“Loire Valley words” glossary

Published on 13 April 2017 - Updated 21 August 2017

Recess, usually semi-circular, forming the far end of the chancel in many churches.

Sedimentary deposit (mud, sand and gravel) left by a watercourse, accumulated during periods of flooding.

Hydraulic annexes
Wetlands in permanent or temporary relationship with the river, either directly or by capillary action: islands, oxbows, grasslands, forests, riparian forestland, springs and underground watercourses.

Terracotta with high heat resistance and reflectivity.

Variety and diversity of living animal and vegetable species and their genetic characteristics.

Stagnant wetlands alongside river channels. They reconnect to rivers when flooding occurs.

Natural levee
Accumulation of alluvial deposits alongside a watercourse, forming a slightly raised area over the course of time.

Arm of a river where water once flowed but which is now dry.

Main arm
Part of the riverbed through which most of the water flows.

Large flat-bottomed boat with high load capacity, used for river transport of goods.

Easternmost part of a church, completing its layout along with the nave and transept crossing.

Lateral depression
Part of a watercourse's floodplain located parallel to the river beyond the natural levee.

Part of the Valley that receives overflows in the event of a major flood fed by a lower section of a levee.

Tax in kind, variable in amount but generally one tenth of a peasant farmer's harvest, donated to the church.

Longitudinal dyke built across a river channel to guide flow and current to a specific bank.

Ice jam
Accumulation of blocks of ice carried by a river and obstructing passage along it.

Small dyke built perpendicularly to the bank to channel a river's flow.

Commemorative inscription engraved on a tombstone or funerary monument.

Low-water level
The lowest level of water and flow, normally experienced in summertime.

Triangular or arched architectural feature on a horizontal base topping a façade or avant-corps, wider than it is high and often bearing sculpted decoration.

Name given to the long dykes bordering the Loire to protect its Valley from the rivers' floods.

Adjective derived from "Liger", the Latin name for the Loire, and qualifying anything related to it (e.g. Ligerian boat). By extension, a noun designating the people living alongside the Loire: the Ligerians.

Alluvial deposit featuring in the Valley's light, fertile soils.

Floodplain and river channel
The Loire's river channel is the space between the levees that border it; its floodplain is the area across which its floods have always spread.

Vineyard lodge
Small utilitarian building set among the vines, where winegrowers can take their meals, rest a while, or store their tools.

Low natural or manmade hummocks scattered across former flood expansion areas, serving to protect buildings from the most frequent floods.

Fortified settlement set on high ground; a term often applied to Gallic and Gallo-Roman settlements.

Roman foot
An ancient unit of measurement equalling 29.6 cm.

Pioneer plants
Plants that colonise an empty area, able to grow in poor soils and constitute the humus required for introduction of other species.

Adjective designating alluvial forests growing up alongside river channels.

Soft flood deposits left by retreating waters. A type of alluvium.

A river workboat 8 to 15 metres long, used for fishing, and transporting livestock, merchandise or passengers.

An old term for the earliest dykes and levees built as protection against floods.