See also: Léman (homonymy)
The lake Léman or Lake Geneva is largest lake of Western Europe. Its name, probably of Celtic origin, reached us via the Latin . It often varied with the wire of time: lacus Lemanus, or Geneva Lake, then finally Léman.
In the form of crescent (or comma), the northern shore and the two ends are Suisse S, the southern shore is French. The border passes in the middle of the lake.
Léman is crossed of is in west by the the Rhone. Its formation has multiple origins: tectonic crumpling for the part of the Large-Lake and action of the glacier of the Rhone for the Small-Lake (between Geneva and Yvoire). It was constituted during the withdrawal of the Glacier of the Rhone after the last glacial period, there is nearly 15.000 years.
- Length: 72,8 kilometers
- maximum Width: 13,8 km
- Surface: 582,4 km ² (348,4 km ² in Swiss, 234 km ² in France)
- Altitude: 372 m
- maximum Depth: 309,7 m (dimension + 62,3 m between Lausanne and Evian)
Origin of the name and namesThe Léman appears in the literature around 50 av. J. - C. under the term of Greek origin lemanè limnè (or lemanos limnè ). This name even is used and popularized by Jules César which, in 58 av. J. - C., share of Genava and the lacus lemanus to fight the Helvètes. With the development of the Cartography, the names multiply between the 2nd century and the 4th century: lacu lausonio , lacus losanetes or Lake Lozanne .
Consequently of the new international repute of Geneva, the term Lake Geneva appears and coexists with the existing terms (16th century). At that time, the Geneva Lake indicates the Small-Lake (79 km ²) and the Lake Lausanne (503 km ²) the Large-Lake. With the wire of time, the Lake Lausanne disappears and the name of lake Léman is adopted by the Savoyards, the Vaudois and the Valais years. This name is generalized in the geographical maps and supplements several place names located along Savoyard bank of the lake (Maxilly-on-Léman, Chens-on-Léman, etc). The name of Léman, particularly with the mode during the Age of Enlightenment, the French revolution and the First Empire, is used by authors like Jean-Jacques Rousseau or Voltaire and is used as figurehead with old the department of Léman which gathers the north of Savoy then, the Pays of Gex and Geneva.
François-Alphonse Forel, Scientific doctor and Swiss of the end of the 19th century, known as that “the use tends to be established in Géographie, and that with reason, to prefer, everywhere where there are some, the personal name of a lake in the name of the city located on its edges. A lake is a geographical individual in itself and by itself”.
Nowadays, in the French-speaking dictionaries, the part of the lake close to Geneva is normally called Lake Geneva , a designation often used by the foreigners. It is the favorite version of the translations in the foreign languages ( German Genfersee in , Lake Geneva in English). The name of lake Léman is adopted by the Savoyard ones, the Of Vaud ones and the Valaisans. Denomination which one finds in Italian ( Lago Lemano ).
The terms of Small-Lake and Large-Lake are still sometimes used, especially in the area close to Geneva, like High-Lake at its other end towards Villeneuve (Vaud).
ClimateAlthough located in mountain, the Lake Léman, by the water mass which it contains, creates around him a microclimate. In particular in Montreux, and its immediate surroundings where one can observe push exotic palm trees, sisal plants or other plants. In Winter, the lake restores the heat put in reserve during the be and softens the hard mountain winter. In summer, it refreshes all its circumference.
However in winter, when certain particular climatic conditions are met - cold and stagnant dry air in high and average atmosphere - the hotter moisture which rises water of the lake, stagnate and are transformed into thick Brouillard which accumulates on two or three hundred meters in height, being able to stagnate 100 meters above the ground, lasting two to three weeks. This increasingly thick sea of cloud overflows of the basin lemanic and invades the adjacent valleys until an altitude from 800 to 1.000 Mr.
HydrographyThe lake receives water of several important rivers coming from the cantons bordering and the department on Haute-Savoie. The Rhone is the most important contribution because it gathers all the rivers and torrents of the slopes of the canton of Were worth and Vaud. It is necessary a dozen years so that water of the lake is completely brewed. Pollution was alarming some ten years ago but the situation was stabilized with a reduction in the algae and a better oxygen contribution. However, of chemical waste like phosphates and manures continue to flow in the lake.
CIPELThe International commission for the protection of water of Léman (CIPEL) is a transborder commission free-Switzerland which works since 1962 with the improvement of the water quality of Léman. In 2001 began the new decennial plan with like main aim the improvement from the drinking water supply of the basin.
The studies in paléo-environment, made starting from the remainders of plants, by the lake station of hydrology of INRA, based with Thonon-the-Baths, had revealed that the basin lemanic has known strong climatic and biological variations for one half-century. Many plant species disappeared, because the excessive concentrations of Phosphore, of Herbicide S, pesticides and heavy metals - one still finds, at the bottom of the alpine lakes, the traces of the metallurgy with the lead of the Roman epoch -, resulting from the urban and agricultural activities - a m ² of bank polluted pollutes itself 12 m ³ water -, allowed excess the production of the algae which surconsommé the oxygen contained in water: it is the Eutrophisation.
This thickening of the solid matter in suspension, weakens the Phytoplancton, because it does not receive enough any more from light - the fall of the mass of phytoplankton involved, in its turn, the disappearance of fish species as the épinoche disappeared in 1922 but which one still found a small number until in the Seventies and the Méduse of fresh water disappeared in 1962. Moreover, the disappearance of the Phytoplancton provides a ground favourable with the Cyanobactérie S or microalgae (Planktothrix rubescens), which return water, by creation of hepatic toxins, harmful with the consumption of fish, and even with the bathe.
The observation, the follow-up of the seasonal and annual cycles of the limnic ecosystem S, the study of the incidences of the climate and pollution (Herbicide S, Pesticide S heavy metals), the follow-up of the concentrations of ciliés protozoa, of the Rotifère herbivorous S and other zooplanctonic species which filter water, the knowledge of the appeared new species, made it possible with the passing of years to draw up protection plans and of prevention, which pass initially by the improvement of the drinking water supply of the basin and thus of the lake Léman.
The rarefaction of complete mixings of the lake, which require very cold winters at the time which the surface water brings its in-depth oxygen, the climate warming, which modifies the dates of the periods of spawning time of fish, will be at the origin of new adaptations of the ecosystem of the lake.
Territories and bordering communes
- the French Chablais (department of Haute-Savoie)
- three Swiss Cantons:
The lake is in particular bordered of the following communes: Hermance, Anières, Corsier, Collonge-Bellerive, Cologny, Geneva, Versoix, Nyon, Nipple, Poker, Morges, Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, Villeneuve, Saint-Gingolph, Évian-the-Baths, Thonon-the-Baths, Excenevex and Yvoire.
Fauna and flora
Poisson SIn 2005, there were 151 professional fishermen and 6.086 fishermen of leisures. The total of the catches are assembled to 650 tons (either 11 kg of fish fished per hectares.
Nowadays, about thirty fish species cohabit there, of which:
- the Corégone, called locally will féra , 310 tons fished in 2005;
- the pole which one makes excellent nets, 234 tons fished in 2005;
- the Pike, 47 tons fished in 2005 (29 tons in 2004);
- the lake Trout, 17 tons fished in 2005 (27 tons in 2004);
- the very required Omble knight, 14 tons fished in 2005 (9 tons in 2004).
The American crayfish slackened by error in the lake in the Années 1980 colonized its water today. This small shellfish, very appreciated for its succulent flesh, is fished today to provide restaurants.
Bird XBeing on a migratory current between the the Alps and the the Jura, the lake is a zone of predilection for many birds. While coming from Scandinavia or even from Siberia, 150.000 birds come to take there their winter quarter, of which large the Cormoran.
Boats of LémanAbout 20.000 boats furrow usually the lake, for displacements, the fishing or the pleasure.
A service of paddle steamers (of which the fleet is called Belle Time ), serves since the 19th century the principal localities surrounding the lake. Its management is entrusted to the general Compagnie of navigation (CGN).
One can also sail with old with traditional boats such as Savoy or Of Vaud the.
current Boats of the CGN: Coppet (120 passengers), Morges and Lavaux.
Each year takes place during June the most important competition of veil in the world on closed water level (lake): the Bowl of gold. Nearly 600 boats take share there on average. The goal is as quickly as possible to carry out the return ticket between Geneva (western end of the lake) and Bouveret (end is lake).
Mid-September each year, a similar regatta is organized but as a recluse called the Translémanique as a Recluse.
Another important regatta also takes place: 5 days of Léman. It is the longest race of endurance out of closed basin of Europe. During the year, many other regattas dispute on the lake, the multihull series being very well represented.
The Turn of Léman in oar, 34e edition in September 2006 gathered 19 teams and 95 participants, 160 km not-stop, departure from Geneva towards the Swiss coast then return by the southern part Frenchwoman to Geneva.
At the beginning of June, an excursion cyclist has the aim of making the turn of the lake.
The jet ski is interdict on the whole of the lake Léman.
Tourist attractionsApart from the cities of the basin lemanic, one finds on the Swiss coast the Château of Chillon (Vaud) within his single romantic framework popularized by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the news Héloïse and Lord Byron in the prisoner of Chillon , it is also necessary to note the island of the Toothing-stone, also called island of Rolle has approximately 100 meters edge one reaches it in summer the stroke, or in any season in boat because there is a quay.
On the coast of high-Savoyard Chablais , one finds the village strengthened (and flowered) of Yvoire, also called “ the pearl of Léman ”, located on a rocky outcrop, the great beach of Excenevex and the Château of Feast with its turns, its park and its famous vineyard.
the Museum of Léman
- Museum of Léman
- Museum of the Traditions and the boats of Léman
- general Company of navigation on the lake Léman
- international Company of rescue of Léman
- List of the Switzerland Lakes
- List of the lakes of France
- seen satellite on WikiMapia
- winds and webcams of Léman
- general Company of navigation
- ports of the lake Léman
- Hydrography and pollution of the lake Léman
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