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The RHôNE (/ˈroʊn/ ; French : Le Rhône
Rhône
; German : Rhone ; Walliser German
Walliser German
: Rotten ; Italian : Rodano ; Arpitan : Rôno ; Occitan : Ròse ) is one of the major rivers of Europe and has twice the average discharge of the Loire
Loire
(which is the longest French river), rising in the Rhône Glacier
Rhône Glacier
in the Swiss Alps
Swiss Alps
at the far eastern end of the Swiss canton
Swiss canton
of Valais
Valais
, passing through Lake Geneva
Geneva
and running through southeastern France
France
. At Arles
Arles
, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
, the river divides into two branches, known as the GREAT RHôNE (French: Le Grand Rhône) and the LITTLE RHôNE (Le Petit Rhône). The resulting delta constitutes the Camargue region.

CONTENTS

* 1 Name * 2 Navigation * 3 Course * 4 History * 5 Post- World War II
World War II
development

* 6 Along the Rhône
Rhône

* 6.1 Switzerland
Switzerland
* 6.2 France
France

* 7 See also * 8 References and notes * 9 Further reading * 10 External links

NAME

Mouth of the Rhône
Rhône

The name Rhône
Rhône
continues the name Rhodanus (Greek Ῥοδανός Rhodanos) in Greco-Roman geography
Greco-Roman geography
. The Gaulish name of the river was *Rodonos or *Rotonos (from a PIE root *ret- "to run, roll" frequently found in river names).

The Greco-Roman as well as the reconstructed Gaulish name is masculine, as is French le Rhône. This form survives in the Spanish/Portuguese and Italian namesakes, el/o Ródano and il Rodano, respectively. German has adopted the French name but given it the feminine gender, die Rhone. The original German adoption of the Latin name was also masculine, der Rotten; it survives only in the Upper Valais
Valais
(dialectal Rottu).

In French, the adjective derived from the river is rhodanien, as in le sillon rhodanien (literally "the furrow of the Rhône"), which is the name of the long, straight Saône
Saône
and Rhône
Rhône
river valleys, a deep cleft running due south to the Mediterranean and separating the Alps from the Massif Central
Massif Central
.

NAVIGATION

Before railroads and highways were developed, the Rhône
Rhône
was an important inland trade and transportation route, connecting the cities of Arles
Arles
, Avignon
Avignon
, Valence , Vienne and Lyon
Lyon
to the Mediterranean ports of Fos-sur-Mer
Fos-sur-Mer
, Marseille
Marseille
and Sète
Sète
. Travelling down the Rhône
Rhône
by barge would take three weeks. By motorized vessel, the trip now takes only three days. The Rhône
Rhône
is classified as a Class V waterway for the 325 km long section from the mouth of the Saône
Saône
at Lyon
Lyon
to the sea at Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône
Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône
. Upstream from Lyon, a 149 km section of the Rhône
Rhône
was made navigable for small ships up to Seyssel . As of 2017 , the part between Lyon
Lyon
and Sault-Brénaz is closed for navigation.

The Saône, which is also canalized, connects the Rhône
Rhône
ports to the cities of Villefranche-sur- Saône
Saône
, Mâcon
Mâcon
and Chalon-sur- Saône
Saône
. Smaller vessels (up to CEMT class I ) can travel further northwest, north and northeast via the Centre -Loire-Briare and Loing Canals to the Seine
Seine
, via the Canal de la Marne à la Saône
Saône
(recently often called the " Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne
Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne
") to the Marne , via the Canal des Vosges (formerly called the "Canal de l'Est – Branche Sud") to the Moselle and via the Canal du Rhône
Rhône
au Rhin to the Rhine .

The Rhône
Rhône
is infamous for its strong current when the river carries large quantities of water: current speeds up to 10 kilometres per hour (6 mph) are sometimes reached, particularly in the stretch below the last lock at Vallabrègues and in the relatively narrow first diversion canal south of Lyon. The 12 locks are operated daily from 5:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. All operation is centrally controlled from one control centre at Châteauneuf. Commercial barges may navigate during the night hours by authorisation.

COURSE

The Rhône Glacier
Rhône Glacier
above Oberwald
Oberwald
, Switzerland
Switzerland
is the source of the river. The Rhône
Rhône
flowing through the valleys of the Swiss Alps
Swiss Alps
and arriving into Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva
, in Switzerland
Switzerland
.

The Rhône
Rhône
rises as an effluent of the Rhône Glacier
Rhône Glacier
in the Valais
Valais
, in the Swiss Alps
Swiss Alps
, at an altitude of approximately 2,208 metres (7,244 ft). From there it flows south through Gletsch
Gletsch
and the Goms, the uppermost, valley region of the Valais
Valais
before Brig. Shortly before reaching Brig, it receives the waters of the Massa from the Aletsch Glacier . It flows onward through the valley which bears its name and runs initially in a westerly direction about thirty kilometers to Leuk , then southwest about fifty kilometers to Martigny
Martigny
.

Down as far as Brig , the Rhône
Rhône
is a torrent; it then becomes a great mountain river running southwest through a glacier valley. Between Brig and Martigny
Martigny
, it collects waters mostly from the valleys of the Pennine Alps
Alps
to the south, whose rivers originate from the large glaciers of the massifs of Monte Rosa
Monte Rosa
, Dom , and Grand Combin
Grand Combin
.

At Martigny, where it receives the waters of la Drance on its left bank, the Rhône
Rhône
makes a strong turn towards the north. Heading toward Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva
, the valley narrows, a feature that has long given the Rhône
Rhône
valley strategic importance for the control of the Alpine passes. The Rhône
Rhône
then marks the boundary between the cantons of Valais
Valais
(left bank) and Vaud (right bank), separating the Valais Chablais and Chablais Vaudois. It enters Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva
near Le Bouveret .

On a portion of its extent Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva
marks the border between France
France
and Switzerland. On the left bank of Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva
the river receives the Morge River. This river marks the border between France (Haute-Savoie) and Switzerland
Switzerland
(Valais). The Morge enters Lake Geneva at Saint-Gingolph , a village on both sides of the border. On the right bank of the lake the Rhône
Rhône
receives the Venoge (river)
Venoge (river)
and the Morges River.

Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva
ends in Geneva
Geneva
, where the lake level is maintained by the Seujet dam. The average discharge from Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva
is 251 cubic metres per second (8,900 cu ft/s). In Geneva, the Rhône
Rhône
receives the waters of the Arve
Arve
from the Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc
. After a course of 290 kilometres (180 mi) the Rhône
Rhône
leaves Switzerland
Switzerland
and enters the southern Jura Mountains
Jura Mountains
. It then turns toward the south past the Bourget Lake which it is connected by the Savières channel. At Lyon, which is the biggest city along its course, the Rhône
Rhône
meets its biggest tributary, the Saône
Saône
. The Saône
Saône
carries 400 cubic metres per second (14,000 cu ft/s) and the Rhône
Rhône
itself 600 cubic metres per second (21,000 cu ft/s). From the confluence, the Rhône
Rhône
follows the southbound direction of the Saône. Along the Rhône
Rhône
Valley, it is joined on the right (western) bank by the rivers Eyrieux , Ardèche
Ardèche
, Cèze
Cèze
, and Gardon
Gardon
coming from the Cévennes
Cévennes
mountains ; and on the left bank by the rivers Isère
Isère
, with an average discharge of 350 cubic metres per second (12,000 cu ft/s), Drôme
Drôme
, Ouvèze
Ouvèze
, and Durance
Durance
at 188 cubic metres per second (6,600 cu ft/s) from the Alps.

From Lyon, it flows south, between the Alps
Alps
and the Massif Central. At Arles, the Rhône
Rhône
divides into two major arms forming the Camargue delta , both branches flowing into the Mediterranean Sea, the delta being termed the Rhône
Rhône
Fan. The larger arm is called the "Grand Rhône", the smaller the "Petit Rhône". The average annual discharge at Arles
Arles
is 1,710 cubic metres per second (60,000 cu ft/s).

HISTORY

Personification of the Rhône
Rhône
by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
, 1883-1886, National Museum in Warsaw
Warsaw
, a study for decoration of the stairwell in the new wing of the Palace of Fine Arts in Lyon
Lyon
, a city at the confluence of the Saône
Saône
and Rhône
Rhône
rivers

The Rhône
Rhône
has been an important highway since the times of the Greeks and Romans . It was the main trade route from the Mediterranean to east-central Gaul
Gaul
. As such, it helped convey Greek cultural influences to the western Hallstatt and the later La Tène
La Tène
cultures. Celtic tribes living near the Rhône
Rhône
included the Seduni , Sequani, Segobriges
Segobriges
, Allobroges
Allobroges
, Segusiavi
Segusiavi
, Helvetii
Helvetii
, Vocontii and Volcae Arecomici .

Navigation was difficult, as the river suffered from fierce currents, shallows, floods in spring and early summer when the ice was melting, and droughts in late summer. Until the 19th century, passengers travelled in coches d'eau (water coaches) drawn by men or horses, or under sail. Most travelled with a painted cross covered with religious symbols as protection against the hazards of the journey.

Trade on the upper river used barques du Rhône, sailing barges, 30 by 3.5 metres (98 by 11 ft), with a 75-tonne (165,000 lb) capacity. As many as 50 to 80 horses were employed to haul trains of five to seven craft upstream. Goods would be transshipped at Arles
Arles
into 23-metre (75 ft) sailing barges called allèges d' Arles
Arles
for the final run down to the Mediterranean.

The first experimental steam boat was built at Lyon
Lyon
by Jouffroy d\'Abbans in 1783. Regular services were not started until 1829 and they continued until 1952. Steam passenger vessels 80 to 100 metres (260–330 ft) long made up to 20 kilometres per hour (12 mph) and could do the downstream run from Lyon
Lyon
to Arles
Arles
in a day. Cargo was hauled in bateau-anguilles, boats 157 by 6.35 metres (515.1 by 20.8 ft) with paddle wheels amidships, and bateaux crabes, a huge toothed 'claw' wheel 6.5 metres (21 ft) across to grip the river bed in the shallows to supplement the paddle wheels. In the 20th century, powerful motor barges propelled by diesel engines were introduced, carrying 1,500 tonnes (3,300,000 lb).

In 1933, the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône
Compagnie Nationale du Rhône
(CNR) was established to improve navigation and generate electricity, also to develop irrigated agriculture and to protect the riverside towns and land from flooding. Some progress was made in deepening the navigation channel and constructing scouring walls, but World War II
World War II
brought such work to a halt. In 1942, following the collapse of Vichy France
France
, Italian military forces occupied southeastern France
France
up to the eastern banks of the Rhône, as part of the Italian Fascist regime's expansionist agenda.

POST-WORLD WAR II DEVELOPMENT

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In 1948, the government started construction of a series of dams and diversion canals, with a navigation lock beside the hydroelectric power plant on each of these canals. The locks were up to 23 metres (75 ft) deep. After building the Génissiat dam on the Upper Rhône (with no lock) in 1948, designed to meet the electricity needs of Paris, twelve hydroelectric plants and locks were built between 1964 and 1980. With a total head of 162 m, they produce 13 GWh of electricity annually, or 16% of the country’s total hydroelectric production (20% if the Upper Rhône
Rhône
schemes are added). There have been significant benefits for agriculture throughout the Rhône valley.

With the Lower Rhône
Rhône
project completed, CNR turned its attention to the Haut- Rhône
Rhône
(Upper Rhône), and built four hydropower dams in the 1980s: Sault-Brénaz, Brégnier-Cordon, Belley-Brens and Chautagne. It also drew up plans for the high-capacity Rhine- Rhône
Rhône
Waterway, along the route of the existing Canal du Rhône
Rhône
au Rhin , but this project was abandoned in 1997. In the period 2005-2010, navigation locks of small barge dimensions (40 by 6 m) were built to bypass the last two, forming a navigable waterway network with Lake Bourget, through the Canal de Savières .

ALONG THE RHôNE

Cities and towns along the Rhône
Rhône
include: The Rhône
Rhône
through Geneva
Geneva
, Switzerland
Switzerland
The Rhône
Rhône
(left) meeting the river Arve
Arve
in Geneva
Geneva

SWITZERLAND

* Oberwald
Oberwald
( Valais
Valais
) * Brig (Valais) * Visp (Valais) * Leuk
Leuk
(Valais) * Sierre
Sierre
(Valais) * Sion (Valais) * Martigny
Martigny
(Valais) * St. Maurice (Valais) * see Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva
for a list of Swiss and French towns around the lake * Geneva
Geneva
( Geneva
Geneva
)

FRANCE

The Rhône
Rhône
in Lyon
Lyon
under the old Boucle's Bridge The Rhône
Rhône
at Avignon
Avignon

* Lyon
Lyon
, ( Rhône (département)
Rhône (département)
) * Vienne ( Isère
Isère
) * Tournon-sur-Rhône
Tournon-sur-Rhône
( Ardèche
Ardèche
) opposite Tain-l\'Hermitage (Drôme ) * Valence (Drôme) opposite Saint-Péray and Guilherand-Granges (Ardèche) * Montélimar
Montélimar
(Drôme) opposite Le Teil
Le Teil
and Rochemaure (Ardèche) * Viviers (Ardèche) * Bourg-Saint-Andéol
Bourg-Saint-Andéol
(Ardèche) * Pont-Saint-Esprit
Pont-Saint-Esprit
( Gard
Gard
) * Roquemaure (Gard) opposite Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Châteauneuf-du-Pape
( Vaucluse
Vaucluse
) * Avignon
Avignon
(Vaucluse) opposite Villeneuve-lès- Avignon
Avignon
(Gard) * Beaucaire (Gard) opposite Tarascon
Tarascon
( Bouches-du-Rhône