Doubs (river)

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The Doubs (French: [du] (About this soundlisten); Arpitan: Dubs; German: Dub) is a 453-kilometre (281 mi) long river in eastern France and western Switzerland, and is left tributary of the Saône. Its source is near Mouthe in the western Jura mountains, at an altitude of 946 metres (3,104 ft). It is the tenth longest river in France.

Dub  (German)
Doubs Laissey.jpg
The Doubs just before Besançon
Native nameDubs  (Arpitan)
CountryFrance, Switzerland
Physical characteristics
 • locationMouthe, Jura mountains
 • coordinates46°42′17″N 6°12′34″E / 46.70472°N 6.20944°E / 46.70472; 6.20944 (source Doubs)
 • elevation946 m (3,104 ft)
 • location
 • coordinates
46°54′3″N 5°1′27″E / 46.90083°N 5.02417°E / 46.90083; 5.02417 (Saône-Doubs)Coordinates: 46°54′3″N 5°1′27″E / 46.90083°N 5.02417°E / 46.90083; 5.02417 (Saône-Doubs)
 • elevation
175 m (574 ft)
Length453 kilometres (281 mi)
Basin size7,500 km2 (2,900 sq mi)
 • average176 m3/s (6,200 cu ft/s)
Basin features
ProgressionSaôneRhôneMediterranean Sea
 • leftLoue
 • rightAllan
LakesLac de Saint-Point, Lac des Brenets, Lac de Moron


From its source in Mouthe it flows northeast, more or less along the French-Swiss border (forming the border for approx. 40 km). Near Montbéliard it turns southwest, until it flows into the river Saône in Verdun-sur-le-Doubs, approx. 20 km (12 mi) northeast of Chalon-sur-Saône. Its entire course resembles an inverted letter U, with the northeastern corner the only point at which the Doubs flows into Switzerland as far as Saint-Ursanne. In Switzerland it traverses the cantons Jura and Neuchâtel.

The waterfall known as the Saut du Doubs is located on the French-Swiss border. The river, which has been dammed up by landslide debris, forms the 4-kilometre (2.5 mi) long, but only 200-metre (660 ft) wide, winding Lac des Brenets. The 27-metre (89 ft) high Doubs Falls are located at its end. The falls can be reached on foot or by passenger boat.[1]

The Saut du Doubs
Course of the Doubs

The Doubs flows through the following Departments of France, Cantons of Switzerland, and cities:

Tributaries include:

The river forms several lakes:

The Lac de Brenets

Floods and seasonal variationEdit

The rate of flow of the Doubs is very seasonally variable. The flooding season can stretch from September to May, with floods being occasioned either by heavy rains or by quick melting of snow from the Jura mountains. At its mouth, the discharge rate can vary from as low as 20 cubic metres per second (710 cu ft/s) to over 1,000 cubic metres per second (35,000 cu ft/s) during floods.

In Besançon, the largest floods have been in 1852 (8.5 metres or 27 feet 11 inches), in 1896 (7.96 metres or 26 feet 1 inch) and in 1910. There have also been many lesser floods more recently.


The Dam of Châtelot, completed in 1953

As a mountain river with substantial discharge, the Doubs has been used for electricity generation. Among several hydroelectric stations, the most important are the Dam of Châtelot, 74 metres (243 ft) tall, and the Dam of Refrain, 66.5 metres (218 ft) tall.

In Popular CultureEdit

The Doubs river is mentioned sixteen times in Stendhal's novel The Red and the Black (Le rouge et le noir).

See alsoEdit