Some are natural, others artificial, France is home to some of the world’s most stunning lakes. Coming from different parts of the world, tourists swarm to the country yearly to have a wonderful and relaxing time. Part of how they unwind is a trip to the stunning lakes scattered across the regions.
Visitors admire and wander about the lakes just to immerse themselves on their beaches.
Here are some of the most beautiful lakes to enjoy in France:
Often regarded as one of the most beautiful in Europe, Lake Annecy covers an area of 27.5 square km in the Haute-Savoie mountains. This lake does not only provide an impressive sight of the Alps, but it also has an enormous range of activities. Rowing, fishing, cycling, sailing, diving, water, and others are among what you can treat yourself to.
There is the Swans, an artificial island of a nice setting. Visitors can explore the island on a sailboat. The gorgeous lake is a massive lake surrounded by beautiful towns (including Annecy, one of the most stunning towns in the country) and villages.
Lac de Serre-Poncon
As you drive along Lac de Serre-Poncon in the south of the country, you will see mountainous steeps into the water. On some sides, you will find gentle hills cascading onto this artificial lake. This is one of the largest man-made lakes created in the 1960s as part of a flood-control project. But some villages were flooded to create space for the lake.
Visitors are permitted to camp along the lake, which is well-known among swimmers, sailing-lovers, and windsurfers. Previous visitors strongly suggest avoiding this beautiful lake in September. This is because the weather can be unpredictable.
As you will see, part of the lake is rather still wild, with a craggy coast while other parts provide lined beaches and quaint small villages like St. Vincent Les Forts or Espinasses. At this small corner of Provence, one can spend lovely moments with friends or family or just savor the activities that Serre-Poncon offers.
Bear in mind that this lovely setting is Instagram-worthy. Therefore, do not forget to capture on your camera the Saint-Michel chapel, situated on a small island in the lake’s middle. It was built in 1020 but rebuilt in the 1600s. The island is among the most photographed islands of the Hautes-Alpes places.
The Lake of d’Oô
This is another lake to see in France. Close to the Spanish border, in the Haute-Garonne district, the lake of d’Oô lies graciously. It has a place that attends to visitors from hiking in the Pyrenees river or just to enjoy the sight of the big waterfall of 75 meters high. The waterfall pours from Lake Espingo in d’Oô’s water. To get to the lake, there is a pathway of Great Excursion (GR10) to take. This will span for about an hour from Granges D’Astau to the lake. As you walk along, you will discover there are splendid scenics to adore.
The astonishing Lake Geneva, which has a glacial source, is located between Switzerland and France. The lake has 580-kilometer square making it the largest lake in the Alps and the largest lake in the west of Europe. More reason why you should visit the area in France is the lake. Though it is a natural lake, there is only a small fragment of its coast that is still wild and is man-made.
Right on the banks, visitors can sail a boat for relaxation or fishing, sunbathe, swim or visit the different sites designated to tourists like the island of La Harpe, Challon Castle, or the village of Yvoire. The lake has blue water ripples in certain places, while others are fine as glass. Usually, it is surrounded by the Alps. And since Lake Geneva is popular among A-listers, be on the lookout for celebrities.
Lac de Sante Croix
The country’s third-largest lake has not been around for years like many other lakes. The beautiful Lac de Sante Croix dates back to 1973 when the Sainte Croix dam was built across the Verdun River. The lake is not artificial, and it has smaller lakes connected to it. It is surrounded by forests and hills and has beaches with a nice swimming area. If you are looking to indulge in kayaking, the Lac de Sante Croix affords you just that.
The Der Lake
This fine lake is located in Champagne-Ardenne and was built to serve as a fortification against the Paris floods in the 1960s. Der Lake occupies an area of 50km2 and is the largest artificial lake in the whole of Europe. Classified as a National Reserve and Wildlife center in 1977, many species can be found there. You can see birds who stop by during their migration, as well.
Tourists frequent the lake as they follow the bike paths that surround it. Der Lake boasts of many campsites, guesthouses, and hotels for your comfort.
The Lake of Castillon
Made after the construction of the Castillon dam, the lake is situated in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, close to Castellane. Feel comfortable in the Alps or in the Gorges du Verdon to have some momentous time on the lake’s banks. The lake’s shores are close to the villages of Saint Andre the Alps, which offers nice beaches for visitors, and the adorable Saint Julien du Verdon Provencal.
Man-made lake serviced by the waters of the Cure, the Settons is situated in the center of the Nièvre area, close to the town of Montsauche-Les-Settons. This lake’s history can be traced back to 1961when a dam was constructed. The lake, whose perimeter is more than 13 km, accommodates visitors for leisure and activities.
Sailing, rowing, water skiing are some of the activities they engage in. Marked paths are conducive for mountain biking like hiking and equestrian. And there are quiet shores where fishermen catch trout, carp, perch, pike, salmon, and others.
This lake’s dam reservoir is located in the Herault area. It was established in 1969, and it developed flora and fauna because of the red soil present there. Be informed that no motorboat is permitted. It is perfect for skateboarders and can reach 28 degrees during summer. Visitors can fish, and hiking is possible around the craggy areas. Look forward to hiking and mountain biking, which are possible on a 28 km path that surrounds the lake.
The Lake Gerardmer
This stunning lake is located in Gerardmer in the Vosges. Though it is a dumping site for ammunition and weapons, swimming is permitted in certain areas. The lake is a part of a three large set that forms the “valleys of lakes” (lake Retounermer, lake Longemer, and lake Gerardmer). If swimming is not appealing to you, take time to explore the three lakes on a Vosges tour.
Lake Bourget, also known as Lake of Aix, is located in the Jura mountains. It is said that this adorable lake was naturally formed many years ago. The lake is the largest natural lake of glacial origin in France (apart from Lake Geneva), and it boasts of having different species of fish, plants, and birds given the different climates it has.
Fishing for consumption and marketing is not allowed at Lake Bourget, but visitors can practice it for fun. Here there are also swimming and water sports as available activities to do. Though some beaches are not free during summertime, you might want to go for the free ones to enjoy yourself.
There are many sights and iconic monuments at the lake to stay there for a long time. There is the priory of the Bourget-du-Lac and the gorgeous garden, St. Lawrence church, or Lookout Mountain Chambotte that provides a spectacular view across the lake.
Most Beautiful Lakes in France – Summary
A holiday visit to France might not be perfect without a trip to any of its awesome lakes. Ensure you add to your France itinerary a visit to at least a lake. France offers lots of beautiful scenics, do not miss out.