Some like lounging on a beach on the Atlantic Ocean or the Mediterranean, others prefer the mountains and lakes it offers. In the top 10, we will present some of the finest and most famous in France. They come in all sizes, offering a unique show every time visitors who take the time to admire them, to go around or just bask on their beaches. Whether natural or artificial, that are all essential points if you spend your holiday with one of them. I had myself struggling to decide some of the nominees in this ranking, which I hope will make you want to travel.
1) Lake Annecy, the most beautiful lake in France
It could not be otherwise, Lake Annecy is often considered the most beautiful in France and even the most beautiful lake in Europe. His pure water covers an area of 27.5 square kilometers in the Haute-Savoie mountains. It not only offers a magnificent view of the Alps but also a large range of activities: fishing, rowing, cycling, swimming, sailing, diving, water skiing, etc. He finally has an artificial island: the island of the Swans. It is accessible to walkers outside the periods of spawning and incubation (early spring). You can always go around in a sailboat or pedalo.
2) The lake of d’Oô
Near the Spanish border, in the Haute-Garonne department, is Lake of d’Oô. This one has a place catering to visitors from hiking in the Pyrenees or simply those who come to admire the big waterfall of 275 meters high which pours water from Lake Espingo in that of the lake ‘Oô. Access is by a path of Great Excursion (GR10). It will take a good hour for a casual walker from Granges D’Astau to Lake Oô but the scenery you will discover is well worth a small sacrifice!
3) Lake Geneva
This lake of glacial origin is located between France and Switzerland. Its area of over 580 km² gives it the title of largest alpine lake in Central Europe and the largest natural lake in Western Europe. To stay in France, you will go to the south coast. Indeed, the north is it in the territory Switzerland. While it is natural, only a very small part of its coast is still wild, most of which were artificialized. On the banks, you can sail boat for relaxation or fishing, swim, sunbathe or visit the various tourist sites such as the Chillon Castle, the island of La Harpe or the fortified village of Yvoire.
4) The Der lake
Located in the Champagne-Ardenne, Lake Der-Cantecoq was built to protect Paris floods in the 1960s an area of almost 50 km², it is the largest artificial lake in Europe. Since 1977, the lake is classified National Hunting Reserve and Wildlife because of the many species found there, especially birds who stop during their migration. Popular with tourists, the lake has bike paths that allow to go around. It is also possible to bathe on the 6-appointed beaches, water sports there or hiking. Finally, the Der Lake has many campsites, hotels and guest houses to welcome you.
5) The lake of Castillon
Formed following the construction of the Castillon dam, the lake is located in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, near Castellane. Enjoy your stay in the Alps or in the Gorges du Verdon to come spend some time on the banks of this lake. Its shores bordering the villages of Saint Andre the Alps, which offers beaches for tourists to take the plunge, and Saint Julien du Verdon Provençal charm which is very nice.
6) The Serre-Ponçon
Artificial lake located in the Southern Alps, Serre-Ponçon has it all. It was created following the construction of a dam on the Durance and today has many facilities for navigation or swimming. Part of the lake is still wild, with a jagged rocky coast while other areas offer organized beaches and small villages like Espinasses or St. Vincent les Forts. This little corner of Provence you will spend good days with family or friends to fish or enjoy the activities offered at the lake Serre-Ponçon. Do not forget to take a picture of the Saint-Michel chapel, located on a small island in the middle of the lake, built in 1020 and rebuilt in the 17th century. This small island is also one of the most photographed of the Hautes-Alpes sites.
7) Lake Settons
Artificial lake fed by the waters of the Cure, the Settons is located in the heart of the Nièvre department, near the town of Montsauche-les-Settons. He too comes from the construction of a dam in 1961, making it an artificial lake whose perimeter exceeds 13 kilometers. During the summer, many leisure and activities are available. As for water sports can be mentioned: sailing, rowing, water skiing, etc. Marked trails allow mountain biking such as hiking (hiking and equestrian), then the fishermen will appreciate the calm shores from which they can expect to catch trout, carp, salmon, perch, pike and many white fish.
8) Lake Salagou
Lake Salagou dam’s reservoir, located in the department of Herault, was established in 1969. It developed there fauna and flora rather special because of the red soil found there. No motorboat is allowed there, only the veil and allowed. Tramontana blowing there is also Lake Salagou a privileged place for skateboarders. The Hérault is one of the sunniest departments, the lake can reach 28 degrees in summer which will allow more hesitant to indulge in the pleasures of swimming. Fishing is also possible with good catches prospects. Hiking and mountain biking are also possible on 28 km path that circle the lake Salagou.
9) The Lake Gerardmer
It is located in the town of Gerardmer in the Vosges. Around the lake exceeds five kilometers. Although it is a disposal site for weapons and ammunition, swimming is allowed in areas like fishing. A pumping station fee water south of the lake to feed the drinking water network. Lake Gerardmer actually part of a set of three large lakes that make up “the valley of lakes” Lake Retournemer, and finally that of Longemer Lake Gerardmer. If swimming does not tempt you, take still time to discover these three lakes during a tour of Vosges.
10) Lake Bourget
To complete the top, here is the Bourget Lake, also called Lake of Aix. Located in the Jura mountains, in the department of Savoy, it was formed naturally there are nearly 20,000 years. It is the largest natural lake of glacial origin in France (outside of Lake Geneva, which also belongs to the Switzerland). It is home to many species of fish, birds and plants due to the different climates it offers. Fishing for consumption and marketing is prohibited there but you can always practice it for leisure. Swimming and water sports are available from leisure centers such as Aix-les-Bains or Châtillon. While some beaches are paid during the summer, nothing prevents you to choose one free to enjoy the water temperatures reached 25 degrees during the summer. Finally, numerous monuments and sights allow you to remain there several days without going in circles. You could for example visit the priory of the Bourget-du-Lac and its beautiful garden, St. Lawrence church or Lookout Mountain Chambotte that offers a magnificent view across the Lake.
It is here that concludes our top 10 most beautiful lakes in France hoping that it will make you want to go there in early summer. Several others are not in this list but could be included.