A roughly semicircular body of water in the northwest corner of the Mediterranean Sea stretching from roughly the Spanish/French border up and around to about the midpoint between Marseille and Toulon. The coastline of the Gulf represents somewhat over half of the Mediterranean coast of France.

The Rhône, the largest river in France by volume of discharge, empties into the Gulf. The river has created the 750 km2 Rhône delta just west of the city of Marseille.

Like most of the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf is an important commercial fishery with hake being one of the most important species. Roughly 3,000 tons of hake are caught each year in the Gulf with a split of about 500 tons by the Spanish fleet and 2,500 tons by the French fleet. The level of harvesting has reached a point where the hake species is generally considered to be overfished.

The Gulf is also an important habitat for the fin whale and sperm whale as well as the bottlenose dolphin, Risso's dolphin and striped dolphin.

The Gulf is one of the sea zones in the 'classic' board game Diplomacy. Probably for historical reasons, the name of the Gulf in Diplomacy is Gulf of Lyon.

Note: As this body of water is almost entirely bordering the coast of France, the French form of the name, Golfe du Lion, has become the preferred name of the body on maps and other "international" documents. The generally accepted English form of the name appears to be Gulf of Lions although the singular form Gulf of Lion is also quite common. Except in the context of the Diplomacy game, Gulf of Lyon seems to be considerably less common than the other forms.

Following the advice of Pick titles carefully (i.e. "put it where people will look for it" and "when in doubt, use the form used by English speakers"), this w/u was created under the name Gulf of Lion and then moved to Gulf of Lions when I realized that the plural form is actually more common. A suggestion for firmlinks from the other name forms was turned down.


  • Geographica / The complete illustrated reference to Canada and the World, © Random House Australia Pty Ltd 1999, published in Canada by Raincoast Books, ISBN 1-55192-250-9
  • The web page titled ATLANTIS: THE RHONE CASE STUDY located at http://www.uni-hamburg.de/Wiss/FB/15/Sustainability/atlrhone.htm (last accessed 2003/04/27)
  • The study titled MEFISTO PREPARED APPLICATIONS MODELLING FISHERIES MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN available as a PDF file at http://www.gemub.com/pdf/girona.pdf (last accessed 2003/04/27)
  • The web page titled Cetacean Sanctuary located at http://www.tethys.org/sanctuary.htm (last accessed 2003/04/27)
  • The web page titled Comparison of cetacean population from simultaneous surveys in the Gulf of Lion and the Ligurian Sea located at http://www.cetaces.org/ECS99comp.html