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©Valentin Pacaut-The Explorers

Top lakes in the Alps

Set off along the footpaths of the Southern Alps to discover a host of lakes set in stunning surroundings. With their picture-postcard decors and turquoise waters, these alpine lakes have no reason to be envious of the nearby Mediterranean.

Amble to the Voile de la Mariée

Head to Cirque de Gioberney, near La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar, to discover the awe-inspiring show offered by the Cascade du Voile de la Mariée (Bride’s Veil Waterfall), one of the emblems of the Parc National des Écrins. The wild and magnificent walk is fairly easy and you can safely take all your little tribe along with you. Once you reach Lac de Lauzon, breathe in the fresh, pure air and bask in the site’s tranquillity. It’s the perfect place in the Alps to get back on top of the world.

Take a refreshing dip at Lac de Chantemerle

When the warmer weather comes around, treat yourself to an organic dip in Lac de Chantemerle at the heart of Parc des Colombiers, near Serre-Chevalier. The lake’s three pools are entirely regulated by plants! A beautiful and organic pool, Lac de Chantemerle promises the same sensations as a natural lake thanks to its pure waters, filtered naturally and with no chemicals.

Admire the colours of Lac de l’Orceyrette

Lac de l’Orceyrette boasts some of the most stunning Alpine views. Slip into your sneakers and roam the lake banks to immerse yourself in the breathtaking vistas over the lunar landscapes of Col d’Izoard mountain pass Pic de Mavaroise, reflecting in the still waters of the lake. This short and very easy walk is great for a family outing followed by a picnic with a view. Autumn brings a magnificent show of larches dressed in shimmering golden robes – you could easily be on the banks of a Canadian lake.

Hike to Lac d’Allos

Europe‘s largest natural altitude lake, Lac d’Allos is well worth the 45-minute walk. The beauty of this lake -aptly named the jewel of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence – is simply jaw-dropping! Its exceptional setting is a haven for observing the local plant and animal life, so don’t forget your binoculars, because you might just come across a wandering marmot or ibex. If you’re feeling peckish, head to the terrace of the refuge on the banks of Lac d’Allos, where you can savour a welcome hot chocolate while drinking up the panoramic views.

Discover the treasures of Lac de Serre-Ponçon

France’s largest dam and the emblem of the Hautes-Alpes area, Lac de Serre-Ponçon is an absolute must while you’re touring the Southern Alps. With its crystal-clear waters reflecting the surrounding mountains, it’s easy to understand why this is one of the region’s most-visited lakes! When the waters are at their lowest, you can venture onto the banks to admire its unique landscapes, carved by the weather and passage of time. Did you notice the tiny Chapelle Saint-Michel standing on a little island? One of the curiosities of Lac de Serre-Ponçon, this chapel was spared when the villages of Savines and Ubaye were flooded by the reservoir, to the great joy of photography fans.

Venture to Lacs de Vens

A paradise for seasoned walkers and hikers seeking breathtaking decors, Plateau de Vens, near Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage, offers a whole panel of varied and equally-magnificent landscapes. Keep your eyes peeled as you cross the green mountain pastures: you may well spot some wild sheep or ibex goats. The Lacs de Vens lakes offer a succession of gorgeous scenery, set against a backdrop of rocky mountains. A landscape that is reminiscent of Iceland!

Spend the night at Lac de Rabuons

Another must-see lake in the Alps – and certainly not one of the smallest. Lac de Rabuons is set inside the Parc National du Mercantour near Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée. Once you’re on the path leading to the lake, head up Chemin de l’Énergie, a dizzying slope lined with ledges hovering over the valley and tunnels carved into the rock. Once you arrive at Lac de Rabuons, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the site and try your hand at naming the surrounding mountains, such as La Cime d’Ischiator or Le Corborant. It’s well worthwhile spending a night at the nearby refuge: the glorious sunset over the lake is a show you won’t want to miss.

Marvel at Lac Nègre

Set in the Parc National du Mercantour, Lac Nègre is undoubtedly one of the most incredible sights in the Alps. After crossing Vallée de la Vésubie, behold the impressive lunar landscapes of Lac Nègre. With its impenetrably dark waters and ochre granite cliff faces, the lake’s quasi-surreal decor is a genuine paradise for photographers and lovers of scenic views alike. Head over in the morning to see the mist rising over the lake. You could swear you’re in Scandinavia.

Climb up to Lac de Trécolpas

This is a not-to-be-missed spot while you’re touring the Alps and especially Parc National du Mercantour. Get your backpack, water, and sunscreen ready, because the sun really beats down at this altitude. Ready? Delve into the footpaths criss-crossing the contrasted landscapes of Vallée de la Vésubie. In summer, the paths are lined with flowering rhododendrons and you’ll definitely appreciate the refreshing rest offered by the lake. What’s more, you might come across some chamois on the way: there are lots of them living around Lac de Trécolpas.

 

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Take a voyage back in time at Lac Vert de Fontanalba

Head out to explore Lac Vert de Fontanalba in the Vallée de la Roya: the waters of this lake are graced with a unique colour thanks to the surrounding larches. If you’re a fan of prehistoric times, you’ll be interested to know that you’re in one of the cave painting hubs of the Vallée de Merveilles. Just take a look at the shale rock – you’ll be amazed to see how many ancient drawings are carved into it.

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