Despite its enormous variety of natural beauty, we perhaps don’t usually associate the summer in France with lakes. When travelling to the famous golden Cote d´Azur, to the Atlantic Coast of southern France, or to the beautiful Bretagne, travellers often ignore the existence of these hidden little pieces of paradise. And yet, there are actually lakes in almost all regions of France that are worth the detour!
Going from wild mountain lakes, to large leisure lakes and to natural preserved clear water places, France is full of beautiful secret destinations that will make your summer a unique experience!
Among the lakes we have chosen below, some are very large and some are rather small, some are very wild and other artificial, some are well-known, while others are almost unheard of… But they will all give you the chance to take part in a new adventure, practicing a variety of water-sports or simply relaxing by the crystal blue water.
The lakes of France provide lots of entertainment and many activities, which is why visiting one of these gems is a must-do when planning your next trip to France!
We selected for you some of the most beautiful lakes of France. Check them out, and plan a unique summer trip to the French natural jewels… All of them are worth the tour!
Head to the Lake of Sainte-Croix and discover the beautiful Verdon Gorges!
Location: Var & Alpes Hautes-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
Located in the departments of Var and of Provence-Alpes-Côte d´Azur, the Lake Sainte Croix is the biggest lake of the Regional Natural Park Verdon and the real pearl of the region. With its clear water, its magnificent landscapes, and the nearby Verdon Gorges, the Lake Sainte Croix is the perfect destination to enjoy a nice family trip. Even if this lake is visited quite a lot during the summer, its large surface will guarantee you a nice time there. The many sport activities, such as rafting, canyoneering and canoeing, as well as the many attractions present in the region will make your stay unforgettable!
A place to stay: Le moulin du chateau
Visit the unique Lake Allos and its beautiful natural environment.
Location: Alpes Haute-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
Located at 2230 metres above sea level, Lake Allos, jewel of the Haut Verdon, is the largest natural lake altitude of Europe. It is located in the heart of the Mercantour National Park, preserved in its green peaks, including the Mount Pelat (3052 metres).
While travelling there, you will be able to enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and contemplate the natural beauty of this exceptional site. The Lake Allos is perfect for those who wish to have an adventurous escape made of walking and hiking activities through a beautiful natural environment.
Discover the Lake Serre-Ponçon and its lively surroundings.
Location: Hautes-Alpes & Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
Serre-Ponçon Lake is located in the south of the French Alps and is the second largest man-made lake in Europe. Serre-Ponçon is loaded with activities in sea and on land including footpaths around the lake that display memorably striking views (don’t forget to bring your camera!). If you’re on foot, take the walk to Demoiselles Coiffées (meaning “young ladies with nice hats” in French), which is a rock formation of columns with a large rock balanced on their tips to prevent erosion. The village of Savines de Lac, located in the middle of the lake, is another town worth stopping at. Bring your sunglasses: this town is said to have pure sunshine 300 days out of the year!
Let the Lake Salagou and its vivid orange colours surprise you!
Location: Herault, Languedoc Roussillon
The Lac du Salagou is a large lake near to Clermont l’Herault in the Herault department of Languedoc Roussillon. Well known in the area for the vivid colours of the lake and its surroundings, it is very popular for various water sports, walking and cycling. Drive around the lake in order to enjoy the breathtaking views, or take the forest path to walk or cycle around the lake and have the time to admire the beautiful landscape. The Lake Salagou is a unique destination and will give your summer holidays a new taste!
Stop by the famous Lake Annecy, the not-to-be-missed of France.
Location: Haute-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes
Lake Annecy is one of the most beloved lakes of France. Very large, it is surrounded by beautiful towns (including Annecy itself) and villages. Be sure to explore the village of Tallores, especially the restaurants that offer the regional specialties of Féra or Omble Chevalier. If you want to explore more of the region, book a ride with Cie des Bateaux du lac d’Annecy – a cruise that stops at different towns around the lake. It even includes a prepared lunch or dinner. Nature lovers can opt for a more ecological experience with Lake Annecy Ecotour. Thanks to this tour, you will discover the natural reserves and inside caves of the surroundings.
Plus, thanks to the many festivals and events that take part over the summer around the lake, going from film and street art festivals to carnivals and various concerts, Annecy is the place where you will never be bored!
Discover the lake Léman, between France and Switzerland.
Location: Haute Savoie
Lake Léman is one of the largest lakes France and one of the largest freshwater lakes in Europe. It is located in the department Haute Savoie and is shared with Switzerland.
Mountains, blue water, authentic villages… Here, you will be able to enjoy a wide variety of activities, restaurants, numerous cultural events and festivals, and many opportunities for sightseeing and entertainment. Discover this beautiful natural gem and the beautiful French and Swiss surrounding landscapes!