Waterfalls in France (Cascades de France)


France stands out for me at number 3 or 4 as the best waterfall country in Europe. Norway and Iceland are the undisputed leaders of the finest, largest and most powerful waterfalls in Europe. France is a very big country with a great diversity of landscapes. Because of this there can be found an enormous variety of waterfalls in France.

The French word for waterfall is “cascade” or plural “cascades”. Sometimes also “chute” is used in the name of waterfalls in France or Switzerland (which is also partly speak French). If there are multiple waterfalls in a river, the biggest waterfall is often referred as “grande”.

Most of the waterfalls can be found in the mountain chain Alps in eastern France and the Pyrenees in the south of France. The most famous waterfall of France, Grande Cascade de Gavarnie is located in the Pyrenees and is also the most beautiful in France.

The Pyrenees is a mountain chain that forms a natural border between France and Spain and is 490 kilometer long. Although the highest peak in the Pyrenees is only 3.404 meters high (Aneto), there are dozens of peaks above the 3.000 meters and there are still a few glaciers left. Best period to visit the Pyrenees is from late Spring until early Summer. Early in the season the temperatures are rising quickly.

The Alps is a mountain chain that is much bigger and stretches over 1.200 kilometer, only part of it in France. The highest peak is also the most famous peak of Europe, is the Mont Blanc (4.810 meters). There are more waterfalls in the Alps then in the Pyrenees but it is hard to say which are more impressive. Waterfalls in the Alps are located more near each other then in the Pyrenees. Best period to visit the Alps is early summer and around glaciers summertime.

Besides the Pyrenees and the Alps there are still several areas with mountains with beautiful waterfalls, like on the isle of Corse but also in the middle of France. Or the beautiful Cascade du Ray-Pic near Aubenas, there is enough to explore or to enjoy in France.


European Waterfalls logo defHighest waterfall in France


The highest waterfall in France is the ‘Grande cascade de Gavarnie’ with a total height of 440 meters and a single drop of 281 meters. Late spring and early summer ‘grande cascade de Gavarnie’ is also quit a powerful waterfall. There are more water streams falling down the cirque with an impressive wide of 800 meters, but those streams are rather tiny. Although ‘grande cascade de Gavarnie’ is commonly excepted as the highest waterfall in France, there are 3 other waterfalls that exceed a total height over 400 meters: Cascade de la Fare, Cascade de Moulin Marquis and Cascade de Pissevache (Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval).


European Waterfalls logo defBiggest waterfall in France with the highest volume


The biggest waterfall in France is harder to determine. There aren’t much figures available about water streams of rivers or waterfalls in France. Probably Cascade du Rouget in the Alps is one of the most powerful waterfalls in France. There are a few other karstic waterfalls that can burst extremely, but these huge streams are temporarily.


European Waterfalls logo defMost beautiful waterfall in France


It is always a dispute which waterfall is the most beautiful waterfall in France. For me Grande cascade de Gavarnie is the most beautiful waterfall, for others Cascade de Sillans.

The most famous (and most beautiful) waterfall of France is Grande Cascade de Gavarnie, located in the French part of the Pyrenees. The Pyrenees is a mountain chain that forms a natural border between France and Spain and is 490 kilometers long. Although the highest peak in the Pyrenees is only 3.404 meters high (Aneto), there are dozens of peaks above the 3.000 meters and there are still a few glaciers left. Best period to visit the Pyrenees is from late Spring until early Summer. Early in the season the temperatures are rising quickly.


European Waterfalls logo defWaterfalls per region in France


In 2015 there were 27 regions but a year later these were reduced to 18. In the list I still mention the old regions. Best waterfall regions are Rhone Alpes and Midi-Pyrenees with the highest waterfall in France, the biggest waterfall in France and the highest amount of waterfalls in France.