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Where or what is Cadarache?

Robert Arnoux

We work at Cadarache, but ITER's official address is Saint-Paul-lez-Durance. So what exactly is Cadarache?

The first mention of the place we know as Cadarache appears in 1089, in a cartulary of Saint Victor Abbey in Marseilles. The name is spelled "Cadaraia" and refers to an estate the abbey possessed near the confluence of the Durance and Verdon rivers. Two centuries later, "Cadaraia" had transformed into "Cadaracha", later "Cadaracho" and eventually into the modern form "Cadarache". Etymologists agree that the name has its origin in "cataracta", Latin for waterfall.

For more than a thousand years Cadarache has referred to an agricultural domain, one of largest in Provence; to a forest, one of the last remnants of the woodlands with covered southern Gaul in Roman times; to a castle, erected before the year 1000, and, for the past 50 years, to the largest of CEA research centres.

But Cadarache never was a town, not even a village or a hamlet — this is why our mail has to be addressed to Saint-Paul-lez-Durance...

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