Mirabeau Bridge over the Durance.
Origin Cottian Alps
Mouth Rhone
43°55′21″N 4°44′35″E / 43.9225°N 4.74306°E / 43.9225; 4.74306 (Rhône-Durance)Coordinates: 43°55′21″N 4°44′35″E / 43.9225°N 4.74306°E / 43.9225; 4.74306 (Rhône-Durance)
Basin countries France
Length 324 km (201 mi)[1]
Source elevation 2,300 m (7,500 ft)
Avg. discharge 188 m3/s (6,600 cu ft/s) 
Basin area 14,225 km2 (5,492 sq mi)

The Durance (Durença in Occitan or Durènço in Mistralian) is a major river in south-eastern France.

Its source is in the south-western Alps, in Montgenèvre ski resort near Briançon and it flows south-west through the following départements and cities:

The Durance's main tributaries are the Bléone and Verdon rivers. The Durance itself is a tributary of the Rhone River and flows into the Rhone near Avignon.



The Durance is documented in Ancient Greek as drouentios potamos and in Latin as Druentia (1st century), Durantia (854, 1271) and Durentia (1127). The traditional forms are probably derivatives of *Dūrantia, based on the Celtic "dour" (water) and suffix "ant" (stream). The Latin form drou ("hard") changed into the Old French "dur".[2] Similar names are found in the names of many rivers in the Western Alps: Dora in Italy, Dranse in Haute-Savoie, and the Drôme in south-eastern France. All these rivers have their sources in mountains, and are fast-running.

The Durance flows more slowly than the Clarée or Guisane, even though they are further downstream. The Durance is better known than the other two because the Durance valley is an old and important trade route, whereas those of Clarée and Guisane are dead ends.[3][4]


Confluence with the Rhone

The Durance is 305 kilometres (190 mi) long from its source at the foot of Sommet des Anges, at 2,390 metres (7,840 ft) high,[5] beneath Montgenèvre, to its confluence with the Rhône. However, a longer route is traced by the Clarée-Durance system with a length of 325 kilometres (202 mi). Its descent is unusually rapid at 81 m/km (165 ft/mi) in its first 12 km (7.5 mi), then 15 m/km (30 ft/mi) to its confluence with the Gyronde,[6] and then still nearly 8 m/km (16 ft/mi) to the confluence with the Ubaye. This descent stays relatively steep after this confluence, then shallows to approximately 0.33% in its middle course (to the Mirabeau bridge), then 0.24% in its lower course.[7] For comparison, at approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) from its source, the Isère is at 330 metres (1,080 ft) altitude and the Durance at 700 metres (2,300 ft), which contributes partially to its fast-flowing nature, including in the lower part of the river. It drops 1,847 metres (6,060 ft) from its source to Mirabeau[8] and approximately 2,090 metres (6,860 ft) from its source to the confluence with the Rhône.

Departments and main towns crossed

The river only runs through the towns of Briançon and Sisteron — built where the banks are very steep — the other towns are built on slopes close to the river:

The Durance catchment area extends to three other departments: Var, Drôme and Alpes-Maritimes.

Start of the river: source to Serre-Ponçon

The dam at the Lac de Serre-Ponçon

Until the Lac de Serre-Ponçon, an artificial lake with a hydroelectric dam, the Durance flows through a broad valley surrounded by the high Pelvoux mountain range. It is an Alpine river, strongest after the snow melts in the spring, with its highest level in June and a sustained flow even in summer. The mountain stream of Montgenèvre flows into the Clarée, crosses Briançon then the Guisane flows into it. It then moves south where the waters of the Gyronde also flow into it — the Écrans glacial stream — in L'Argentière-la-Bessée. Its course veers south-south-east until its confluence with the Guil below Guillestre and Mont-Dauphin, then backs south-south-west and flows into the Lac de Serre-Ponçon a little downstream of Embrun. The confluence with the Ubaye was flooded as the lake filled.

Middle section of the river: from Serre-Ponçon to the water gap of Mirabeau

Durance Valley at Les Mées, in the northern part of Plateau de Valensole. In the background is the Mourre de Chanier mountain. The EDF Canal is the thin white line in the distance between the tree line and the base of the hills.

The middle part of the Durance runs through a landscape that changes radically as the mountains draw aside and increasingly wider plains replace them. The river itself becomes steeply banked, carving through terraces around a trench of a few metres to some tens of metres deep. Here, the nature of the Durance becomes Mediterranean: floods caused by the autumnal rains, with severely low water levels in summer. Just before the water gap of Sisteron, the Durance joins Buëch, which takes water from the EDF Canal. Many minor streams also flow close to Sisteron (Sifts, Jabron, Vançon). Upstream the Durance is surrounded by hills and plains, but the valley widens into an alluvial plain several kilometres wide (5 kilometres (3.1 mi) in Manosque), and the river was recently diverted for the development of modern agriculture and the construction of the A51 motorway.

The river receives the waters of Bléone near Les Mées and from the Adze a few kilometres to the south of Oraison. The Verdon flows into the Durance near Cadarache: this junction is difficult to see unless viewed from above. Several stopping-places were built along the middle part of the Durance, in addition to Serre-Ponçon: Espinasses, Sisteron, L'Escale (which means "the stopover") and Cadarache. There are more small canals whose primary purpose is to draw water from the river into the EDF Canal which feeds the hydroelectric power stations; the lakes which they create cannot be used to control the course of the river. Some of the water is used for irrigation.

End of the river: Jouques to Avignon

The Durance, close to Avignon
The Durance, close to Cavaillon

The valley tightens for a few kilometres with the crossing of the Mirabeau water gap, at a depth of 200 metres (660 ft),[9] then rewidens into an even broader plain until the confluence with the Rhone. Its orientation changes from north-south to east-west, like the small provençal mountain ranges between which it flows (Alpilles and Luberon). The Durance receives only one significant tributary on this last part of its course: the Calavon (also called le Coulon), which circumvents the Lubéron range by the north.

Summary of tributaries

Rivers longer than 20 kilometres (12 mi) that flow into the Durance, the branches are listed in order of their occurrence:

  • (MR) la Clarée;
  • (R) la Guisane;
  • (R) l'Onde;
  • (R) la Gyronde;
  • (R) la Biaysse;
  • (L) le Merdanel;
  • (L) le Guil;
  • (R) le Couleau;
  • (R) le Rabioux;
  • (L) le Boscodon;
  • (R) le Torrent de Réallon;
  • (L) l'Ubaye;
  • (R) l'Avance;
  • (R) la Luye;
  • (R) le Rousine;
  • (L) le Sasse;
  • (R) le Buëch;
  • (R) le Jabron;
  • (L) le Vançon;
  • (L) la Bléone;
  • (L) le Rancure;
  • (L) l'Asse;
  • (R) la Largue;
  • (L) le Verdon;
  • (R) l'Èze;
  • (R) le Calavon (also called le Coulon)
(L) left bank tributary; (D) right bank tributary; (MR) main river, the name given to part of the water course taken into account in the calculation of its total length.


A river known as "capricious" and formerly dreaded due to its flash floods (it was called the third plague of Provence) as well as for its low water level, the Durance is at the same time an alpine and Mediterranean river with particular morphology. The High-Durance was an alpine river (flow ranging from 18 to 197m³/s). Its total drainage area is 14225 km².[10] At the confluence with Ubaye, salmonused to thrive, and trout were found up until Sisteron, before the development of the river.


At the confluence with the Rhone, the average natural flow of the Durance is approximately 190m³/s, with a high annual variability. It can vary between 40 m³/s (the most severe low water levels) and 6000 m³/s[11] (millennial floods), levels reached in 1843, 1882 and 1886. At the outlet into the Lac de Serre-Ponçon, the medium flow is 81m³/s;[6] at the level of Oraison it is 123m³/s[6] and after receipt of the Verdon, flow reaches 174 m³/s[6] (250 to 330 m³/s in spring, 100 m³/s in the summer[12]). The contribution of water from the tributaries downstream is very low. The annual maximum generally occurs in May or June, but the most violent flash floods occur in autumn. The low water level occurs in winter in the upper valley, and in summer in the middle and lower part of the river.

Mixed sources

The watershed of the Durance ranges from land with year-round snow, to hills and plateaus with a Mediterranean climate. Thus, the river is subjected to a snow regime in its upper part (up to Serre-Ponçon), with winter low water levels and floods each year from May to July. At Serre-Ponçon, there is a watershed of 3600 km², a low water level of 83.3 m³/s, with a low flow of 18 m³/s, and a maximum flood of 1700 m³/s (value recorded in 1957).[10]

Further downstream, its many tributaries of the uplands, or Mediterranean plateaus, primarily bring rain water in winter, in spring and during the floods of autumn, with a low and very irregular flow in summer. The result is a shift of the maximum natural spring, from June to May, down the river.[citation needed]

Flash floods and low water levels

Crest gate of water rising at the dam of Serre-Ponçon seen from the bridge at Espinasse - May 30, 2008
Spillway of Serre-Ponçon dam seen from Espinasse bridge - May 30, 2008

The river is famous historically for its unstable course, impulsive and changeable. The floods, violent and frequent, increased in number and force from the second half of the 16th century, to attenuate and space themselves in the 20th century. As in all the Mediterranean alpine surface, this period of strong increase in the force and the flood frequency is due to the combination of cooling starting from the 14th and until the 19th century (rains and snowfalls more frequent), and to an important clearing of the slopes of the mountains of the basin of the Durance, starting from the 16th century.[13]

Between 1832 and 1890, the Durance had 188 water rises of more than 3 metres (measured with the bridge of Mirabeau).[14] That of 1843 carried several newly-built suspension bridges (those of Remollon, going back to 1829, of Mirabeau, built in 1835, of Manosque, unfinished, of Les Mées, going back to 1838). The flood of 1872 still carried the bridge of Mallemort (1847).[15]

These floods millénales (three in the 19th century: 1843, 1856, 1886) reach 5000 with 6000 m³/s, according to the auteurs;[16] for comparison, the Seine flooding of 1910 reached approximately 2400 m³/s with its more extremely. In the 19th century, the principal floods are those of 1843, 1856 (which flooded Avignon) and 1886.[17] And even of raw less important can be devastating: that of 31 May and 1 June 1877 carried the bridge of Tallard.[18]

In the 20th century, the floods were less frequent and violent thanks to the afforestation of the catchment area, but one still observed important ones in 1957 and 1994 (3000 m³/s). These maxima are raised in Mirabeau; in Sisteron, the floods can have a flow of 2800 m³/s; with the confluence with the Verdon, the flow can reach 500 m³/s.[12]

The importance of these floods is due to a very important streaming: the height of the water blade run out in Cadarache east of 472 mm, for an average of 750 mm precipitations: 63% of the rains stream and lead in Durance.[6]

Previously, the Durance had carried the town of Rama (between Briançon and Embrun, with the confluence of Biaisse) in the 12th century.[19]

At Mirabeau, the low water level is 45 m³ /s, that is to say a variation from 1 to 133; at the time of the dryness of 1921, which lasts until December, the flow goes down up to 27 m³/s.[20]

Formations of islands in the river bed

Three types of islands are formed in the bed of the Durance:

  • gravel benches, brought by the floods, and generally without or with little vegetation;
  • the iscles or let us isclons, fertile benches of silts on which can push plants with rapid growth (wicker), and which are swept only by the strong floods;
  • stuffed them, of the accumulations of trunks and wood flottés.[21]

Management of the course

Dams and canals

To secure devastating floods (which carried sometimes a whole side of bank, and a city with), of dam the started to be built during the Middle Ages. They are often boxes of wood filled up of stones, which do not resist the floods a long time. In another direction, since the same time, one uses the water of the Durance to irrigate the close grounds, then to feed out of water all Provence. The first known canal is the canal Saint-Julien, dug in 1171 by the marquis de Forbin.[22] It was followed by the Adam de Craponne canal (50 km dug in nine months in 1554 from Silvacane to Arles), the canal des Alpilles, the canal de Marseille, the canal de Carpentras, the canal de Manosque, the canal de Ventavon, and the hundreds of other smaller ones,[23] totalling 540 km dug between the end of the 16th century and the end of the 19th century.[24]

Marseille Canal

From 1839 to 1854, the engineer Franz Mayor de Montricher built a canal intended to supply the city of Marseille with drinking water. The canal follows a layout of 80 km in length of which 17 km is underground and traverses the Bouches-du-Rhône. The canal is made out of concrete, the air works out of stones or stones and bricks. Flow of the work is 10 m³ /s, the slope of 0.36 m/km. The width at the top is 9.4m, the width of the basin 3m.

The catch initial water was located on the Durance at the level of the bridge of Pertuis, at an altitude of 185 metres, and with 50 kilometres with flight bird of Marseilles. From there the channel left towards thewest under theHolyone. During the construction of the large EDF canal, which doubles the Durance from Serre-Ponçon until Salon-de-Provence and the Étang de Berre, the catch water of the canal of Marseilles was deferred on the EDF canal itself, after Saint-Estève-Janson. From there the canal of Marseilles continues towards the North-West with the bridge of Cadenet, where it supplies the basin of Saint-Christophe. The Durance still provides today two-thirds of the water resource of the town of Marseilles.

Hydroelectric installation

In 1955, a law was voted for the installation of the Durance-Verdon. Within this framework, three missions are entrusted at EDF:

  • electrical production;
  • water supply of the cultures (irrigation) and the cities;
  • regulation of the crues.[25]

This program involved, over one 40 years period, the construction of 23 stoppings and hydrants (hydrants upstream of Claux on Argentière with that of Mallemort while passing by the stopping of Serre-Ponçon), channel EDF of the Durance, feeding 33 hydroelectric stations, and several control stations.[26]

This program is an almost complete success:

  • the Durance-Verdon unit produces 6 to 7 billion kWh per annum (10% of the French hydroelectric production);
  • the stoppings tanks provide drinking water to all the area, and irrigate all Provence (a third of the French irrigation);
  • the lakes are a tourist attraction (Serre-Ponçon attracts 10% of the tourists attending Hautes-Alpes);
  • if the flow is regularized, and the weak and average floods perfectly controlled, installation does not have any effect on the major floods, like showed it the flood of 1994 (3000 m³ /s in Cadarache).[10] Indeed the stopping tank of Serre-Ponçon controls only the higher course of the Durance, and does not play any part on the affluents, whose role is important in the formation of the major floods. All the other stoppings are only hydrants. Only the Verdon sees its flow controlled by the stopping of Holy-Cross (so of storage capacities exist at the time of raw).[27]

Impact of the works

The Durance had an average natural flow of 188m³/s and a river mode of Mediterranean type, but hydraulic installations modified its course. Separately a very low reserved flow, the mass of water circulates from now on in a “channel usinier” which skirts the natural bed of the large river in order to make them pass by a series of hydro-electric factories.[28] This channel usinier can contain until 250m³/s. So at the time of the great floods, the surplus waters borrow again the natural bed, the tanks being largely insufficient to store similar masses water (it acts especially of Serre-Ponçon, but also of the large tanks of the Verdon, its principal affluent).

Roquefavour Aqueduct

Ecology along the river

Many habitats of both regional and European importance are found along the river and these habitats are naturally regulated by hydrologic forces. These habitats encompass both montane and Mediterranean types. It is an important biological corridor, within the national green infrastructure and the Pan-European ecological network frameworks, which explains its classification as a Natura 2000 protected area.

Currently there are between 150 and 200 species of benthic macroinvertebrates,[29] but with few plant species (due to the oligotrophic and hydrologically dynamic nature of the river).

Water quality is considered good in the higher valley, in spite of inevitable filling with many reserves, which deprive the Durance of the power necessary to carry the sediments. This quality was obtained thanks to actions of cleansing (including on the affluents of the Luye and Calavon (also called le Coulon)). There remain some black spots in the valley (downstream from the Arkema factory in Château-Arnoux, after the junction with the Calavon.[30]

The 320 millimetres (13 in) depth variation results in significant temperature variations, varying seasonally (from 0 to 28°C) and daily(7.5°C of amplitude the summer, 10°C the winter), and is a significant factor in the biodiversity of the river. The installation of the valley and the spacing and reduction in the importance of the floods allowed the colonization of alluvial space by one ripisylve of alder S and of poplar S which constitutes one locally gallery-forest. The bed, although less wet, accommodates 110 more species of birds during the year, plus 82 species of migratory birds which find there zones of rest and nourishment, and sometimes of reproduction. 110 species hibernate there.[30] Avian diversity increased after installations, but it is probable there was formerly a diversity higher than this, the same number individuals higher for certain families of birds.

There are approximately 75 species of mammals in the Durance catchment, including: Europe beaver, amphibious field vole, crossope (or watery shrew), many species of bat (barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus, large murine (Myotis myotis), large rhinolophe (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), minioptère of Schreibers (Miniopterus schreibersi), small murine (Myotis blythii), small rhinolophe (Rhinolophus hipposideros), vespertilion with indented ears (Myotis emarginatus), and vespertilion of Capaccini (Myotis capaccinii)). Invasive species are becoming more problematic invasive (including coypu[30] and muskrat more recently arrived). Otter are potentially locally extirpated from sections, or indeed have become extinct in the entire catchmen.[31]

The Durance close to Manosque

The populations of algae and water plants (100 species on average) and water invertebrates (77 species) are varied than before installations (comparison with those of the Adze (Alp-of-High-Provence) and of Buëch). Jussy, an invasive plant, has gradually appeared (since 1986) in the stagnant water (dead gravel pits, pond, arms).[32]

There are in the same way few fish species (14), but some patrimonial species; in addition to blageon and toxostome, one also finds large populations of Zingel asper and loach (Cobitis taenia taenia) (both endangered species of fish). But the silting and the lack of oxygen compromise the reproduction of the truites.[33] The Brook lamprey was still recently seen there. Perhaps it has disappeared.[34]


The Durance played a very important part in the history of Provence, and largely contributed to the economic growth and demographic of the Marseilles area, after having been an obstacle for centuries. From Antiquity until the 19th century, the Durance was famous for its difficult crossing, its brutal floods and an inconstant flow. The width of its bed, the force and low depth of its current, and the changes of course after the floods returned there crossing by ford or ferry, as well as the very difficult river navigation (in spite of a relatively important water in periods of high-water). One needed sometimes several ferries to cross the various arms or channels, to frequently rebuild the cable ("flying bridge") support, and the unstable and sometimes abrupt banks returned the establishment of the ferry and its difficult access. The fords were difficult to establish, often carried: the only durable ones are those of Mirabeau and Pertuis, unusable in periods of crues.[35]


Twelve million years ago, the Durance flowed directly into the Mediterranean.[36] During the Riss glaciation, the Durance took its source with Sisteron, where the icecap finished receding from the Alps.[37] It is also during this period that the Durance course changed towards the west, between Luberon and Alpilles, and flow into the Rhone.[37]


Bas-relief Gallo-Roman time: trade of wine on the Durance (Cabrières-d'Aigues, Vaucluse)

In pre-Roman times, the Durance was the border between various Celto-Ligurian people established along its course, such as the Cavares (Cavaillon) and the Salyes (Bouches-du-Rhône).

Strabon (1st century) signaled that a ferry was established in Cavaillon,[38] the great Roman way of Spain in Italy not crossing the Durance between Cavaillon and the Mount-Genèvre. That a bridge existed in Sisteron is known.[38] Other ferries were allowed to cross it, in particular with the height of Pertuis,[citation needed] city whose name preserves the memory of this function. Difficult to cross (except in Sisteron, where its course is tightened between two rock banks), the Durance is nevertheless navigable. Low-relief the S of Cabrières-d'Aigues show it, the river is used for the transport of various liquid food products (wine, olive oil),[38] Gallo-Romans used the boat-towers (helciarii) and wind to go up the current. Several specialized corporations ensured this transport: nautes had to monopoly transport on large rivers and used boats, the utricular (utricularii) which had it on the small rivers and in the marshes used rafts floating on inflated goatskin bottles. Two corporations the utricular ones were in Sisteron and Riez.[39]

This trade fed the activity of an important port, near to the road crossroads of Sisteron, at the place called Le Bourguet, in L'Escale: the port existed before the Roman conquest, but was developed during the 1st century BC, was prosperous until the Crisis of the Third Century, before finding an economic activity until the beginning of the 5th century.[39]

The valley of the Durance is a route of penetration of the Alps, borrowed by the Via Domitia. A statue of Janus rises high beside in Montgenèvre, not passage between Cisalpine Gaul and it Gallia Narbonensis[40]

Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, the county of Forcalquier stretched all along the Durance, from Cavaillon to La Roche-de-Rame, close to Embrun. From the 12th to the 19th century, the river was employed with flotation of wood, crossed in the Alps (in particular by the monks of Boscodon, which by privilege of 1191 used the river.[41]) and used in the towns of plain and the shipyards.

Other goods were transferred on the river, including mainly salt, goods which see their price increased by the ten tolls established out of the 300 km of the river.[42]

Sisteron built on banks of the Durance

The bridge of Sisteron, erected in the Middle Ages, remained, to the middle of the 19th century, the only passage into a hard bank across the Durance. After the year Millet, the number of ferries (already present before) increases however: it is about trail ferries (equipped with a mast which are pressed on a cable, the flying bridge, tended between two banks of the principal course). The oldest known one was the one between La Roque-d'Anthéron and Cadenet (in Gontard), attested in 1037.[43] In the 16th century, that of Pertuis still existed. Thereafter, the evidence of existence of ferries multiplies, in particular with Rognonas, La Brillanne (13th century), Noves, Orgon, Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, Meyrargues, Pertuis, Peyrolles, that of Cante-Perdrix in Mirabeau, Manosque, Giropey, Château-Arnoux, Le Bourguet, Volonne, Bompas.[43] The principal ones are those of Cadenet and Mirabeau, which were borrowed by the herds of sheep for transhumance.[44] Other ferries are installed to supply the mills built at the end of the 18th century in Poët, with Upaix and Claret.[45] Nevertheless, the service road by ferry remains increasingly weaker than that of the Rhone (a ferry each 9–11 km on average, against every 5.2 km on the Rhone).[46] Starting from the 12th century, wood bridges were also built, which lasted more or less a long time, and were destroyed in various ways:

  • in Maupas (current Bonpa', in Caumont), of the end of the 12th century with its destruction by the count of Toulouse in 1241;
  • in Mirabeau, the beginning of the 13th century, close to Holy-Madeleine-of-Bridge;
  • in Savines, more attended bridges of the High-Durance (15th century). Lastly, the ancient bridge of Sisteron east rebuilt in 1365.[47]

19th century

In 1856, the millénale floods the entire basin of the Durance, from Sisteron to its confluence in Avignon. It carries the cultivated alluvial terraces, breaks the dams, and destroys the canals.

The trade unions of sprinkling (which replaced the pareries) and the local services of the Bridges and Chaussées request an exceptional intervention from the State. The first service of observation of a river is created, the Special service of Durance, in order to study the hydrology of the river, follow-up of the kilometric demarcation of the river as from 1868, the confluence with the Verdon with that with the Rhone. This demarcation allows one levelling and to chart the grounds inondables.[48] The construction of the Marseilles canal in the middle of the 19th century allowed the Marseilles urban agglomeration to develop very quickly.

20th century: hydroelectric installations

The use of the Durance as a loader-gate decreased with the competition from road, and ceased definitively with the introduction of rail. There remained only 10 raftmen in 1896, one in 1908.[43]

Hydroelectric installations, with the construction of the chain of locks on the Durance, the Verdon like on Buëch and Bléone, had the most significant economic impacts and most visible in the landscape. The major part of the flow was diverted in channels downstream from Serre-Ponçon, and only in the natural bed a reserved flow of 2 with circulates 5m³/s, corresponding to 1/40 of the natural flow. The bed is gradually fixed and vegetation starts to push there, where the water does not run any more. Thanks to the tanks of Serre-Ponçon and Holy-Crosses, which can retain a total of more than 2 billion tons of water, irrigation remains possible in summer during the driest years. The water levels allowed development of the local economy thanks to the summer tourism.

Beginning in the 1950s, very hard aggregate was extracted from the river bed to be used for road surfacing and resistant concretes. The majority of the quarries are now in the process of closing. The few factories using the river's energy have closed (an aluminium factory at L'Argentière-la-Bessée) or are being closed (Arkema at Saint-Auban).

In the Arts

The Palais Longchamp

The Durance is represented in the form of a majestic group carved in the Palais Longchamp, in Marseille, built between 1862 and 1869 by the architect Espérandieu, in order to celebrate the arrival of water from the Durance into the city, via the Canal de Marseille.

It is also carved under the features of a woman to the fertile belly, in Charleval, Bouches-du-Rhône.

References in literature:

  • Alexandre Dumas refers to the Durance as one of the three scourges of Provence the other two being the mistral and parliament.[49]
  • poets Adolphe Dumas (1806–1861), félibre, republican and traditionalist, Paul Arena, Clovis Hugues in the Time of cherries and Élémir Bourges evoked this river;
  • the best known writer to be inspired by the Durance is Jean Giono, who makes use of it in his imaginary geography of Provence, transforming it into river (it speaks about it with the masculin,[50] making him cross the cluse of Sisteron without evoking the city, then the Rebeillard highland completely imaginaire.[51] Horseman on the Roof he sets along the course of the Durance.) Among the painters to have represented it, Guigou and Monticelli, close friends, settled in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance and made many paintings where it appears, either as background, or as subject (86 of the 421 paintings of Guigou). The painter surrealist of Romanian origin Victor Brauner, took refuge in 1942 in Remollon and made several paintings on materials of fortune.[51]

Notes and references

  1. ^ "The Durance at the Sandre database". http://sandre.eaufrance.fr/app/chainage/courdo/htm/X---0000.php?cg=X---0000. 
  2. ^ Toponomie de la Drome, Dictionaire Etymologique des Communes, Peuples Anciens, Fleuves, Rivieres, Montagnes du Department de la Drome, Bulletin de la Societe d'Archeologie et de Statistique de la Drome, p. 162.
  3. ^ Mastras, Nicolas (2004), "Durance, source et frontière", in Sapiega, Jacques (DVD), La Durance, parcours & regards, PACA District Council 
  4. ^ Clébert, Jean-Paul; Rouyer, Jean-Pierre (1991), "La Durance", Rivers and valleys of France, Toulouse: privately published, p. 20, ISBN 2708995030 
  5. ^ Clébert & Rouyer, Durance, p.20.
  6. ^ a b c d e Clébert & Rouyer, Durance, p.35.
  7. ^ Barruol, Guy (2005), "The Durance in Antiquity and the Middle Ages", in Furestier, Denis; Lonchambon, Catherine; Miramont, Cecile (in French), "The Durance along and across: ferries, boats and rafts in the history of a capricious river", series=The Alps Of Light=issue=149, Forcalquier, p. 24, ISBN 2-906162-71-X 
  8. ^ Guy Barruol, p.24.
  9. ^ Guy Valencia, "Hydraulics and morphology of the bed in zone of Piedmont and plain", Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: Bond of life of the territory régional, [S.l.] : District council PACA, p.11
  10. ^ a b c Serge Gachelin, The Major Hydrographic Network of the Area, p.7-8.
  11. ^ Cecile Miramont, "History of river landscapes", in Guy Barruol, Denis Furestier, Catherine Lonchambon, The Durance length into broad: ferries, boats and rafts in the history of a river capricieuse, The Alps of light No 149, Forcalquier 2005, ISBN 2-906162-71-X, p.15.
  12. ^ a b Géraldine Bérard, Archaeological chart Alp-of-High-Provence, Academy of the Inscriptions and the Humanities, Paris, 1997, p.51.
  13. ^ Cécile Miramont, The Durance length in large, p.18-19.
  14. ^ Cecile Miramont, The Durance length in large, p.15.
  15. ^ Philippe Autran, "The highway network with XIXe and XXe centuries: revolution with mechanization", in Autran, Guy Barruol and Jacqueline Ursch, From one bank to another: bridges of High-Provence from Antiquity to Our Day, The Alps of Light No 153, Forcalquier, 2006. ISBN 2-906162-81-7, p.46-47.
  16. ^ Dans The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional, Serge Gachelin gives 5000 m³ (p.8) like Henri Pignoly (p.99); in the same work, Bernard Amouretti gives 6000 m³ (p.25). Cecile Miramont (to see haut' more; ') give it also an estimate of 6000 m³/s. Jacques Sapiega, in his géorama “the Durance & The Verdon” (DVD The Durance: course and regard '), 5500 m³/s on December 26, 1882 gives; Clébert & Rouyer give 6000 m³/s in November 1886, in Durance, p.39.
  17. ^ Bernard Amouretti, “the Man was a long time under the dependence of the Durance”, Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional, District council PACA, p.25.
  18. ^ Jean-Paul Clébert and Jean-Pierre Rouyer, the Durance, Pri , Toulouse, 1991, in the Rivières collection and valleys of France, ISBN 2-70899503-0, p.91.
  19. ^ Guy Barruol, The Durance in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, p.24.
  20. ^ Jacques Sapiega, géorama, "The Durance & The Verdon".
  21. ^ Clébert & Rouyer, "La Durance", p.32.
  22. ^ Nicolas Bonci, “transported water”, inJacques Sapiega, The Durance, course & regard', District council PACA, 2004 (DVD).
  23. ^ Guy Barruol, “the Durance in Antiquity and with the Middle Ages”, p.25.
  24. ^ Nicolas Bonci.
  25. ^ Alain Daubas, The origin of the hydroelectric project of installation the Durance-Verdon, Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional, District council PACA, p.39.
  26. ^ Alain Daubas, The network durancian: a renouvelable' energy source; ' , Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional, District council PACA, p.41-42.
  27. ^ Henri Pignoly, “the problems of believed and the culture of the risk” Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional, District council PACA, p.99.
  28. ^ "Ministry of theEcology and of sustainable development" (PDF). http://publications.ecologie.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Rapport-Durance-Prempart.pdf. 
  29. ^ Jean Giudicelli, “original Characteristics of the river”, Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional, District council PACA, p.57.
  30. ^ a b c Jean Giudicelli and Karine Viciana, "The Durance today", Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional, [S.l.] : District council PACA, pp.59-60.
  31. ^ Cf. Inventories Natura 2000, Diren.
  32. ^ Christophe Garrone, “the artificial wetlands basic Durance”, Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional, [S.l.] : District council Paca, p.77.
  33. ^ Pour the §, Jean Giudicelli and Karine Viciana, “the Durance today”, p.60.
  34. ^ Inventaires Natura 2000, Diren.
  35. ^ Bernard Amouretti, “However, the valley of the Durance was always an axis of passage”, Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional: District council PACA, p.27.
  36. ^ Jean-Paul Clébert and Jean-Pierre Rouyer, "La Durance", Privat, Toulouse, 1991, in the collection Rivers and valleys of France, ISBN 2708995030, p.11.
  37. ^ a b Clébert & Rouyer, "La Durance", pp.11-12.
  38. ^ a b c Barruol, The Durance length in large, pp.31-32, 39-40.
  39. ^ a b Barruol, The Durance length in large, p.32-36.
  40. ^ Nicolas Masras, "The Durance, source and border", in Jacques Sapiega, The Durance, course & regard, District council PACA, 2004 (DVD).
  41. ^ Barruol, The Durance length in large, p.45.
  42. ^ Tolls at Savines, Bréole, Monêtier-Allemont, it Poët, Sisteron, Les Mées, Brillanne, Saint-Paul, Mallemort and Orgon. Barruol, The Durance length in large, p.46.
  43. ^ a b c Barruol, The Durance length in large, p.48.
  44. ^ Catherine Lonchambon, “From one bank to another: the “trail ferry””, Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional, [S.l.] : District council PACA, p.33.
  45. ^ Catherine Lonchambon, “From one bank to another: the “trail ferry””, p.33.
  46. ^ Catherine Lonchambon, “From one bank to another of the Durance: strange boats”, inGuy Barruol, Denis Furestier, Catherine Lonchambon, Cecile Miramont, the Durance length into broad: ferries, boats and rafts in the history of a capricious river, the Alps of light No 149, Forcalquier 2005, ISBN 2-906162-71-X, p.55.
  47. ^ Barruol, The Durance length in large, p.48. An important canal system irrigation develops, of which some deviating a small portion of the flow towards Arles (channel of Craponne) and Crau.
  48. ^ Claude Gouron (photographer), Helene Vésian (author), Serre-Ponçon: photographic voyage to the confluence of Ubaye and Durance, the Trigger guard: Editions Barthelemy and Hangar, 2004. ISBN 2879231655, p.39.
  49. ^ Le comte de Monte-Cristo. Books.google.com. 2007-10-10. http://books.google.com/books?id=ewxMAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA45&dq=Le+Comte+de+Monte-Cristo+durance&client=firefox-a#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  50. ^ According to P. Citron, Giono, Threshold, 1990.
  51. ^ a b Clébert & Rouyer, "La Durance", pp.180-183.


  • Direction of the environment, of sustainable development and agriculture, The Durance: bond of life of the territory régional, District council PACA, 106 pp.
  • Claude Gouron, photographer, Helene Vesian, author of the texts, Pierre Magnan, preface writer, The Durance: photographic voyage from the Alps in Provence, Avignon: Alain Barthélemy, 2002.
  • Henri Julien, and Jean-Marie Gibelin, You, Durance, Barred, ED. Terradou, 1991, ISBN 978-2-907389-36-5.
  • Cecile Miramont, Denis Furestier, Guy Barruol, Catherine Lonchambon, The Durance length into broad: ferries, boats and rafts in the history a carpricious river, Forcalquier: the Alps of light, 2005, Collection: The Alps of light, ISSN 0182-4643, num. 149,120 p, ISBN 978-2-906162-71-6.
  • Jean-Paul Clébert and Jean-Pierre Rouyer, "La Durance", Privat, Toulouse, 1991, in the collection Rivers and valleys of France, ISBN 2-70899503-0.


  • Jacques Sapiega, The Durance, course & regard', District council PACA, 2004

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