Setting up of Compagnie Générale des Eaux
Compagnie Générale des Eaux is founded and obtains its first public service concession to supply water to the city of Lyons.
On the initiative of Napoleon III and throughout the entire Second Empire, the creation of private companies to operate the urban water systems opens the way for modernization and enhances the quality of life in towns and cities.
Count Henri Siméon embodies this dynamism when he founds the Compagnie Générale des Eaux in 1853: "In the new times ahead, be certain, sirs, that millions will be allotted to the supply of water, just as millions were allocated to railways previously".
This momentum gathers even more pace when it becomes part of the Saint-Simonianism movement, whose members played an active role in the modernisation of France. It was led by Prosper Enfantin (1796-1864), one of the directors of the Company, and also a board member of the Lyon - Mediterranean Railway Company.