Photo Exposition Gilles Clément: Giardini di resistenza

The JRC French semester puts the spotlight on the works of Gilles Clément, gardener & botanist, through a photo exhibition which will be held at the Giardino of San Gabriele in Ispra from 23th April to 15th May. It will pursued during InFiorita festival (7th-8th May).

A vernissage will take place this Wednesday 27/04 at 5.45 p.m.

Giardino San Gabriele.

There will also be guided tours of the exhibition on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. until May 15 to be specified at the same time.

The ‘Giardini di resistenza’ exhibition in Ispra will present his three key concepts The Garden in Movement, The Planetary Garden and The Third Landscape.

‘If the planet is a garden, we are all gardeners – perhaps not aware of it, yet the choices and lifestyles of each of us have an impact on the biosphere and on our collective, vital space.’

 His work is powerful rethinking of our relationship with nature:

“Observe before acting”,

“Work with, not against nature’’

Gilles is known not only for his famous public parks like André Citroën and Quai Branly Museum in Paris, but also for his ground breaking books on how gardens should serve society, the community, wildlife, specially insects and nature.

Gilles Clément’s ‘third landscape’ inspired ‘’the Eiffel Tower roundabout’’ in JRC.

For those interested in pursuing their travel with Gilles Clément you could visit the biennial of architecture and landscape in Versailles (13 May – 13 July 2022)

See also the special page on the Third Landscape on this website

Photo Exposition Gilles Clément: Giardini di resistenza

The JRC French semester puts the spotlight on the works of Gilles Clément, gardener & botanist, through a photo exhibition which will be held at the Giardino of San Gabriele in Ispra from 23th April to 15th May. It will be also highlighted during InFiorita festival (7th-8th May).

A vernissage will take place this Wednesday 27/04 at 5.45 p.m.

Giardino San Gabriele.

There will also be guided tours of the exhibition on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. until May 15 to be specified at the same time.

The ‘Giardini di resistenza’ exhibition in Ispra will present his three key concepts The Garden in Movement, The Planetary Garden and The Third Landscape.

‘If the planet is a garden, we are all gardeners – perhaps not aware of it, yet the choices and lifestyles of each of us have an impact on the biosphere and on our collective, vital space.’

 His work is powerful rethinking of our relationship with nature:

“Observe before acting”,

“Work with, not against nature’’

Gilles is known not only for his famous public parks like André Citroën and Quai Branly Museum in Paris, but also for his ground breaking books on how gardens should serve society, the community, wildlife, specially insects and nature.

Gilles Clément’s ‘third landscape’ inspired ‘’the Eiffel Tower roundabout’’ in JRC.

For those interested in pursuing their travel with Gilles Clément you could visit the biennial of architecture and landscape in Versailles (13 May – 13 July 2022)

See also the special page on the Third Landscape on this website


The next edition of InFiorita Ispra will take place on 23 and 24 April 2022 postponed to 7-8 May 2022. The Horticultural Show of gardening, biodiversity and sustainability will have for theme “FIORIRE per VIVERE” (BLOOM TO LIVE)

For the 2022 edition the French Semester of the JRC Ispra is delighted to contribute with two initiatives :

A stand (of the garden club) will have information on the activities of the French Semester and on JRC

we are organising a special exposition on the Landscape architect Gilles Clement in the gardens of San Gabriele from 23 April to 15 May – go check the special announcement on this!

A vernissage will take place this Wednesday 27/04 at 5.45 p.m.

Giardino San Gabriele.

There will also be guided tours of the exhibition on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. until May 15 to be specified at the same time.

It will be the fifth edition of this review that over the years has enchanted both exhibitors and visitors, also thanks to the splendid natural setting in which it takes place and the interesting cultural insights into the environment and everything that is ” green “: BLOOM to LIVE!


Equihen Plage – Houses made from upturned boat hulls

France is home to many unique buildings and cultural wonders. However, some of them are really unusual and the village of Equihen Plage is one of them. Located on the northern coast of France, this peaceful place has a beautiful beach, lovely campsites and cozy houses made from upturned boat hulls. The inhabitants of the village live in upside down boats. Today, living in such a small space, instead of a modern house seems pointless. But, the locals are devoted to preserving their culture and their surprising and amazing history.

In the early 1900s, Equihen Plage was known as one of the best places to fish. As many boats had to be destroyed on the shore, local fishermen used them as roofs for their handmade shelters. Unfortunately, the Second World War destroyed almost all the boathouses in the village. However, local families were determined to maintain their legacy. Thus, the villagers restored some of the old upturned boat-hull dwellings and built new ones.

Today, more than 3,000 people live under the boat hulls and some of them are available for rent to tourists. There is no doubt that this village of upside-down boat-hull houses is unusual!

OPEN, the portal that facilitates everyone’s participation in the observation of biodiversity

Citizen science

What’s this ?
We have all had, at one time or another, the opportunity to observe nature and its diversity, with wonder.
Observing for your pleasure is good… but observing and allowing the scientific community to benefit from your observations is better! This is participatory science: scientific programs to which we can all, specialists or amateurs, contribute by collecting observations, on a voluntary basis.

What’s the point ?
Firstly to improve knowledge on biodiversity.
Scientific research programs, species inventories: the better we know about biodiversity, the better we can protect it.
But also to educate and raise awareness of biodiversity issues, through citizen involvement and pedagogy through action.

For who ?
For everyone ! Whether you are a beginner, an insider or an expert in the field of observation.
In any case, you benefit from the support of expert observers who will be able to verify your identifications.
Birds, molluscs, plants, pollinating insects…: whatever your interests, you will inevitably find what you are looking for in the wide variety of participatory science programs.

Scientific credibility
Citizen science is not just for experts. But then, how to be sure of their scientific seriousness?

  • All observers, beginners and experienced, follow a well-defined data collection protocol. This protocol frames the data collected and specifies the desired collection techniques, which facilitates the scientific exploitation of the data a posteriori.
  • Observers have tools to help identify species, such as the taxonomic reference or the list of probable species by geographical area. To go further, some observation programs call on expert observers – the “verifiers” – to support the most novices.
  • Suspicious data is discarded. All transmitted data includes at least a date, a place, a species and an observer. By cross-checking these elements with each other, erroneous data are discarded.

OPEN is not a data site!

OPEN does not allow you to upload your observation data to the database of the citizen science program of your choice. To do this, you will need to go directly to the website of the program concerned.

Some examples of featured observatories

BioObs (Base for the inventory of underwater observations)

BioObs is a tool made available to all divers, it is for those who want to: – Identify the species encountered during a dive. Compile a record of their observations on one or more dives. – View their naturalist dive log. – Contribute to a scientific approach to the inventory of species. – Know the range of each species. – Learn about observable species at different sites. BioObs accompanies the evolution of the practice of divers. It meets the expectations of those who want to know more about the natural environment in which they live. BioObs allows everyone, autonomous or dive guide, to prepare the dive by learning about the observable species in the planned dive area.

Urban prairie anthologies

Green space managers want to know the effect of their management practices on the quality of grasslands, but also to assess the dynamics and evolution of these environments. Scientists have associated themselves with these questions by providing suitable tools to answer them, in the form of standardised monitoring of grassland flora. The aim is to collect data on these ecosystems over a long period and over a wide geographic area. Managers are thus invited to contribute to a collective effort to collect data on grassland flora. These data make it possible to calculate an indicator of the ecological quality of grasslands in relation to the associated management methods and thereby provide a tool to help in the choice of practices to be favored in the field.

BioLit: coastal observers

BioLit is a national participatory science program on coastal biodiversity. carried by “Planète Mer” and supervised by the National Museum of Natural History; it proposes to monitor this biodiversity through various actions. Each action corresponds to a theme of long-term monitoring of the terrestrial and marine biodiversity of the coast, or the pressures exerted there. They make it possible to respond to scientific and environmental concerns about the evolution of coastal habitats and species. The program takes place all year round, on the entire metropolitan coast and even overseas. It is aimed at a wide audience, with or without knowledge, to allow as many people as possible to participate. Alone or accompanied by an environmental education structure, you will always find an action to carry out on the coast. It’s up to you to choose which one you want to participate in.


Phénoclim is a scientific and educational program that invites the public to measure the impact of climate change on the fauna and flora in and around the mountains. Initiated in 2004, it is based on two scientific disciplines: PHENOlogy and CLIMatology, to question the rhythms of nature. The data collected in different mountain ranges allows researchers to better understand the functioning of ecosystems in each season and to study the effects of climate variations on the environment.

Do you live in the Vosges, the Jura, Corsica, the Alps, the Pyrenees or the Massif Central? Do you want to observe nature in a useful way? Phenoclim is made for you! Throughout the year, you can take part in data collection free of charge (phenological dates, snow cover, temperatures, etc.). From the plains to the tops of the peaks, all the observations are interesting for carrying out comparative analyses.

Halting the decline of endemic Petrels from Reunion Island

Reunion Island hosts one of the most unique seabird communities in the world, including two endangered endemic petrels, the Barau’s petrel (Pterodroma baraui) and the Mascarene black petrel (Pseudobulweria aterrima).

Mascarene petrel. Photo credits: Martin Riethmuller / SEOR

These species are in dire need of emergency conservation measures. They already benefit from national action plans, but the implementation of conservation actions suffers from ecological, technical and financial constraints, resulting in conflicts between nature conservation and socio-economic development. France has the sixth highest proportion of its endemic species threatened at the European level, although these species are mainly located in overseas territories where conservation efforts need to be stepped up to fully implement the EU Biodiversity Strategy by 2020.

Reunion is the only tropical island in the world to host two endemic petrels. However, if nothing is done quickly, these two species will join the list of 22 species of bird which have already become extinct on the island. This loss of biodiversity is not just a local ecological disaster, but also a worldwide disaster, because once these species are gone, we will never get them back. For years, Reunion National Park has been working to protect these species with the Société d’Études Ornithologiques de La Réunion [SEOR], the Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage [ONCFS] Brigade Nature Océan Indien [BNOI], and the University of Reunion to rescue stranded petrels, organise the“Nights Without Lights” Campaign, to look for nesting sites in the island’s mountains, and to monitor petrel colonies and populations. This is an emergency situation and two national action plans (NAPs) have already been set up (1. Mascarene Petrel NAP, 2012 and 2. Barau’s Petrel NAP, 2008) which identify threats to the species and what needs to be done to conserve them, including clearing rubbish and reducing numbers of wild predators (cats and rats) as well as levels of light pollution.

In order to halt the decline of these species, in 2015 a 5-year European project was initiated, dedicated to protecting these two species of endemic petrel, and with key partners joined forces to save the Mascarene Petrel and Barau’s Petrel. These partners have been working together for over ten years now. The aim of the LIFE + Petrels project is to prevent these species from becoming extinct. It will develop and implement innovative strategies and conservation techniques in a highly urbanized island, and will remove regulatory, technological and logistical barriers. It will consult and involve stakeholders, reduce threats to the species and will engage in conservation activities compatible with the island’s economic development. These endangered endemic species are among the rarest seabirds in the world.


=>Protect natural heritage

– Improve our knowledge of and identify colonies of Mascarene Petrels in the highest peaks of the island, previously unknown and inaccessible settlements, using innovative methods – Reduce numbers of introduced predators (cats and rats) in the environment and reduce light pollution – Raise public awareness

=>Protect cultural heritage

– Make a compendium of stories and legends based around petrels – Develop cultural events – Implement new practices, projects and teaching tools – Raise local awareness and involve local stakeholders in the sustainable conservation of petrels

=>Create, innovate and educate

– Create partnerships and exchange programs with other countries (training, techniques, seminars etc.) – Bring in experts and visit similar sites (Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand) – Train students – Create advanced local technology (beacons, GPS, Smartphone applications) – Become a leader in the conservation of these species without affecting economic development

This project will contribute to the development of personal and organisational skills in conservation, which will be transferable to other islands with similar problems.


Halting biodiversity loss and preventing the extinction of these heritage species are the major challenges this project will face. To achieve this goal, a concerted conservation strategy will be implemented in partnership with local stakeholders. The project will be the first in Reunion Island to establish large-scale, concerted conservation efforts across the island, from the coastline up to the highest peaks.

Petrels are ideal pilot species to demonstrate that social acceptance, also called “Ecological Solidarity”, is essential to improve the link between natural, protected upland areas, where petrels nest, and urbanized coastal regions through which petrels must pass in order to reach the sea.

The entire population of the island needs to be made aware of the plight faced by Petrels. Therefore, this project will not be limited to conservation projects in upland areas and the National Park, but will also target the island’s socioeconomic actors with the ultimate aim of establishing a collaborative program which will boost local initiatives.

Biodiversity conservation requires the development of modern and suitable techniques and everyone needs to get involved.

Indeed, the island context of Reunion, its diversity of habitats and its extremely mountainous terrain make it unique and extraordinary. However, it also makes it harder to use conventional conservation tools. Research and innovation are thus essential for a coherent and sustainable conservation strategy.

On a larger scale, these innovative initiatives will bring knowledge which will be shared around the world, making Reunion’s plight better known in the Indian Ocean and further afield.

ISOPOLIS: Societal experimentation aimed at making Réunion island the city of open societal innovation

The project falls within the context of civil society’s demand to see Reunionese decision-makers commit to a credible alternative to the current territorial model. Indeed, the yellow vests crisis that erupted in October 2018 highlighted the need for the territory to deploy a clear strategy aimed at establishing a viable societal model, the current economic model of Reunion being almost 90% based on public funding that is no longer guaranteed.

ISOPOLIS thus aims more broadly to make Reunion a living global demonstrator of an agile and resilient society capable of combining environmental preservation, social equity and a prosperous economy.


The objective is to support the transformation of the Reunionese societal model towards a viable model, based on the individual resilience of Reunionese and territorial and collective resilience.

It is broken down into 3 specific objectives:

  • Strengthen Reunion’s territorial resilience capacities in order to develop its ability to integrate the environmental, social and economic constraints that threaten its development in order to establish a viable model over time.
  • Strengthen the individual resilience capacities of people of la Réunion to develop their ability to make a significant contribution to the development of their territory while cultivating a quality of being and of life. This will be achieved through the deployment of targeted experiments designed to strengthen the individual development, well-being and well-being of all ages and backgrounds by supporting their quest for meaning and contribution.
  • Mobilize the population of Reunion around societal issues in order to consolidate cohesion and robust unity, through the culture of knowledge and the recognition of its culture.

In order to achieve these objectives, three approaches have been chosen: the evaluation of the impacts of public policies by scientists, governance and cooperation by sociocracy, or governance by consent and the use of an alternative territorial index to the Product Gross National (GNP): Gross National Happiness (GNP).

In this project, IRD researchers are adopting an original position: that of supporting civil society by evaluating and measuring the impact of its interventions or experiments. This project is thus rooted in interdisciplinarity and citizen science.

The Beta phase has three objectives:

  • Evaluation of the mobilization and co-construction approach of the ALPHA project to identify areas for improvement in order to take them into account in the ISOPOLIS project
  • Territorial mobilization: engage local stakeholders in the ISOPOLIS project, identify and mobilize researchers likely to support the project and publicize the project among citizens, civil society in particular, via the RISOM network and gather the opinions of Reunionese.
  • Preliminary methodological structuring: continue the structuring work identified in ALPHA

Europe’s only elephant sanctuary in France welcomes first resident

An ageing zoo elephant called Gandhi has become the first inhabitant of a groundbreaking retirement home after nine years of work to get it open

Elephant Haven, near Limoges, Haute-Vienne, is Europe’s first sanctuary for former zoo and circus elephants and currently has space for three females.

Obtaining permits and constructing infrastructure and fences was only half the battle to get it ready – building relationships with other welfare organisations was key before welcoming the first resident in October.

Gandhi was born in the wild in 1969, probably in Thailand, transferred to Givskud Zoo in Denmark in 1973, and arrived at Les Terres de Nataé Zoo in Brittany in 1998. She is now 52 years old, weighs 3.6 tonnes and has never had a calf. The precise details of her story are lost, but what is known is that she has arthritis, and behavioural difficulties relating to other elephants.

“In time, we hope to introduce her to other females,” says Tony Verhulst, who co-founded EHEES (Elephant Haven European Elephant Sanctuary) with Sofie Goetghebeur.

Maewan, a network of people working together in harmony with nature…

Maewan aims to reposition Man at the centre of his environment to tackle one specific issue:

How to achieve collective wellbeing in a world with limited resources?

Maewan’s sailboat, a nomadic operational platform, left France for a seven-year expedition from the Arctic to Antarctica, passing through the Pacific. It supports educational and environmental actions led by world-class athletes, both in France and abroad.

Meawan in numbers

  • 45 educational projects
  • 7 environmental projects
  • 100 exceptional athletes

A sport adventure

Founded in 2014, the Maewan project was initially carried out by a start-up, allowing the activities, sponsoring, financing and management of the sporting adventure. Chaired by the boat’s captain, Erwan le Lann, this structure has created 4 films, 1 photo exposition and a book retracing the few first years of the expedition from France to the Kouril Islands.


Youtube Channel

DE FACTO – new platform where researchers, journalists and education actors united in the face of disinformation


Never before have researchers, journalists and media and information literacy professionals worked together to address the multiple ailments plaguing the information space. DE FACTO intends to open up a plural, open and independent space to put into perspective the challenges of information in the digital age by facilitating verification, analysis and media education. Its ambition is to promote the quality of information, the diversity of public debate, the development of critical thinking and the regulation of digital platforms.

The digital revolution has revolutionised the way information is produced and consumed. Those who produce it no longer have complete control over how it is read. Those who read it are no longer sure whether they can trust those who promote it. Often rich and original, digital information can also be erroneous, viral or misleading. After having been invested with many hopes, the digital revolution is now arousing mistrust and panic. Are we locked in echo chambers? Don’t fake news run the risk of destabilising citizens’ political choices? Do platform algorithms amplify controversy and polarisation of opinion? Faced with these upheavals, the DE FACTO site offers to help us see more clearly by closely associating the practice of fact-checking, the analysis of the transformations of the digital public space and the education of all audiences in order to better discern the risks as well as the promises of new digital information circuits.

Who manufactures DE FACTO?

DE FACTO associates Sciences-Po, whose médialab and the School of Journalism have been studying for many years the transformations of the information ecosystem, AFP, which has developed fact-checking activities in 80 countries in the last four years in more than 20 languages, and CLEMI (Center for Media and Information Education) which organises in particular the Press and Media Week at School in schools.

The vocation of DE FACTO is also to set up an open network of researchers, journalists and media education professionals. Sciences Po leads a network of researchers in numerous French universities and will help to make research work on the transformation of information in the digital age visible. The AFP brings together on the DE FACTO site most of the major French fact-checkers including “Liberation, 20 minutes and les Surligneurs”, as well as Radio France’s public audiovisual fact-checkers. CLEMI is working to set up a network of partners (media, journalists, associations, priority education networks) committed alongside it in media and information education, producers of resources and content in media and information education.


The quality of information is an essential public good for our democracies. It depends on those who produce it, but also on the way it circulates and the way in which audiences appropriate it. At a time of great digital transformations, our information ecosystem is often stifled by over-sized controversies, binary debates opposing the camp of reason to gullible people, by the attention-grabbing mechanisms of digital platforms. By checking, analyzing and helping everyone to better understand the information, DE FACTO offers to help us breathe better and be critical and inquisitive.

The European network

DE FACTO is the French side of a larger European collective: EDMO – for European Digital Media Observatory. EDMO supports independent networks working on disinformation. In addition to DE FACTO, EDMO is also launching 7 other hubs across Europe, all co-financed by the European Commission under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) program.

EDMO is coordinated by a consortium led by the European University Institute in Florence (Italy), in partnership with Athens Technology Center (Greece), Aahrus University (Denmark) and the fact-checking organization Pagella Politica (Italy).

Waste capture device installed in Marseille’s Old Port

Marseille’s Old Port has seen the installation of an innovative new waste capture device that intercepts rubbish destined for the sea.

The ‘D-Rain’ system is the product of local startup Green City Organisation, which aims to fight water pollution in the Mediterranean.

The organisation says that 80% of sea pollution comes from land and that “with each major rainfall event, coastal cities discharge waste, plastics and other emerging pollutants directly into the sea via land and underwater stormwater outfalls, like a flush”.

the concept of the “D-Rain system” is simple:  it consists of a net connected to both offshore and onshore water outlets that is able to capture waste as small as 5mm.
The net has a volume of 10m³ and will need to be emptied ten times a year.
The system is able to alert when the net is full so that the water flow can be released and the net can be emptied.

Sensors on the system are also able to measure the quality of the water, collecting data on factors such as acidity, turbidity and levels of oxygen.

Within five years, the organisation aims to recover the equivalent of what France discharges into the Mediterranean – 11,000 tonnes of waste per year.

So far, it has been recognised by various institutions and received multiple awards, including the Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Award 2021 and the Special Jury Prize in the EDF Pulse 2021 competition (Biodiversity and Nature Protection category)

La recyclerie aims to raise public awareness of eco-responsible values


La REcyclerie is reinventing the concept of a “third place”: neither home nor work. Established for 5 years in Paris in a former station in the inner city of the ring, the REcyclerie is a place of meetings, exchanges and sharing, dedicated to the protection of the environment. Together, citizens, businesses, associations and communities are building a fairer and more sustainable world.

Located in a former railway station rehabilitated into a living space, the REcyclerie aims to raise public awareness of eco-responsible values, in a fun and positive way.


Collaborative initiatives and “do it yourself” are values that guide the place in its conception, its programming and catering offer.

The urban Farm

Refuge of biodiversity in the dense district of Porte de Clignancourt
the Urban Farm of the REcyclerie introduces nature over nearly 1000 m2 favoring thus the development of ecological corridors.
The Farm is made up of several complementary and interdependent spaces

  • An edible forest,
  • Two composting systems,
  • An interior plant jungle,
  • A melliferous meadow on the roof accommodating 4 beehives,
  • A henhouse including a farmyard of 12 hens and 2 Indian runner ducks,
  • A 400m2 collective vegetable garden with 150m2 of educational agricultural facilities in the groun

The Workshop of René

What is that ?
Fighting against planned obsolescence: repair rather than buy back
Sharing skills and tools: give ourselves the means to do this by learning and borrowing equipment
Creating new things with materials we thought unusable

The REcyclerie de Paris in figures

  • 365 days of operation and 200,000 visitors per year; 500 members and 100 volunteers;
  • an urban farm which produces, on 1,000 m2: 450 kg of fruit and vegetables, 4,000 eggs laid by 16 hens, and 170 varieties of plants, using 1 vermicomposter and 5 compost bins. 300 training sessions in vegetable garden techniques were organized;
  • a repair workshop, with 3,000 restored household appliances, 1,500 borrowed tools, 500 shared objects, and 130 Do It Yourself initiations offered;
  • a responsible canteen café: with a menu of homemade products, 68,000 vegetarian dishes served, 50,000 liters of drink, 8 tonnes of recycled coffee and tea grounds, and a waste sorting center;
  • an eco-cultural program: 4,000 events, 1,000 speakers, 80,000 visitors and a library of 400 freely accessible books;
  • an eco-awareness initiative: 18,000 podcasts downloaded, video tutorials (on zero waste, biodiversity, responsible food), and 2 guides on responsible food and zero waste, published in partnership with the editions Larousse ;
  • a web community: 50,000 subscribers on Instagram, 100,000 on Facebook, and 5 million views of videos.

In Lyon and Villeurbanne, homeless mothers accommodated in “tiny houses”

At the top of the Vaise district, in the 9th arrondissement of Lyon, a small village has just appeared, discreetly located along the railway line. It is made up of about twenty tiny houses, these small rolling houses of 15 to 20 square meters which are usually the delight of “bobos” in the countryside.

There, on the outskirts of the city, the wooden-walled caravans shelter women with their very young children, in a very precarious situation. Toys stored between the little houses brighten up the old industrial land. To the right of the portal, a trailer contains the food reserve. Opposite is the laundry room. At the end of the field, a tiny house is transformed into a mini-crèche, with its games and its Christmas tree.

For a year now, the metropolis of Lyon has been increasing the number of locations of these micro-houses, used as innovative solutions among its emergency accommodation offers. They are offered to a particular audience of homeless people: women with children under 3 years old.

Forty-eight tiny houses were set up in 2021, on two sites open in Lyon (9th) and Villeurbanne. One hundred women and young children benefit from these habitats, which provide social assistance to the most disadvantaged. In Villeurbanne, the site is managed by the association Le MAS. In Vaise, Le foyer Notre-Dame des sans-abri takes care of the support and management of the village called “Les Amazones”, in reference to the Scythian people, advocating equality between men and women.

We feel at Home

The metropolis, run by environmentalist Bruno Bernard, is set to launch three more markets over the next year, targeting women with young children. In the second largest agglomeration in France, 500 women and small children are currently placed in homes or hotels as part of emergency accommodation. There are also 850 unaccompanied minors, falling under the social skills of the metropolis, which has integrated the Rhône department into its geographical area.

In the Amazons village of Vaise, Peggy, Odette and Jeanne finally seem to have found some stability and privacy, after months of wandering between continents and lawless areas. The mothers mostly came from sub-Saharan Africa, following a migration punctuated by painful stages, difficult to recount. Their small 16 square meter houses offer a welcome break.

“We feel at home, at night we fall asleep without fear, we rest. In homes or hotels, I was never quiet, I thought too much, I worried, I did not know what I could become, “says Odette. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the young mother crossed multiple countries, including England, before arriving in Lyon in the summer of 2021, where she experienced the homes of 115 and hotel rooms. “Children play together, mothers meet, imagine activities. The place allows you to enjoy a home and encourages the collective spirit, ”says Sébastien Guth, director of the Notre-Dame homeless home in Lyon.

Effective support

The formula seems particularly suitable for young mothers. Above all, the stability of the place allows effective social support. “Single women with children have a safe space, with the possibility to make meals and organise their lives. When they were in hotels, they were isolated for months, with no open rights, in depersonalised places. This changes a lot in the support we provide to find lasting solutions “, explains Bruno Bernard.

The Lautaret Alpine Botanical Garden, a garden and a research centre

Set up in 1899, the Lautaret Alpine Botanical Garden testifies to the one-hundred year history of the University of Grenoble’s passion for alpine flora. The sheer variety in the collections, and the design of the rock gardens set into the landscape, make this altitude garden one of the most beautiful in Europe.

D!CI TV : Jardin alpin du Lautaret from ALTO Dici Radio on Vimeo.

An exceptional natural environment

The natural diversity of species growing in the Lautaret region is due to its extraordinary geographic, geological and climatic configuration. There are over 1,500 species growing in the wild in the three municipal areas of La Grave, Villar d’Arène, and Le Monêtier-Les-Bains.

Geography: a region of major Alpine passes

The Lautaret Alpine Station is located at the very heart of the French Alps right next to Lautaret pass, between the urban centres of Grenoble (90km away) and Briançon (30km away) in the district of Villar d’Arène in the Hautes-Alpes area.

The Lautaret pass is located at 2,058m above sea level and connects the Romanche Valley (a tributary of the River Isere) to the west with the Guisane Valley (a tributary of the River Durance) to the east.

Lautaret Pass (2058m)

The pass has been an important link between the Grenoble and Briançon regions for a very long time. It is vital to the local economy and everything possible is done to keep it open all year round.

The panoramic view that can be enjoyed from the Lautaret pass encompasses:

  • The Ecrins-Pelvoux mountain range with its high peaks (Meije is 3,974m above sea level) and glaciers to the south. This area has been included in the central zone of Ecrins National Park since 1973.
  • To the north, the jagged cliffs of the Grand Galibier mountain range peaking at 3,228m above sea level and breaking off at the Galibier pass, one of the highest and most famous Alpine passes (2,642m above sea level). Located on the border between the Savoie and Dauphiné regions and 7km from Lautaret pass, it offers access to the Maurienne Valley. It is open from early June to late September and is accessed by road from the Lautaret pass.

Geology: a brief overview of the history of the Alps

The Lautaret pass is renowned for its geological panorama where the large Alpine structural units that overlap from east to west with very complex tectonics can be observed.

Climate: a unique location

The Lautaret pass is located close to Briançon, the driest spot in the French Alps, and enjoys an exceptional climate which combines dry summers, lots of sunshine and significant temperature variations.

Distinctive features of the climate:

  • Low rainfall
    Average annual rainfall is roughly 1,300mm at the Lautaret pass, i.e. barely half the amount recorded near Grenoble at the same altitude. Furthermore, the seasonal distribution of rainfall shows a marked trough in the summer.
  • A sun-rich environment
    The area is well protected from westerly winds by the peaks of the outer mountain ranges and from the mists of the Pô plain by the mountains located on the border with Italy.
  • Significant temperature variations
    In summer, temperatures close to 20 -25°C at midday and night-time temperatures of only 2-3°C above zero are not uncommon. The temperature variations are accentuated by the dry air.

Zoning of plant life in the mountains

Anyone who has walked along a mountain path or road will have observed that plant life changes with altitude. This is called the zoning of plant life. The most striking of these changes is undoubtedly the disappearance of forests, which are replaced by meadows, at 2,000 – 2,500m above sea level in the Alps.

Bioclimatic zoning of the French Alps

Biogeographical observations show that major changes in vegetation in the French Alps are structured along three major geographical gradients.

  • The altitudinal gradient determining the zoning of vegetation, moving from the foothill zone to the alpine zone.
  • Latitudinal gradient with the gradual change from the northern to the southern Alps.
  • Transverse gradient with the gradual change from the outer to the inner Alps (the High Romanche, Maurienne, Tarentaise and Durance valleys).

Two climatic parameters have a determining influence on plant growth and development, particularly that of trees: rainfall and temperature (these are called bioclimatic parameters). However, these two parameters vary in a complex fashion along the length of these three geographical gradients.

The fescue hay Meadows

In the non-landscaped areas of the Alpine Garden and the surrounding area of the Lautaret pass, you will observe the hay meadows of Festuca paniculata or ’queyrelle’ which constitute one of the most remarkable groupings in the region. These are known locally as ’queyrellins’.

These subalpine meadows are generally found on gentle, south-facing slopes and at altitudes of below 2,400m (although it can be exceptionally found at 2,500m in protected conditions). It thrives on soft rock (notably flysch) which easily deteriorates and produces deep, relatively fertile, soil at this altitude (the last altitude at which earthworms are found in abundance…).
These meadows have a similar floral composition throughout the southern French Alps

A festival of colour
Festuca paniculata is a perennial tall grass which grows in large dense tufts. The leaves lengthen rapidly at the start of the season. The first leaves start to grow even before the snow has entirely thawed. This usually takes place in the month of May. These first shoots, found growing alongside the crocus flowers, are extremely modest compared to the numerous leaves from the previous year flattened by the snow, which will progressively disappear between May and June.

Vegetation: preserving the region’s exceptional biodiversity

The Lautaret-Galibier region has long been renowned for its exceptional wealth of plant species and populations. Almost 1,500 species (out of the 5,000 recorded species in France) have been recorded here.

Landscapes fashioned by human impacts
The absence of natural forests at the Lautaret pass is linked to the human activities in the area. At some point in the distant past, the areas around the pass were deforested in order to increase the amount of land available for grazing livestock and growing crops. The gentle slopes and the abundant pastures have made this sector a destination of choice for the summer transhumance.

Internships and field courses

Every year the Lautaret Alpine Botanical Garden has a number of openings for interns and students in different fields. These internships and field courses concern students of horticulture and landscaping (horticulture internships), university students (guided visits internships) and university students and researchers (field courses in botany and alpine ecology).


BalleConcept – Innovative company with bio-based ideas

The production of Camargue rice involves waste, such as its stem, also called rice straw, or its part unfit for consumption: the rice husk (protective covering).
Balleconcept recycles all of this waste, in particular by offering insulation solutions. The company packages ready-to-use “boots” in various sizes for the construction industry.
Balleconcept’s innovations also concern manufacturers, such as breweries or pharmaceutical laboratories, which will be able to use this rice waste for their difficult filtrations, since they are without grain residues, without additives, without aromas and without microbiological risks.

Founded in 2015, BalleConcept is a company specialising in the valuation of by-products from rice cultivation and milling. It offers its customers high quality rice husks, in bulk or in the form of high density bundles. BalleConcept is an innovative company, concerned about its environment and the evolution of the agricultural sector.

Due to its very low density, rice husks occupy a large area around rice mills. In the spirit of protecting its natural environment, BalleConcept invested in a high density baler in 2016. In the form of compact bundles, the rice husk becomes easier to transport, store, and handle on construction sites. Its price and carbon impact are also reduced.

Since then, we have conditioned the 4,000 tonnes of Camargue rice husks produced by Silos de Tourtoulen in Arles and marketed them in high density bundles.

Géochanvre, an industrial startup that places sustainable development at the heart of its business model

A business model based on Sustainable Development

Géochanvre F, an industrial startup that places sustainable development at the heart of its business model
Géochanvre F was born from the desire of its leader, Frédéric Roure, agronomist, ecological engineer, to provide an ecological, ethical and economical alternative to plastic products and imported fibers in the fields of geotextiles and textiles.

The company relies on an innovative technology that it has patented internationally, which consists of binding plant fibers by spraying water under high pressure without requiring the addition of adjuvant: this is the process of hydrolysis. It allows the industrial production of 100% biodegradable non-woven fabrics.

Thanks to this process, Géochanvre F manufactures products in Burgundy that enhance locally grown plant fibers such as hemp or flax.


Hemp field

Géochanvre F mainly uses Hemp from Burgundy and also works to integrate Linen from Burgundy. Hemp is a rustic plant cultivated for a long time in France. It is grown without pesticides and allows agriculture, thanks to its roots, to naturally aerate their soils. Because it does not need inputs to grow, it is recommended in areas where drinking water is collected.

By providing an economic outlet for Hemp, Géochanvre F encourages its cultivation.


Géochanvre F is developing on a former industrial site undergoing conversion, in Lézinnes in Yonne, in a rural area. To date, it has created 9 jobs.
In addition, for tailoring and packaging services, it calls on local service providers or those from the social and solidarity economy.

Hemp bag

The Scandola Nature Reserve in Corsica

The Scandola Nature Reserve is located on the west coast of the French island of Corsica, within the Corsica Regional Park. The reserve was established in 1975. The park and reserve has been recognised by the United Nations as a Natural UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983 because of its beauty, rich biodiversity, and maquis shrubland.

The Scàndula Nature Reserve (SNR), both terrestrial (919 ha) and marine
(664 ha) is considered the first European nature reserve to have a protected part on the sea and a part on land.

The marine part of the SNR includes a No-Take Zone (82 ha) where any form of fishing is prohibited, and a partial reserve, where artisanal fishing is authorised, under a number of constraints, while recreational fishing is banned.The SNR has been frequented by man since the Neolithic period, but never accomodate permanent human dwellings; it is now uninhabited.

Terrestrial ecosystems include forests and high maquis, low maquis, Cistus shrublands, low shrublands, more or less nitrophilic lawns, coastal rocks with halophilic vegetation, vegetation of inland rocks and cliffs, and other very localized plant communities. Fifty species of birds (46 % of the whole
of the Corsican avifauna, including the iconic osprey Pandion haliaetus), 8 species of bats, 12 species of amphibians (including Discoglossus sardus), 33 species of ants, 64 species of parasitic Hymenoptera, 56 species of Lepidoptera, 138 species of spiders, 710 species of vascular plants (a third of the floristic richness of Corsica) and 57 species of bryophytes (traditional name for any nonvascular seedless plant—namely, any of the mosses)
occur in the SNR.
Non-flying mammalians are all introduced species, while all native species were extirpated by humans shortly after they colonised Corsica, ~10 000 years ago. The small islands and islets are characterised by high degree of originality in the structure and functioning of the terrestrial communities and in their biodiversity.

Biodiversity and lessons from 46 years of management

Overall, the SNR has been an undeniable success. It owes this to nearly 50 years of uncompromising protection and efficient management, to the unsparing dedication of wardens and curators, to a symbiosis between management, agents and independent scientists and to a Scientific Council that was not just window-dressing. Among the most remarkable successes is the reconstitution of the osprey Pandion haliaetus population,
which was almost extinct in the early 1970s, and the coexistence of a profitable artisanal fishing industry with marine biodiversity sometimes close to the baseline. But these successes should not mask failures. The decree creating the reserve has not been updated; overcrowding by boats, in particular sightseeing boats, was neither anticipated nor limited, and is now out of control; the degradation of the Posidonia oceanica meadows
and the recent failure of ospreys to produce fledgings are other examples. The reserve is too small to be fully efficient and has not been enlarged; the Council of Europe, on the basis of the failure to respond to its long-standing requests, withdrew the European Diploma from the reserve in 2021.

The territory of the SNR is today among the best known in the Mediterranean. In addition, the SNR has constituted a sort of scientific hotbed: many major discoveries, now widely known and used, of great importance for management, originated in Scàndula.
Unfortunately, the success of the SNR, which has been iconic in the Mediterranean, could be jeopardised in the near future by uncontrolled frequentation which could destroy the very features which constitute the justification of the reserve and at the same time its attraction for tourists.

Aix en Provence – Trees planted as part of pollution study

Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône) is one of two European cities, alongside Florence in Italy, to be selected for a project called Airfresh (Air pollution removal by urban forests for a better human well-being) which will see 400 trees planted on the boulevard du Général Paul Angenot – located in a suburb to the south west of the city.

Test area

The aim is to find out if the newly planted trees will have an impact on the city’s air quality. The project, led by Pierre Sicard, a scientist who specialises in pollution and climate change in forests, aims to reduce ozone by three tonnes per year.

The species selected include plane trees, lime trees, maples, oaks and Japanese sophoras – all adapted to local climatic conditions and an urban environment as well as being resistant to disease. They also absorb harmful volatile compounds while emitting few allergenic pollens.

Sensors installed 1m80 up the trees measure what pollutants humans breathe in (fine particles, CO2, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide) while others higher up the trees record meteorological data.

installed sensors

Aix-en-Provence in Southeastern France (143,000 inhabitants) has a Mediterranean climate and is the third most polluted city in France. By 2100, the annual mean temperature will increase by + 1.9-4.6°C, and up to 5.7°C in summer. By way of comparison, in Aix-en-Provence, during the 2019 heat wave, the deviation was + 3.5°C compared to the nearby cities. In 2019, the EU target values for the protection of human health were exceeded for NO2 and O3. The main species of street trees are are Platanus spp., Populus spp., Quercus ilex, Pinus halepensis, Ulmus spp. and Cupressus sempervirens.

Southeastern France and Italy are the highest O3 risk areas in European Union with increasing O3 levels in cities. In 2019, about 95% of the population of the city was exposed to PM2.5, PM10, NO2 and O3 levels exceeding the WHO target values for health protection.

In 2019, a total of 55  deaths for non-accidental causes were attributed to O3, NO2 and PM10 in Aix-en-Provence . A total of 163 hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases was also reported . For O3, we observed a high number of hospital admissions for cardiovascular endpoints, i.e. about 67 per 100,000 people at risk in Aix-en-Provence .

The new planted trees will enhance the abatement of air pollution and urban heat island. The tree will also contribute to carbon sequestration and improve the infiltration of runoff water.

Tree charter in Aix-en-Provence

In 2019, the city of Aix accounts 180-ha of green spaces including 20,400 public trees (managed by the municipality).

The City of Aix made a plan to develop and protect its public tree heritage. The Tree Charter consists in preservation of the existing tree heritage. From now, the City wants to determine whether trees can be planted in certain quarters, which tree species, which planting and management strategy, and how to increase the pace of new plantations.

The charter aims to:
1) make people aware of the role of trees in the city;
2) evolve and adapt best practices;
3) prepare the renewal (e.g. methods of planting, places of plantation);
4) make the tree one of the vectors of nature and biodiversity in city; and
5) set up communication tools towards public.

French architect’s scheme saves building waste from skips

Nearly 75% of all waste comes from the construction industry, according to the government environment agency Ademe, a figure that architect Joanne Boachon is hoping to change

An architect has come up with a way to reuse waste from the building industry that would otherwise end up in a rubbish dump.

Joanne Boachon, from Lyon, had the idea while writing her thesis for her final exams, after realising how much material was being thrown away.

Nearly 75% of all waste comes from the construction industry, according to the government environment agency Ademe.

In 2016, with the support of other architects, she set up Minéka, an association which collects unwanted material from builders, checks it to make sure it can be reused, and sells it on at low prices from a warehouse at Villeurbanne, north east of Lyon.

It is open to professionals, individuals or associations, but anyone wanting to purchase has to become a member of Minéka for insurance reasons first (€10 for private individuals and €50- €150, depending on the size of a business).

A website shows what is in stock, including timber, doors, windows, insulation, pipes, paint and roofing materials.

Products could come from the end of a building project, a renovation, demolition or an order error. When buildings are about to be demolished, the association goes in to see what can be reclaimed and actively looks for people who might want to reuse the material.

Minéka also provides a collection service for professionals. Between 2018 and 2020, it collected 93 tonnes, of which more than half was wood.

In 2020, Ms Boachon won third prize in the Fondation Yves Rocher Terre de Femmes Award, which recognises women’s efforts from across the globe to save the planet.

She says she wants to make people aware that building waste can often have a second life rather than ending up in a skip.

Her association also offers advice on how this can be done, including speaking at conferences and via training sessions and exhibitions.

For people who do not live in Lyon, the Minéka website gives details of similar schemes operating in other parts of France.


You have surely already heard of Lydia, a mobile payment application that allows you to “forget about the cash”, to reimburse yourself with friends, to pay using your Lydia card or even to pay via your smartphone. Created in 2011, the application has been running since 2013. Today, the application has more than 4 million users mainly in France and the development is now international.

Origin and activities of Lydia?

“Lydia” is the name of the kingdom where the first coin was minted in the 7th century BC. Instead of barter, the Lydians sought an efficient and secure way to trade, hence the creation of money.

The startup allows you to get back to the basics of cash: when you ask for or give someone money; bank details are not required; you instantly know your balance. Lydia has made it possible to provide control, security and immediacy, but with digital and mobile means. Lydia is a company that designs mobile payment solutions created in 2011. It is the French leader and currently has a little over 4 million users (total number of people using at least one of the services offered by Lydia ) . 70% of the app’s users are “millennials” (18-30 years old).

Lydia is basically a universal wallet that allows you to reimburse yourself between friends while avoiding all the complexity of transfers. The application brought fluidity, immediacy and security. Initially, the application was also designed to pay professionals who accepted this payment system or pay e-merchants online.

The digital evolution of our society has developed expectations of real time and control: how can we explain that it is still necessary to wait a few days to receive a transfer in a bank?

Digital evolution and comparison with retail banking

Why is there no “Lydia-type solution” in banks yet?

The context of banks today: there are resources, competent people who are very familiar with the digital age and finally significant financial means. But there are constraints:

  • Old computer systems that were not designed for real-time operations and that require years of work to transform them,
  • The regulations which are constantly evolving for each service offered.
  • Bankers combine many professions and come to aggregate regulatory systems.
  • The organisation and structure of major banks with the weight of social and union procedures.

The Third Landscape

French semester symbol inspiration with Gilles Clément (1943 – ) French Landscape Architect, Theorist and Writer.

At the invitation of our friends from the French Semester 2022 to bring nature into the Eiffel Tower, which will be located on the roundabout at the entrance to the JRC (Ispra), we looked for inspiration in the work of the famous gardener, philosopher, botanist and professor at the Versailles Landscape School, Gilles Clément, and the three principles he created:

The garden in motion, the planetary garden, and the third landscape.

And the latter… the Third Landscape seems appropriate for our little project.

Gilles Clément calls the third landscape

all places abandoned by man

… the roadside, the edge of the field, a suburban field that has escaped construction, a traffic island, a roundabout… spaces that, almost without human intervention, can become pleasant places, gardens of the future where biodiversity finds refuge.

For Gilles Clément, working on the Third Landscape means not going against nature but with it, supporting it, observing it and intervening as little as possible.

Free yourself from rules and be “lazy”, let Nature do the work

The idea of the third landscape is a garden WITHOUT a gardener, WITHOUT a grass trimmer, a shredder, a perfect English lawn, artificially trimmed hedges and plastic looking bushes.  On the contrary, it extols the wildness and natural “imperfection”.

In our project, we will invite nature, birds, insects, vagrant plants and others to “occupy” the space around the Eiffel Tower:

    We will set up birdhouses, a small insect hotel. We will plant daffodils, crocuses and a few other bulbs. Cornus sibirica plants for their resistance and beauty during the winter months.

    Other vagrant plants known to French gardens:

  • grey leaf plants because they are drought resistant
  • calendula officinalis because it flowers in spring
  • alcea rosea and iris, which are very typical of French gardens

    In the management of the roundabout lawn, we will leave a strip of lawn with a moderate cut to encourage the wild flowers already present to flower and spread. 

JRC Gardening Club, for the French semester 2022

Bocaux & co, a circular economy project

Bocaux & co is a circular economy project for the reuse of jars throughout the Dijon metropolitan area (Burgundy-Franche Comté region); Recycling is no longer enough, more must be done! This has a much heavier environmental impact than reuse.

Bocaux & co revolves around 3 activities:

  • Reuse – to set up a circuit for reuse of jars
  • Processing, to develop the practice of conservation in jars
  • Training, to train and raise awareness of jar conservation techniques

Based on such a common resource – the glass jar or screw cap jar – Bocaux&co aims to:

  • 1)support the food self-sufficiency of a territory, by promoting the development of the practice of canning and its various techniques
  • 2)participate in reducing waste and our environmental impact
  • 3)contribute to the social and solidarity economy, by initiating a circular, participatory, inclusive and united economy model

Compared to recycling, reusing the jars saves:

  • 79% greenhouse gas
  • 76% energy
  • 33% water

Recycling vs Reuse

The jars reuse circuit, offered by the Bocaux & Co Association

France has over 60 currencies beside the Euro

Alongside the euro, dozens of local currencies are in circulation across France. They surged in 2010 following the global financial crisis and can only be used in a limited area like a town or region. Some of them have become increasingly commonplace in French regions over the past few years, as they help boost the local economy and protect the environment.

That’s just one of some 60 currencies besides the euro that are accepted in France. It’s not a phenomenon unique to France. Around the world, there are hundreds of these complementary currencies.

Local currencies debuted in France in 2010 after the financial crisis as a way to support local economies, since local currencies can only be used in a certain town or area. (Abeilles can only be used in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Occitans in Pézenas, Languedoc-Roussillon, etc.) Not every store in a town will accept the local currency. Only stores where using the local currency will contribute to the immediate town and surrounding area will accept the currency. So your “boulanger” will gladly take your “Occitans” because the bread was made using wheat grown in the area by local farmers.

Some currencies are printed on paper and others are paperless to cut costs. The exchange rate is always one euro to one local currency.

Map of the actual local currencies in France

To learn more about local currencies in France and the new Paris currency, “la pêche”, check out the video below.

Local currency nameLocationRegioncurrency units in circulationLaunch Date
La PêcheParisIle de France90.0002018
EskoPays BasqueNouvelle Aquitaine3 millions2013
CagnoleAuxerreBourgogne-Franche Comté42.0002018
BuzukPas de MorlaixBretagne22.0002016
AbeilleVilleneuve sur LotNouvelle Aquitaine14.0002011
La DoumePuy-de-DômeAuvergne-Rhône-Alpes170.0002015
some examples of local currencies