Sarthe (river)

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Old mill at Parcé-sur-Sarthe

Old mill at Parcé-sur-Sarthe

Water code FRM --- 0060
location France , Normandy and Pays de la Loire regions
River system Loire
Drain over Maine  → Loire  → Atlantic Ocean
source in the municipality of Soligny-la-Trappe
48 ° 37 ′ 39 ″  N , 0 ° 31 ′ 44 ″  E
Source height approx.  255  m
muzzle Confluence with Mayenne above Angers to Maine Coordinates: 47 ° 29 ′ 36 ″  N , 0 ° 32 ′ 32 ″  W 47 ° 29 ′ 36 ″  N , 0 ° 32 ′ 32 ″  W
Mouth height approx.  14  m
Height difference approx. 241 m
Bottom slope approx. 0.77 ‰
length 314 km
Big cities Le Mans
Medium-sized cities Alencon
Small towns Sablé-sur-Sarthe
Navigable 136 km from the estuary to Le Mans

The Sarthe is a river in western France that runs through the Normandy and Pays de la Loire regions. It rises in the municipality of Soligny-la-Trappe , in the Perche mountains , disappears underground again after a few hundred meters and sees daylight again at Saint-Aquilin-de-Corbion . It generally drains south-west and after 314 kilometers shortly before Angers forms the Maine together with the Mayenne , which flows into the Loire after a few kilometers . The river and the department named after it are namesake for the Circuit de la Sarthe race track , on which the 24-hour race of Le Mans is held.

Crossed departments

Places on the river


Left tributaries:

Right tributaries:


Lock No. 1 in Le Mans

The Sarthe is navigable over a length of 136 km from the mouth to Le Mans. The weirs and more than 20 locks were built in the 19th century and are therefore no longer usable for today's goods traffic. Due to the dimensions of the locks, the maximum length of ships is limited to 30 m and the maximum width to 5 m. The draft must not exceed 1.50 m.

Initially, sand was transported as a building material, which came from the bed of the Loire , as well as anthracite coal and marble, both of which were mined in the vicinity of Sablé-sur-Sarthe .

First the railway (from around 1860) and then later the road traffic have long outstripped shipping on the Sarthe. However, the route is still popular for river tourism with sport boats and houseboats .

Web links

Commons : Sarthe  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Source height according to
  2. mouth height according to
  3. Sarthe at SANDRE (French)