France is a country rich in a wide variety of tourist attractions and natural wonders. This makes it all the more remarkable that many of the most wonderful lakes in the country aren’t that well-known to the general public.
We all know the magnificent monuments landmarks in Paris and the famous ski resorts of the Alps, or even the Champagne region in northern France, but somehow lakes aren’t on top of the list.
This changes right now because here are some of the most famous lakes in France, fascinating attractions that you should put on your France bucket list.
1. Lac d’Annecy
Lake Annecy was named after the city with the same name in the Haute-Savoie department in the southeastern part of France. It’s one of the pre-alpine lakes in the country which means it offers a similar landscape to some of the famous pre-alpine lakes in Italy.
The lake covers an area of 27.59 square kilometers (10.65 square miles) which makes it the third-largest lake in France and was formed about 18,000 years ago due to melting Alpine glaciers. It’s fair to conclude that it’s one of the most picturesque lakes in the country.
2. Lac de Gaube
Gaube Lake is located in that other famous mountain range in France, the Pyrenees, a range that forms the natural border between Spain and France. the impressive background ensures it can hold a candle to the magnificent location of Lake Annecy.
It’s much smaller though as it covers an area of just 0.19 square kilometers (0.073 square miles). It’s located at an altitude of 1,725 meters (5,659 feet) and not too far away from Vignemale a famous mountain in France and the highest mountain of the French Pyrenees.
3. Lac du Bourget
Lac du Bourget is located in the utmost southern part of the Jura Mountains, a sub-alpine range in the southeastern part of France. It’s located just southeast of Lake Annecy as well and borders the famous thermal spa town Aix-les-Bainsin the French department of Savoie.
It’s the deepest lake that is entirely situated within France and reaches a maximum depth of 145 meters (476 feet). It’s another famous lake in France that was formed during the Last Glacial period on Earth and is surrounded by steep peaks, including the famous “Dent du Chat.”
4. Lac du Mont Cenis
The Lac du Month Cenis isn’t a natural but an artificial lake that was established during the construction of a dam. It’s situated at a pass with the same name near the border with Italy and which marks the boundary between the Cottian and the Graian Alps, just south of the Vanoise National Park.
The lake is situated at an elevation of 2,085 meters (6,841 feet) above sea level and the nearby pas connects the town of Val-Cenis in France with the town of Susa in Italy. The dam was constructed in 1921 and the lake now feeds two hydroelectric power plants in the area.
5. Lac d’Aiguebelette
Lac d’Aiguebelette is located near the town of Aiguebelette-le-Lac in the department of Savoie. It covers an area of 5.45 square kilometers (2.10 square miles) and is relatively deep as well, reaching a maximum depth of 71 meters (233 feet).
The southern end of the lake features two small islands named the “La Petite Ile” and “La Grande Ile.” The largest of the two also features a chapel which adds to the already magnificent surroundings. The mesmerizing landscape attracts a lot of tourists to the lake every year.
6. Lac de Sainte-Croix
The Lake of Sainte-Croix is another artificial lake that was formed during the construction of the Sainte Croix Dam between 1971 and 1974. The lake’s primary inlet is the Verdon River, famous for being the culprit of carving the Verdon Gorge, one of the most amazing canyons in France.
What’s amazing about this particular reservoir is that a small town named Les Salles-sur-Verdon was completely relocated during the construction of the dam. The original village is now completely submerged at the bottom of the lake.
7. Lac de Serre-Ponçon
Lac de Serre-Ponçon is an enormous reservoir that was created during the 1950s with the construction of the “Barrage de Serre-Ponçon,” an enormous dam that stands 123 meters (404 feet) tall. It’s located in the departments of Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in the southeastern part of France.
This artificial lake has a surface area of 28 square kilometers (11 square miles) which makes it one of the largest in Western Europe. While there is one hydroelectrical power plant on the lake itself, it also provides water for 15 other similar facilities in the area.
8. Lac de Genève
Lake Geneva is one of the most famous lakes in Switzerland but also extends into France where it’s called “Lac Léman.” The Swiss area of the lake accounts for 345.31 square kilometers (133.32 square miles), while the French area is 234.71 square kilometers (90.62 square miles).
It’s not only one of the largest lakes n Western Europe but also one of the deepest ones, reaching a maximum depth of 310 meters (1,020 feet). The lake was named after the city located on its banks, Geneva, the second-most populous city in Switzerland.
9. Lac de Gérardmer
Lac de Gérardmer is one of the most famous lakes in France which isn’t located in the southeastern part of the country. It’s situated within the Vosges mountain range in the Grand Est Department in the southeastern part of the country.
The lake covers an area of 1.16 square kilometers (0.45 square miles) and was named after the city with the same name in the eastern part of the lake. Even though it’s relatively small, it’s still the largest natural lake located in the Vosges mountain range.
10. Lac de Melu
Lac de Melu is one of the most famous lakes in France for several reasons. First of all, it’s not located on France’s mainland but on Corsica, an island in the Mediterranean which is one of the 18 regions of the country.
It’s located near the highest peaks on the island at an elevation of 1,710 meters (5,610 feet). This means that the landscape around the lake is quite amazing. Finally, the lake got its name because of the discovery of a bacterium named Polynucleobacter meluiroseus, a type of bacteria that was completely isolated in this lake which covers an area of just 0.065 square kilometers (0.025 square miles).