The principal sedimentary basins of France result from a succession and/or combination of extensional or compressive and thermal mechanical evolution controls during the Alpine Cycle. The sediments filling these basins can be subdivided into second-order sequences recording the major geodynamic events that have marked the Mesozoic and Cenozoic geological history of Western Europe. The Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary basins have been worked since antiquity for their multiple resources and have been the subject of outstanding geological syntheses since the 18th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, the geological information extracted the first deep water wells, combined with the cartographic data, gave us a three-dimensional picture of the basins. Thereafter, the proliferation of oil-exploration, gas-storage and geothermal-energy projects provided, in particular, 350,000 km of seismic lines and 6000 deep boreholes. France’s sedimentary basins are today basins for which we have a large amount of diversified data. They thus provide excellent playing fields for developing modern methodologies for 3D reconstruction of the deep geology by virtue of major societal projects and extensive scientific debate on the sedimentary recording of geodynamic events.


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