PROTECTED NATURE RESERVE
At an altitude of 360 m, Lake Aiguebelette is, as Henry Bordeaux wrote,
an emerald jewel encircled by mountains.
The beautiful, triangular stretch of water is dotted with two small islands to the south.
Part of the Natura 2000 European biodiversity network, the lake boasts a remarkable ecosystem as well as protected conservation areas.
The Lake Aiguebelette regional nature reserve covers over 800 hectares and was granted protected status in 2015.
Did you know? Aiguebelette means beautiful little waters.
PEACE AND TRANQUILITY
Motorboats are forbidden on the lake, which is known for its stunning emerald green colour.
SWIMMING AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES
Aiguebelette is one of France’s warmest natural lakes: in summer, the water temperature can reach 28°C!
To protect the site, swimming is only permitted in marked areas, and motor boating is prohibited.
Lake Aiguebelette is sheltered from the wind by Mount Epine and characterised by unusually still waters. This makes it the perfect spot for rowing, as demonstrated by the presence of an international rowing club, where many athletes regularly come to train. Indeed, the World Rowing Championships have twice been hosted here, in 1997 and 2015.
The diversity of the lake's fish stock is attributable to its burgeoning ecosystem. Lavaret whitefish are one of the lake’s culinary specialities. They are caught using a typical Alpine technique known as gamba fishing (a hand line to which ten hooks are attached).
A sought-after spot for hang-gliding, the site has take-off zones in the Epine mountain range and a single landing strip in Marais.
For mountain bikers (electric or otherwise) and scooter riders, a network of marked paths criss-crosses the lake’s surrounding area. A paved cycle path welcomes bike tourers looking to take a lakeside tour.
The lake has attracted many tourists since the beginning of the 20th century. The lakeside villas and the boathouses, which are not to be found elsewhere in the French Alps, testify to the lake's popularity. Why not head to the Maison du Lac to take a stroll and discover the temporary exhibitions? Local crafts are also prevalent. In Nances, you’ll find the Francépoque doll workshop, bursting at the seams with china dolls in traditional and historical dress. At the Rougy tannery you can learn about the expertise which has been handed down from generation to generation. A little further afield, in Saint-Genix sur Guiers, the local museum explains the legend of France’s very own Robin Hood, Louis Mandrin.
Cultural visits around the lake
WALKS AROUND THE LAK
There are many different marked footpaths that can be used all year round to explore the vicinity of the lake, taking in local history and superb panoramic views on the way.
Family walks offer a great combination of history and nature. The ruins of Montbel castle, Louis Mandrin's hideout and the Sougey discovery trail should not be missed. There are also other, more physically demanding routes up to Mont Grêle and the Epine mountain range.
Alternatively, you can take the old Sardinian and Roman roads up to two mountain passes: Saint-Michel and Crucifix. Enjoy the panoramic views of Chambéry, the southern part of Lake Bourget, les Bauges mountain range and Lake Aiguebelette along the way.