Facets of theRhôneKing of rivers


The Rhone from its source to the Mediterranean
Lyon: 20 May - 20 July 2022
Port-Saint-Louis: 16 May - 16 June 2022
Paris: March 13 - July 14, 2021


The partners

A project supported by many
partners without whom none of
this would have been possible


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Facets of the Rhone | Photographic exhibition of Camille Moirenc - CNR

The long history between CNR (Compagnie Nationale du Rhône) and the Rhone began in 1934, when the French government entrusted it with the concession to exploit the river in line with three missions for the community: develop the river to produce hydroelectricity, develop navigation and irrigate the agricultural land of the Rhone Valley. To fulfil these missions, CNR built 19 hydroelectric schemes, developed a wide gauge navigable waterway between Lyon and the Mediterranean along with 18 industrial and port sites, and it built 32 pumping stations for irrigation. CNR is now France’s leading producer of 100% renewable electricity.

For CNR, the Rhone is more like a raw material for industrial use: it is also a place of life, culture and leisure for the surrounding population. To harmonise all these uses, CNR has developed marinas and nautical leisure bases and supported the creation of the ViaRhôna, the cycle track that links Lake Geneva with the Mediterranean Sea. The Rhone is also and above all a natural element, the source of remarkable biodiversity that must be respected and preserved, especially since climate change is making water resources scarcer. Therefore, CNR has ecologically restored 77 oxbows, secondary reaches of the Rhone, built 65 fish passes to facilitate the circulation of fish, and more than 80 animal species benefit from the preservation actions CNR carries out in their habitats, to ensure that the Rhone, king of rivers, has a sustainable future.


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Facets of the Rhone | Photographic exhibition of Camille Moirenc - IFGR

The association “Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers” (IFGR) gives a voice to rivers in order to preserve and enhance them in the transition towards a more sustainable world. By engaging in an original, international and multidisciplinary dialogue between the different rivers of the world, it responds to the specific issues faced by the territories and the complex challenges that link water, climate, biodiversity, health and food. A forum for exchanging knowhow and practises, IFGR has also given itself the missions of spreading awareness as much as possible to preserve bodies of freshwater as common goods and encourage decision-makers to treat rivers as integral elements of international negotiations and solutions.

IFGR is chaired by Erik Orsenna, an economist and member of the French Academy, and it is supported by CNR its founding sponsor.

Actes sud

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Facets of the Rhone | Photographic exhibition of Camille Moirenc - Actes sud

Founded in 1978, the publishing house Actes Sud has developed a general and committed editing policy. Installed in Arles, on the Rhone, since 1983, Actes Sud continues to develop with a resolutely independent approach and the spirit of discovery and sharing, ceaselessly instilling the dynamics of what is known as the “chain of conviction”, which extends from the author to the reader via the main outlets, bookshops, libraries, the media, and cultural partners. Guided by two keywords, pleasure and need, Actes Sud wholeheartedly supports and encourages all those who participate in its editorial adventure which favours the emergence and recognition of their talents.

The very first works published by the house dealt with the issues of the territory and its geographical, political, social and economic complexity. This editorial line has continued to develop to result in flagship collections in the fields of the arts, nature and society, and it is perfectly natural that works on the Rhone find their place in our catalogue.

Canton of Geneva

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Facets of the Rhone | Photographic exhibition of Camille Moirenc - Canton of Geneva

The Republic and Canton of Geneva is one of the 26 states that compose the Swiss Confederation. Half of its surface area of 280 km² is occupied by agriculture, a quarter by the city, and the remaining quarter by natural habitats (water and forests). The economic and international activities installed in the territory, and its position in a landscape of lakes and mountains in a promontory jutting into France, have all contributed to its attractiveness and reputation.

In this context, its links with the river Rhone have always been preponderant and will long remain so. Indeed, whether ensuring dialogue between the two banks, managing the switch between the upper and lower parts of the basin, receiving the waters of the Arve, and increasing its autonomy in renewable energies, the Rhone lies at the heart of Genevan metabolism and its relations with neighbouring territories. The backbone of nature and cantonal biodiversity, the river is as much our opening to France and the Mediterranean as the link with our sources embodied by the mountains and the lake. Thus, an exhibition on the Rhone is a way of honouring the Rhone for the services (notably ecosystemic) it renders us so sustainably.

Canton of Vaud

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Facets of the Rhone | Photographic exhibition of Camille Moirenc - Canton of Vaud

With a population exceeding 800,000, Vaud is the third most populous canton in Switzerland and the fourth largest in surface area. Its territory is a synthesis if the Swiss environment, located at the convergence of the Alps, the Swiss plateau and the Jura. It encompasses a rich variety of landscapes and a great diversity of natural habitats.

The section of the Rhone flowing through the Canton of Vaud is 30 km long, marking the border with the Canton of Valais, before entering Lake Geneva and then leaving it at Geneva. Lake Geneva is the largest lake in central Europe and extends for 72 kilometres between Switzerland and France, providing an ideal site that the surrounding population can use for leisure and relaxation. It also provides them with many natural resources.

A huge project to secure the banks of the Rhone, carried out in collaboration with the Canton of Valais, is currently being studied. The actions proposed will allow the Rhone to flow over a wider bed and, in certain places, recover the dynamics close to those of its original state. The creation of a huge natural delta at its mouth in Lake Geneva is one of the strong points of the developments planned.

Canton of Valais

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Facets of the Rhone | Photographic exhibition of Camille Moirenc - Canton of Valais

The Canton of Valais is an alpine canton located in the south of Switzerland that extends from the source of the Rhone to its mouth in Lake Geneva. Its territory encompasses in particular the Cervin mountain and the highest gravity dam in the world, the Grande Dixence.

The Rhone is the backbone of the canton. The areas surrounding the lake accommodate major industrial sites, a motorway, a railway and the main electricity power lines. Tourist resorts, large dams and villages are often located in side valleys, in the mountains and along the tributaries of the Rhone.

A river whose impetuosity must be tamed. The last case, the hundred-year flood of October 2000, left a trace in everyone’s memory. The 3rd correction of the Rhone aimed at protecting the 100,000 inhabitants of the plain and more than 20 billion Swiss francs of property threatened, is currently underway. It is the largest flood protection project in Switzerland.

The Canton of Valais has many facets: mountains and plains, glaciers and lakes, stone and wood, etc. One must stay and visit it to appreciate the wealth it has to offer.



Gates of the Luxembourg Garden, Paris
March 13 to July 14, 2021

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