The Bordeaux region is blessed not only with the famous delightful wine but also with a natural curiosity: the mascaret or the river tide.
The word mascaret comes from the ancient Gascon language and it means “spotted bull” (by analogy with a leaping animal).
Mascaret is a natural phenomenon that occurs in rivers – near their mouth – and estuaries at times of high tide and consists of a sudden elevation of the water, due to the strong ocean tide that overpowers the natural flow of the river or estuary.
This spectacular phenomenon – called bore – takes place in France in the Gironde estuary and the flowing-in Garonne and Dordogne Rivers.(Other mascaret spectacular places in the world are Qiantang River ( China), Severn (England) and Amazon ( Brazil ).
The bore manifests itself in the form of 4 or 5, up to 2.5 meters high waves – the highest waves occur at Equinox especially after a dry spell , when the level of river is low -, separated by a 10 meters space and advancing at a speed between 15km/h to 30km/hour depending of the location for up to 200km inland. The bore is succeeded by very turbulent water.
The mascaret is a unique kayaking and river surfing opportunity.
The best places to experience the mascaret in Gironde are:
– Gironde behind Margaux ( 50 cm) island
– Garonne behind the island of Arcins right bank (80 cm ) between Langoiran and Podensac (up to 2.5 m )
– Dordogne : Saint- Pardon ( up to 2.5 m) a few miles downstream from Libourne. Here rides of 1 kilometer are common and occasionally rides of 20 minutes can be experienced!
Hi, I am Carla. I am living and working in the beautiful city of Toulouse, France.
I like history, travel and... the southwest of France and try to share through this blog information about events that might be of interest to the travelers to this part of the world!