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The Dordogne originates in the mountains of Auvergne in the Massif Central in south-central France. It flows west through the regions of Limusin and Perigord before joining the Garonne and forming the Gironde river.

The Dordogne is one of the few rivers in the world that exhibits the phenomenon known as a tidal bore, a phenomenon in which the incoming tide from the sea forms a wave of water that travels up the river. The Valley of the Dordogne is quite beautiful and contributes significantly to the attractiveness of the region with famous vineyards, prehistoric sites, deep gorges and high bridges. Dams have been built along its course in the upper valley and the river has become an important source of hydroelectric power. Only a small portion of the river is navigable.

The towns are major tourist attractions because of their history and architecture, their quaysides are lined with a variety of eating and drinking places.