The Loire River is with a length of 1,006 kilometres the longest river in France. The river drains an area of more than a fifth of France's land area - an area of about 117,000 square km.
The source of the river is on the South-East side of the Massif Central on the altitude of 1408 m on the slope of mountain Gerbier de Jonc (1551 m) * Encyclopaedia Britannica quotes the altitude of the source at 1370 m). The outflow of the river is at the Saint-Nazaire into the Gulf of Biscay (Golfe de Gascogne) which is part of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Loire gives its name to six departments: Loire, Haute-Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire, and Saône-et-Loire. The central part of the Loire Valley, located in the Centre region, was added to the World Heritage Sites list of UNESCO.
The name ‘Loire’ comes from Latin word Liger which is itself a transcription of the native Gaulish name of the river. The Gaulish name ‘Liger’ comes from the Gaulish word ‘liga’ which means "the sediment or the alluvium".