Would you believe me if I told you that France’s Loire River used to run through Paris? It’s true—well, kinda… Here’s a more accurate expnation:
Before the Alps were the towering mountains they are today—meaning before the African continent bulldozed into Europe—most of the rivers in northern France flowed off the Massif Central to the north and into what we know today as the English Channel. However, as the Alps began their upward climb, the eastern portion of France began to uplift, tilting most of the country to the west.
The Loire River used flow north, into the Seine —yeah, that beautiful watercourse that defines Paris! Of course, Paris wasn’t there at the time, but if not for the Loire’s change of direction, those awesome towns like Anger, Saumur, Tours and Orléans might be nothing more than tiny little rural villages without castles, beautiful bridges, and those great bike trails along the river.
As the Alps continued their upward climb, France tilted a little toward the west. Yes, you read correctly! IT TILTED THE COUNTRY upward from the east and completely changed the direction of the Loire which then began to flood into what is the middle Loire today, where all of those stately wine villages lie. Eventually, the Loire found its way out through some ancient east/west fault lines in France’s ancient Massif Armoricain and found its way through the Anjou and Muscadet wine regions out into the Atlantic. This is today’s Loire Valley.