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A city built in a bend of the Rhône
The city of Avignon in the Vaucluse department extends on the left bank of the Rhône, the most powerful and the fastest of the French rivers. Its construction in a bend of the river at only 16.4 ft (5 m) above the lowest water level explains the frequent and devastating floods that peppered its history. Originally on the side of Villeneuve, the main course of the Rhône was diverted in the 19th century by a dam upstream of Avignon to orient the lively arm of the river along the papal city. The Compagnie Nationale du Rhône, however, restored the original layout in the 20th century.
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