Lot (river)

The Valentré Bridge over the Lot in Cahors

Template: Infobox River / Obsolete

The Lot [ lɔt ] ( in the Occitan language: Olt ) is a river in southwest France, which runs into the regions of Languedoc -Roussillon, Midi -Pyrenees and Aquitaine.


It rises on the Mont Lozère, in the Massif Central, in the municipality of Le Bleymard, drained generally in a westerly direction and flows after 485 kilometers at Aiguillon as a right tributary of the Garonne. The river meanders severely in its course.

Crosses On his way or touches the river following départements and big places:

In the Languedoc- Roussillon region

In the Midi- Pyrénées

  • Aveyron: Saint- Eulalie d'Olt - Sainte- Eulalie- d'Olt, Espalion Estaing, Entraygues -sur -Truyère, Capdenac -Gare
  • Below Entraygues the solder forms on some kilometers, the border between the Aveyron and Cantal in the Auvergne region.
  • Lot: Cajarc, Saint- Cirq- Lapopie, Cahors, Luzech, Puy- l'Evêque

In the region of Aquitaine

  • Lot- et- Garonne: Fumel, Penne- d'Agenais, Villeneuve -sur -Lot, Clairac, Castel -sur -Lot, Aiguillon


The catchment area is 11,400 km ². The guided amount of water is highly dependent on the seasonal rains. For the level in Villeneuve -sur -Lot, a time series over 64 years from 1937 to 2000, The measuring point is detected before .. with 10,900 square kilometers, the largest part of the catchment area.

In Villeneuve, the mean annual runoff is 151 m³ / s, the monthly mean values ​​range from 32.5 m³ / s in August and 289 m³ / s in February. In particularly dry years, the runoff can temporarily ( for up to three days) to fall below 10 m³ / s. The highest runoff during the measurement period was 2450 m³ / s on 4 December 1976.

At high tide, the water level of the Lot, especially at the headwaters to the mouth of Truyère, rise rapidly - by about one meter per hour - and cause great damage. The highest water levels in the past 100 years were measured on 4 March 1927 this was also the largest flood since 1783. Finally, a flood, which mainly resulted in significant overbank flooding along the lower reaches occurred in December 2003.


The first dams along the Lot in the 16th century to power mills. Some of these mills is still preserved, for example, the mill of Coty in Cahors. The weirs were provided with a floodgate to let happen talfahrende boats or rafts with the flow. Mountain -propelled ships had to be pulled with ship winds over the weir.

To 1670, the royal finance minister Jean Baptiste Colbert between Cahors and Villeneuve build 14 -locks. The floodgates had no goals, but were sealed on both sides with oak beams. An old lock of this type has been preserved in Luzech.

1821/22 was the Director General of the road and bridge beings Louis Becquey decide by law the construction and expansion of numerous canals and rivers to run through the whole of France with a network of waterways. In addition, he defined a minimum size of 30,40 meters long, 5.20 meters wide and 1.20 meters draft, which was observed for all the locks at least. Among the developed according to this standard also scored the rivers Lot: In the 1840s created 76 new locks, which eventually made ​​the river navigable for a distance of 297 kilometers between the mouth with Nicole and Moulin d'Olt at Decazeville. To shorten the numerous meanders of the river, three ship tunnel emerged in Capdenac, Montbrun and Cajarc. The extra tight loop of Luzech crossed by a short branch canal. Along the entire navigable course was a towpath, which is obtained only partially today. Particularly spectacular is a section between Saint- Cirq- Lapopie and Bouziès where the towpath is an open gallery in a rock wall.

The navigation on the Lot was now mainly the transport of iron and coal from the industrial area of Decazeville. With the construction of the railway lines of Monsempron - Libos to Cahors ( 1869) and Cahors Capdenac (1884 ) grew the Lot shipping but soon a significant competition. Another setback meant the decline of the formerly large and respected wine region of Cahors as a result of the phylloxera crisis at the end of the 19th century, when the wine was obviated a traditional cargo. With the First World War, the shipping ended up on the Lot. 1926 Lot was deleted by government decree from the list of navigable waterways.

Because the locks have not been serviced, they fell in part, unless they have been converted for the construction of hydroelectric power plants. Only in 1990, began the gradual recovery for the sports and leisure shipping. Meanwhile, four sections of the Lot are passable, but they are not interconnected.

  • Upper Lot ( Lot amont ): Between Luzech and Saint- Cirq- Lapopie in the department of Lot, a section of 65 kilometers long with 14 locks since 1990 is navigable. He was upriver expanded in 2007 to Larnagol to three locks to 74 kilometers in length. In this section, all the locks are down to one operated by hand.
  • Lower Lot ( Lot aval ): The underflow in the department of Lot- et- Garonne was opened in 2001 between Nicole and Villeneuve -sur -Lot and meantime extended to Saint -Vite. The 72- kilometer section has six automatic locks that have been completely rebuilt part.
  • Three locks around Puy- l'Eveque were restored in 2006.
  • In Aveyron 2012 is a further 34 km long section between Port - d'Agrès and Bouillac went into operation.

The connection of the various navigable sections is planned. However, their are significant technical problems in the way. In Fumel and Luzech two large dams have to be overcome, also the former branch canal was backfilled in Luzech 1946. The three former ship tunnels are now used as supply lines to hydropower plants.

The solder has since 2003 again a navigable connection with the other waterways of Aquitaine. When Nicole takes you to the Garonne, which you follow for approximately 5 km upstream, or leave at Saint- Léger, where the Baise opens. In this way you can also reach the Canal de Garonne ( Lateral Canal à la Garonne). The crossing of the Garonne is only possible at normal water level.


Left tributaries:

  • Bramont
  • Dourdou
  • Riou Mort
  • Diège
  • Boudouyssou

Rights tributaries:

  • Colagne
  • Boralde de Saint- Chely -d'Aubrac
  • Boralde Flaujaguèse
  • Truyère
  • Cele
  • Thèze
  • Lémance
  • Lède

Places on the river

  • Mende
  • Entraygues -sur -Truyère
  • Cahors
  • Fumel
  • Villeneuve -sur -Lot
  • Castel -sur -Lot
  • Clairac
  • Aiguillon

Economy and Tourism

On its banks the wine of Cahors area and Vins d' Entraygues et du Fel and are especially cultivated plums in the lower reaches.

In the headwaters east of Mende Lot offers some extreme whitewater. Further downstream it develops into the canoe - flowing river.