"Here was Essertoux. A village drowned at the service of the nation in 1948", is the message on a commemorative plaque, located near Genissiat's dam (Ain).
This enormous dam actively contributes to the revival of postwar France. This is why the disappearance, which accounted for a hundred people, of Essertoux does not affect this national issue.
To settle higher, the inhabitants save everything: windows, tiles and lumber. Their ancestral memories are destroyed by the rising water.
Lac de Genissiat is also a stunning natural site: The Pertes du Rhone. A 100m deep canyon. Victor Hugo was impressed.
This dam is now the subject of guided tours. Art, history, and technology collide in this place. The age of 8
Adults: EUR10. Adults: EUR10.
Reservation required on www.lescircuitsdelenergie.fr
Grangent dam (Loire), which was filled with water in 1957, caused several hamlets to disappear. There are also many acres of farmland.
People who rely on agriculture for their livelihood are upset by the expropriations. Some refuse to leave their homes. They will leave their homes at the last possible moment. Just before the waters rise.
What compensation will they get for their crops and orchards that were lost? Their engulfed landmarks?
Grangent Lake has been a place for summer activities since then. One of its shores is now nicknamed "the Stephanois beach" (www.saint-etienne-hors-cadre.fr/patrimoine-culturel/barrage-de-grangent-chambles).
Chambod was once a hamlet. It is now an isolated island.
The vine was once cultivated by thirty people. Many also owned a small number of cows. The milk of these cows was used to make Emmenthal.
In 1960, however, the Allement dam (Ain) created a lake that swallowed the hamlet along with its agricultural activities.
Today, the island covers 20 hectares. Transformed into a water sports center (www.bourgenbressedestinations.fr/explorer/gorges-de-lain-rafraichissantes/ile-chambod-loisirs-et-farniente).
Chambod's island can be toured by an interpreter in just 1h30.
Numerous hamlets were drowned by the Vouglans dam in 1968. The Charterhouse of Vaucluse is a significant monument.
These hamlets do not have a church, town hall, or cemetery. This makes it easier for developers. The exhumation of the deceased, in order to move a cemetery is a way to crystallize emotions and oppositions.
But General de Gaulle himself visits the villages to greet them. We should thank them for their contributions to modernizing the country. As if they could choose!
The Charterhouse of Vaucluse, although listed as a historical monument, has not been submerged. Only the portal and the entry pavilions survived, which were then dismantled and rebuilt over the lake. EDF paid for it.
The large lake of Vouglans, 35 km long, has become the seaside resort of the Jura (//www.lac-de-vouglans.com).
Gerard Guerit, Sutton Editions. "France of submerged villages".