Moselle receives the Saar River near Trier. The Moselle Canal, built in 1964, made the river navigable for 1500-ton barges between Metz and Koblenz. The canal is overseen by representatives of France, Luxembourg, and Germany, and is a symbol of peace among them.

The Oise River

The Oise River is 186 mi. (299 km) long, rising in the Ardennes Mountains of southern Belgium, and flowing through northern France generally southwest past Compiègne to join the Seine River near Pontoise. Navigable for most of its length, the Oise is an important transportation route; canals link it with the Aisne, Sambre, and Thérain rivers.

The Rhine Canals

Among the chief canals linking the Rhine with other river systems are the Rhine-Rhône Canal, 217 mi. (349 km) long (built 1784-1833, now unimportant), connecting with the Rhône River through the Saône River; the Rhine-Marne Canal, 195 mi. (314 km) long (built 1841-52); the Dortmund-Ems Canal, 165 mi. (266 km) long (built 1892-99), and the Rhine-Herne Canal, 24 mi. (39 km) long (built 1907-14), connecting the Rhine with the West German port of Emden. The Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, opened in 1992, links waterway systems between the North Sea and the Black Sea. Its waters are also used to generate electricity.


Source: Columbia Encyclopedia, Paul Lagasse, Lora Goldman, Archie Hobson (Editors).

The Rhine River

 
 

Clair de Lune sur le Rhin, pres de Schonau, Alsace

Clair de Lune sur le Rhin,
près de Schonau, Alsace
(artist unknown)
20x16 Fine Art Print

 

Known as Rijn in Dutch, Rhin in French, Rhein in German (from the Latin "Rhenus"), the principal river of Europe is approximately 820 mi. (1,320 km) long. It issues from the Rheinwaldhorn Glacier more than 11,000 ft. (3,353 m) above sea level in the Swiss Alps and flows generally north, passing through or bordering on Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, and the Netherlands before emptying into the North Sea. Its important tributaries are the Aare, Neckar, Main, Moselle, and Ruhr rivers; canals link the river with the Maas, Rhône-Saône, Marne, and Danube (via the Main) valleys.

The Rhine was declared free to international navigation in 1868, and in 1919 navigation of the river between Basel and Krimpen, on the Lek, and Gorinchem, on the Waal, was placed under the authority of the Central Rhine Commission, with headquarters at Strasbourg (Alsace). Navigation above Basel is controlled jointly by Switzerland and Germany.

The river carries more traffic than any other waterway in the world and is navigable by oceangoing vessels as far as Mannheim, Germany, by river barges to Basel, Switzerland, and by pleasure craft and sightseeing boats on navigable stretches as far as Rheinfelden, Switzerland. Coal, coke, grain, timber, and iron ore are the principal cargoes carried on the river. Rotterdam is the chief outlet to the North Sea, and Duisburg, the outlet for the Ruhr industrial region, is the leading river port. The Rhine-Main-Danube canal, completed in 1992, now allows barge traffic between the North Sea and the Black Sea.


Source: Columbia Encyclopedia, Paul Lagasse, Lora Goldman, Archie Hobson (Editors).
Bibliography: W. Marsden, The Rhineland (1973); K.-W. Kock and G. Rohr, The Rhine (1987).

The Rhône River

 

Starlight Over Rhone, by Vincent van Gogh

Starlight Over Rhône
by Vincent van Gogh
31x24 Fine Art Poster

 
 

The Rhône {rohn} River (from the Latin "Rhodanus"), one of Europe's longest rivers, rises in Switzerland, flows southward through eastern France, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea after a course of about 500 mi. (800 km). Its source is the Rhône glacier in the Swiss Alps at an altitude of about 6,000 ft. (1,830 m). For about 100 mi. (160 km) it flows through deep Alpine valleys before entering Lake Geneva. The city of Geneva lies at the river's outflow from the lake. Flowing into France, the Rhône is joined at Lyon by the Saône, its principal tributary. Its course then turns southward through a turbulent trough between the Alps and the Massif Central. It empties into the Mediterranean by a large delta. In addition to the Saône, important tributaries include the Arve, Ardeche, Isere, and Durance. The Rhône is fed chiefly by the melting snows of the Alps. Its most rapid flow occurs in spring and early summer. In its lower course it enters the Mediterranean region of winter rains and consequently reaches a secondary high level in November and December.

The Rhône is turbulent and has been little used for navigation. In recent years, however, its course from Lyon to the sea has been improved by the construction of dams to regulate flow and generate hydroelectric power. River craft now use the river upstream to Lyon, although the traffic remains small. Agricultural improvements in the Rhône Valley have resulted in prosperous farms, orchards, and vineyards.

Although little used for transport, the Rhône has guided transportation. It is paralleled by heavily used roads and railroads from Lyon to the delta. The chief cities on its banks are Lyon, Vienne, Valence, Avignon (where the immense 14th-century papal palace overlooks the river), and Arles. The delta has no ports; a canal links the lower river with Marseille 25 mi. (40 km) to the east.


Norman J. G. Pounds, Professor of Geography and History, Indiana University, Bloomington.
Source: Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia v9.0.1., Grolier Interactive Inc., Danbury, CT.

Next page >> Saône, Seine, Somme, Vienne, Yser & Other Rivers

 
 

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