France lakes and rivers

15 Lakes in France You Won’t Want to Miss (With Photos)

France has so many lakes and rivers that it’s impossible to pinpoint the most beautiful one to visit (France has almost 347 lakes!), as each has its own unique characteristics and personality.

From Verdon Gorge to Lake Annecy in Haute-Savoie, each lake in France you visit will inspire you in different ways.  We have prepared a list of the 15 most beautiful lakes in France for you to get swept away by their beauty.    

Before we start: some of those places are considered more extreme than the others, we will make sure to mention in the headings the extreme places.

If you have any questions we welcome you to join our Facebook community, where we answer everything on your mind. Have a safe trip!

Map of lakes in France

Source: Pinterest

1) Lac du Der

If you’re looking for the most beautiful lakes in France, look no further than Lac du Der.

This Beautiful lake gem is located in the Champagne region of northeastern France and is one of the most beautiful lakes in France.

It is the largest artificial lake in France, covering 48 km² with 350 million m³ of water. The lake is surrounded by forests and is a popular spot for fishing, swimming, hiking, and boating.

There are also several camping sites nearby like Camping La Plage and Camping de “La Presqu’île de Champaubert”, making it the perfect spot for a weekend getaway.

Have you ever seen such a flat and magical place? Photo by Saint-dizier.

2) Lac d’Aiguebelette

Located in the Savoie region, Lac d’Aiguebelette is known for its clear waters which make it perfect for swimming and boating, as well as outdoor dining.

The lake is also surrounded by mountains, making it a beautiful spot to relax and take in the scenery. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Lac d’Aiguebelette is the perfect place to do it.

From my personal experience, because Lac d’Aiguebelette is known as now of the best lakes in France, it’s almost impossible to find a place to park your car, there are several parking lots, but over the summer you might find those places packed with cars.

Lac d’Aiguebelette, is surrounded by beautiful mountains. photo by TripAdvisor.

Lac d’Aiguebelette is truly a magical place. If you’re looking for more magical places in France, here are 6 Magical Places in France to visit.

3) Lac de Sainte-Croix

Nestled in the French Alps, Lac de Sainte-Croix is a beautiful man-made lake in France.

its clear turquoise waters and breathtaking mountain views create an unbelievable experience for every traveler exploring it.

If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy nature in one of the best lakes in France, this is the perfect spot. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy, there are several hiking tracks you can enjoy there, like Verdon Natural Regional Park, swimming in the water, or fish for a rewarding after-swim dish.

Turquoise waters of Sainte Croix, photo by moustiers.

4) Lac du Bourget

Known also as Lac Gris or Lac d’Aix, Lac du Bourget competes for the largest natural lake in France and is located at the southernmost end of the Jura Mountains in the department of Savoie.

It’s a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing, and is also home to a number of rare species of fish. The lake is surrounded by mountains, making it a beautiful spot for hiking, and it even got a 15 km bike path for bicycle riders.

Note that this lake is extremely deep, it is actually the deepest lake in France, so we recommend that you do not stray from the shallows of the lake.

We also recommend that you pack food to sustain yourself because the restaurants are nothing more than ice-cream places.

photo by lebourgetdelac.

5) Lac Noir

Known for its darkish color, Lac noir (Also called Black Lake) is Located in Orbey, in the Haut-Rhin, about twenty kilometers northwest of Colmar.

The lake is positioned in the heart of a granite cove at 935 m altitude, surrounded by beautiful green fields on top of mountains.

With its beautiful scenery, Lac Noir has become one of the best lakes in France to travel to and the most popular tourist destination near Colmar. Lac Noir is actually connected to a bigger lake named Lac Blanc, and together they serve as a power plant!

The area is filled with viewpoints and hiking tracks, making it a beautiful choice for every traveler seeking adventure in France.

Surrounded by forests, this is truly an amazing natural place. photo by Tourisme-Colmar.

6) Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy is not only a place to swim but also to enjoy water sports over stunning clear waters and mountain views, which makes it a (very) popular destination for tourists and local people.

The lake is also filled with ancient history, at its north end, for example, Annecy has a medieval old town with canals and bridges.

Lake Annecy is simply spectacular and one of France’s best lakes to explore.

For more information about the water sports and other activities in the lake, check the official website of the lake.

Okay, this picture has gone through a lot of coloring, and still, it’s a must-visit. Photo by: Trip.

7) Gorges du Loup (Extreme)

The Gorges du Loup is a unique narrow river canyon located in the Provence area in France, Alpes-Maritimes, Southeastern France.
Known for its waterfalls, crystal clear water, and lush greenery, Gorges du Loup can truly be a gem for those who seek a true challenging nature experience.

Whitewater sports, canyoning, aquatic hiking, or rafting are just some of the challenging sports you can do on the river. Its also surrounded by medieval villages with incredible panoramic views of the coast and of Provence’s forests.

You see what we mean by extreme. Photo by viree-malin

8) Verdon Gorge (Extreme)

Carved out by the Verdon River over millions of years, this gorgeous gorge is among the most unique places in France, and one of the best lakes in France, especially for thrill-seekers.

The vivid turquoise waters are a perfect backdrop for a day of hiking or kayaking. For the best views, take a boat ride or hike to the top of the gorge.

If you happen to be a rock climber, The limestone walls are considered an outstanding destination for multi-pitch climbing, with 1,500 routes available ranging from 20 meters to over 400 meters.  Though it’s extreme, just make sure you have the best climbing sticks and you’ll be fine. 

My personal favorite. Photo by: Kimkim.

9) Lac de Gérardmer

Lac de Gerardmer is the largest lake in the Vosges Mountains. Horse riding, sailing, canoeing, and biking are just some of the things to do in the area.

The lake is accessible by excellent facilities and well-groomed trails for your safety, enabling you to enjoy nature to the fullest.

The lakeside town of Gérardmer is a favorite tourist destination year-round, as well as during the ski season. This town also has a good choice of hotels and restaurants.

Bigger than it looks. Photo by TripAdvisor.

10) Lac de Genève

The Lac de Genève is Central Europe’s largest lake, spanning both France and Switzerland.

Slightly more than half of Lake Geneva is in Swiss territory, with the beautiful and cosmopolitan city of Geneva located beside the lake.

On the French side, delightful towns and villages line the waterfront. Sitting on top of Lac de Geneve is Yvoire, a beautiful and magical village renowned for its attractive port, a stately medieval castle and garden, wisteria-trimmed alleyways, and old stone houses with flower-bedecked balconies.

One half is France, the other is Switzerland. Photo by l’internaute.

11) Lac du Salagou

Lac du Salagou is a beautiful, secluded lake located in the Hérault department of southern France.

The lake is surrounded by red cliffs, making it a popular spot for hiking and rock climbing. Lac du Salagou is also home to a number of rare plant and animal species, making it a great place for nature lovers.

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, this is the perfect spot. It’s possible to rent kayaks and paddle boats at the edge of the lake or spend some time exploring on foot.

There are numerous campgrounds around Lac du Salagou as well if you want to make a weekend out of your trip!

Lac du Salagou

12) Gaube Lake

Tucked away in the French Pyrenees, Gaube Lake is a beautiful lake in France and a hidden gem indeed.

This alpine lake is known for its clear blue waters and breathtaking views. Whether you’re looking to relax or explore, Gaube Lake is the perfect spot for a summer getaway.

Here are some of the best things to do at Gaube Lake kayak through the crystal-clear water, take an afternoon stroll on one of the lakeside trails, explore nearby Valensole to see beautiful examples of Provençal architecture from centuries ago, take a day trip to visit other nearby lakes such as Le Sautet Lake.

Gaube Lake

13) Capitello Lake

One of the most beautiful lakes in France is Capitello Lake.

This lake is located in Haute-Corse, France, which is situated in the Hautes-Alpes region of southeastern France.

The lake is fed by several rivers, including the Durance and Verdon, and it offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can enjoy activities such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, and hiking. There are also several restaurants and cafes located near the lake.

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, then this might be a good destination for you!

Source: Flicker

14) Lac du Mont Cenis

Lac du Mont Cenis is a beautiful glacial lake located in the French Alps.

The lake is surrounded by mountains and forests, making it a popular spot for hiking and nature lovers and a home to a variety of wildlife, including ducks, geese, and swans.

This beautiful lake is only 19 minutes away from the famous fort da variselle, which has a panoramic view over one of the most beautiful lakes in France.

If you’re looking for a breathtaking view, Lac du Mont Cenis is definitely worth a visit!

Fort da variselle. Source: Flicker.

15) Lac de Serre-Poncon

Lac de Serre-Poncon is a large, man-made lake located in the southeastern part of France.

The lake is popular for its crystal clear water and stunning mountain views. Visitors can enjoy activities such as swimming, canoeing, and windsurfing. Lac de Serre-Poncon is also a great place to relax and take in the scenery.

Whether you’re looking for an active vacation or a place to unwind, Lac de Serre-Poncon is sure to please.

Lac de Serre-Poncon. Boat sailing.

We truly hope you get to visit some of the suggestions above about the best lakes in france, you surely be amazed by the size and the views of those places.

We wish you happy and safe traveling and we are eager to hear about your experiences in our Facebook community. By the way, although the water can get really cold, these places are just breathtaking in wintertime.




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