How a Failed Dam Legalized Marrying The Dead

Sitting low among the hills, just north of the city of Frejus, in southern France, not far from the French Riviera coast, are the broken remains of the Malpasset Dam. This river barrier, completed in 1954, was built to regulate the flow of the Reyran River, and store water for agriculture and domestic use. The Reyran River is very irregular. It remains completely dry for most of the year including the hot summer months, but in winter and spring, this 27-km-long river becomes a raging torrent. A dam would help tame the river and provide water all round the year.

Malpasset Dam

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The ruins of the Malpasset Dam near Frejus, in southern France. Photo: Chromoprisme (null) /


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