🏔 Au Pays du Mont-Blanc we are lucky to have 💦 several swimming lakes with stunning mountain views . . . while the perfect spot for strolling and biking in autumn and winter, come the balmy days of spring and summer, the water warms and the lakes start to get busy with bathers and ⛵️ watersport enthusiasts (at Lac de Passy and Lacs des Ilettes: windsurfing, paddle boarding, SUP yoga, sailing, pedalos). We are also spoiled with 🏔 natural mountain lakes (ideal for a hike or an iconic snowy mountain reflection photo) and 🎣 some fishing lakes too.
Further afield (but not too far away) in 🇫🇷 Haute-Savoie & Savoie 🇨🇭 in Switzerland, and in 🇮🇹 Italy are more swimming lakes, some with 🏖 lovely sandy beaches.
In this article, you will find information about:
- 💦 swimming & watersport lakes;
- 🎣 fishing lakes;
- 🏔 mountain lakes at altitude (a full article to come soon!);
For more information about swimming pools, larger aquatic complexes with slides and family-friendly spas, see separate article💦 SUMMER SPLASH . . .
COLOUR CODE FOR LISTINGS:
Chamonix Valley (Chamonix, Argentière, Les Houches, Servoz & environs) and Vallorcine
Passy, Plaine-Joux, Plateau d’Assy & environs
Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon & Domancy
St Gervais, Le Fayet, St Nicolas de Véroce, Bionnassay & environs
Megève, Praz-sur-Arly & environs
Les Contamines-Montjoie & environs
🇫🇷 Further France 🇫🇷
🇨🇭 Switzerland 🇨🇭
🇮🇹 Italy 🇮🇹
PAYS du MONT-BLANC
Lac de Passy
💦 Lac de Passy – officially know as a base de loisirs – has plenty of 💦 water-based activities on offer for the whole family: stand up paddle (SUP), 🚣♂️ pedalos, 🌈 wibit softplay ON the lake, aquabike, ⛵️ mini electric boats, pontoons at the criques end of the lake, ⛵️ sporadic sailing lessons . . . as well as 🚵♀️ a VTT parcours ludique, 🌈 playgrounds, pétanque, 🏐 volleyball, ⛳️mini-golf, 🛴 electric trottinettes, 🏎 mini-karting nearby . . . / ☕️ eating options: picnics, BBQs (in place on-site), La Buvette des Criques, La Buvette de la Plage, Restaurant Passy’O (Camping des Iles), Mont-Blanc Plage (see below), L’Ecureuil (renovated campsite restaurant, a short walk away), La Grange de Domancy (a short walk away, through the woods) / see MBFF article for more information about what’s on offer at Lac de Passy;
🏊♂️ yearly events at Lac de Passy in the spring and summer:
- 🚵♀️ late May – Rando VTT Dré dans L’Darbon – see here;
- 🏊♂️ July – La Traversée du Lac;
- 🏊♂️🚵♀️🏃♂️ August – Mont-Blanc Triathlon;
Mont-Blanc Plage (Lac de la Cavettaz, next to Lac de Passy)
The 🏕 campsite Mont-Blanc Plage (right next to 💦 Lac de Passy) has a lovely terraced restaurant, decorated with pots of flowers, that looks out over its own private lake (with 45 year old carp, the odd duck, and beautiful water-lilies) . . . if you eat lunch or dinner at the restaurant, then you are allowed to swim in the lake – there is a slide, a diving board and rafts to swim out to. There is a jaded grandeur to this campsite and the restaurant is very tranquil. And there is the added bonus of having a swim, a jump or a slide after eating!
Lacs des Ilettes (Sallanches)
💦 Lacs des Ilettes are located in Saint-Martin, in Sallanches, and there are 3 lakes, each offering: 🏊♂️ swimming, 🎣 fishing or ⛵️ windsurfing (you must bring your own equipment) / other activities: 🏓 ping-pong tables, 🏐 volleyball, parcours forme, 🚵♀️VTT paths, walks (to Cascade d’Arpenaz), 🌈 bouncy castles from Le Parc en Folie during the warmer months / ☕️ eating options: picnic tables & Le Transat restaurant (swimming beach) / see MBFF article for more details;
Plan d’Eau Biotope (Combloux)
The 💦 Plan d’Eau Biotope in Combloux is a unique mountain lake with 🏔 stunning views: the water is purified by 🌱 plants, so there is no need for chemicals! / activities around the lake in summer: 🧘♀️ yoga, pilates, Tai Chi and more / 🎼 spectacles in the summer: « PianO au Lac » and « Dance sur L’O » (July and August) / ☕️ eating options: picnics (on blankets) or at tables in adventure playground just above, and Le Dandy restaurant on-site / see MBFF article for more details;
New Plan d’Eau planned for 2020 (Praz-sur-Arly)
Praz-sur-Arly is planning a 💦 new plan d’eau near the Base de Loisirs des Belles / for more information, read an article from Praz-sur-Arly Mairie here.
Lac de Baignade in Le Parc de Loisirs du Pontet (Les Contamines-Montjoie)
In the summertime, there is lots of fun to be had at the 🏊♀️ Parc Patrice Dominguez (Parc du Pontet) in Les Contamines-Montjoie (🎾 tennis, ⛳️ mini-golf, 🏹 archery, donkeys and pony rides, 🌈 trampolines & bouncy castles, 💦 water games, 🏎karting and more; see here for more details) / within the park there is the water 💦 lac de baignade, a small artificial lake with sand and grassy areas for picnics (and an inflatable slide leading into the water) and a separate lake for pedalos paddle boarding / 🧘♀️ yoga and fitness classes available during the summer holidays / ☕️ eating options: picnics, buvette and the Le Chalet du Lac / see here for more details;
Lac de l’Etape (Les Contamines-Montjoie)
A visit to the small 💦 Lac de l’Etape in Les Contamines-Montjoie is such a bucolic visit en famille . . . you can either hike up there with older children (or take a 4×4 for non-walkers), or you can take the 🚡 Télécabine de la Gorge (this is exciting in itself for little ones; opening hours) / once there, children can paddle or 🏊♂️ swim in the lake, play with pebbles, take out the mini boats, play in the playgrounds . . . and adults can relax with a cold beer on the terrace of the restaurant, right next to the lake! / there are options for more hikes from here (for example, you can take the 🚡Télécabine du Signal and then hike to the Auberge de la Roselette, via the Col du Joly) / good to know – if you stay overnight at the Hôtel Bar Restaurant de l’Etape, then you can take the 🚡Télécabine de la Gorge for free! / the MBFF experience: back in 2015, we had an overnight & dinner in the Hôtel Bar Restaurant de l’Etape – it was our luxurious take on a refuge en famille (we weren’t quite ready for dortoirs, being still quite sleep deprived with an 18 month old in tow!) / a visit to this small lake can also combine nicely with the activites on offer in the 🌈 Parc de Loisirs du Pontet, or a little overnight camp at ⛺️ the campsite Camping le Pontet!
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🇫🇷 FURTHER AFIELD LAKES & WATERSPORTS: FRANCE 🇫🇷
Plan d’Eau de l’Arrondine (Flumet)
In Flumet, just past Praz-sur-Arly, is the 💦 Plan d’Eau et base de loisirs de l’Arrondine, a lovely little mountain lake! / we have really enjoyed our visits to this little lake, located below the village of Flumet, as it is the perfect size to keep an eye on little ones, with a lifeguard cordoned-off area / other amenites: two buvettes (one either end of the lake), ⛱ a sand-pit and a playground nearby / our last visit took place for the « Fête du Plan d’Eau » (end of July), which was so much fun with: a waterslide leading into the lake, mini boats, water games, spectacles;
TNA Cable Park (Arenthon)
You may have seen 💦 TNA cable park on a drive to Geneva or Annemasse, etc . . . from 🏔 le Pays du Mont-Blanc . . . at this small lake, you can try out wakeboarding, water-skiing (on a cable), or their new wibit watergames (Aquaparc de Savoie)! / ☕️eating options: buvette, BBQs / website;
🇫🇷 Lac de Montriond (Montriond) 🇫🇷
Set below huge cliffs in Montriond, and also know as the lac vert, is the 💦 Lac de Montriond / there are buvettes and restaurants at both ends of the lake / lots of walks in the vicinity of the lake, like to 💦 the Cascade d’Ardent and buggy walk / ☀️ base de loisirs in summertime at beach end of lake: special family swimming lake, playground, pony rides, 🎣 fishing, kayaks to rent / 🌟 NEW 2020 – Parc Activity, with ⛳️ mini-golf, inflatables to hire and bubble football! / in wintertime, you can practise ❄️ ice diving here! / the Bout du Lac end of the lake is calmer, with picnic tables and a restaurant / good to know: proximity to the goat village Les Lindarets!
Le Lac des Ecoles (Les Gets)
💦 Les Gets’ Lac des Ecoles has 🌈 a wibit softplay (pay at caisse to validate créneau horaire to access; for children 6+ years) / there is an entrance fee to access / opening hours: from mid-June until early September, 11h to 20h / website;
If you would like to try 🌊 wake-boarding or water-skiing (led from a boat, rather than the roped version of TNA Cable Park or Wam Park Savoie), ⛵️ sailing or 🚤 to hire out a small motor-boat, then you will need to head to the larger lakes of 💦 Lac d’Annecy, 💦 Lac du Bourget or 💦 Lac Léman . . .
💦 Lac d’Annecy is 14,6 km long, and is the second largest glacial lake in France (after 💦 Lac du Bourget). It is considered one of the cleanest lakes in France and the average temperature of the water in July is 22°C. Not far from the 🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc, it is a popular spot for a day out. There are 🏖 plenty of beaches, lakeside walks and water sports to enjoy all around the beautiful lake; here are Lac d’ Annecy Tourisme’s suggestions for family beaches;
🏖 la Plage Impérial (Annecy) – ” waterslide, diving boards of different heights, playground, trampolines, volleyball courts, paddling pool for little ones (with lake water), restaurant, grassy area / central to Annecy / entrance to pay “;
🏖 Le Pâquier – if you are in the Old Town of Annecy, and fancy taking out a pedalo or small motor boat, head to Le Pâquier pontoon / reservations;
🏖 Veyrier-du-Lac – ” great with kids (paddling pool), but can be difficult to park “;
🏖 Menthon-Saint-Bernard – Mummy in the Mountains: ” Beautiful beach, with lots of shaded areas under the trees to set up camp with little ones. There is a small enclosed swimming area which is perfect for them to explore, under supervision. It’s pebbly, so little jelly shoes may be handy / facilities: there is also a small play area with a slide (in sun, gets very hot!) and merry-go-round / parking free / eating options: restaurant at th port “/ good to know: ” also worth mentioning for parents with babies or active toddlers – it’s a nice flat walk down to the port, which is great for settling babies or tiring out youngsters on bikes and scooters ” / good to know: you can also visit 🏰 the castle!
🏖 Talloires – especially favoured by Mummy in the Mountains: ” views & location are hard to beat: picturesque village, Acro-Aventures Talloires (accrobranches) up above, and plentiful walks! / ⛱ beach facilities: small diving board, waterslide, platform to swim out to, volleyball, paddling pool / entrance to pay in summer / eating options: picnics on the grass (plenty of shade), snack bar on-site (pizzas, ice creams) & the restaurant Le Savoyarde, overlooking the beach / FREE parking (though busy in summer)” / good to know: beautiful nearby hike to ⛰ Roc de Chère;
🏖 Angon – Mummy in the Mountains: ” great with kids & a bit quieter and less well known ” / good to know: nearby hike to 💦Cascade d’Angon;
🏖 Doussard – at the bottom end of the lake / ⛱ sandy beach and lovely restaurant / super walk for families nearby in the 🌱Réserve Naturelle Bout du Lac;
🏖 Saint-Jorioz – 🏖 white sand beach and diving board / the fabulous walk 🌱 Saint-Jorioz’s sentier thémathique les roselières;
[ ⛰good to know: are superb walks to enjoy en famille around the lake: Le Roc de Chère nature reserve, 💦 La Cascade d’Angon, 🌱 Doussard’s nature reserve and 🌱 Saint-Jorioz’s sentier thémathique les roselières ]
🎨 summer exhibitions to enjoy around Lac d’Annecy:
- « Annecy Paysages » – from July until early September . . . stroll through lovely Annecy, and take in some beautiful ephemeral art / see this video for a taster visit! / website / FB page;
- « Le Festival des Cabanes » (Les Sources du Lac d’Annecy) – annually from July until November, the « Festival des Cabanes » is a festival of architecture (specifically huts!), set across 7 communes: Chevaline, Val de chaise, Doussard, Giez, Lathuile, Saint-Ferréol et Faverges & Seythenex / 12 orignial cabanes in 12 magical locations / website;
With 🏖 beaches in both 🇫🇷 France 🇨🇭 and in Switzerland, there are plenty spots for swimming on 💦 Lac Léman / for a full list of beaches around 💦 Lac Léman, see here / some suggestions in France:
🇫🇷🏖 Excenevex (France) – near Yvoire, you get a sense of being by the sea at this 🏖sandy beach / playground and pedalos available / see here for more details / for access to a smaller, private beach, you could eat at the Hotel de la Plage / other restaurants: Restaurant le Vent des Sables and Guinguette de la Plage / there are also ⛺️ some campsites here, if you choose to spend the night: ⛺️ Camping La Pinède and ⛺️ La Pourvoie des Elandes;
🇫🇷 Yvoire and Nernier – are both pretty medieval lakeside villages, and worth a visit in their own right for a wander and to eat some fresh perches. You can also find spots 🏊♂️ to swim, off the rocks in Yvoire, and off a pebbly beach in Nernier! Nernier is lesser known than Yvoire, and so it remains a quieter spot to visit. Both villages are close to 🏖 Excenevex, so you could combine a village visit and beach visit!
WAM Park Savoie (Montailleur, near Albertville)
There are now a handful of 🌊 WAM Parks in France (the others are in: Toulouse and Lyon), and this 💦 water fun specialist describes itself as: « mieux qu’un WAKEPARK . . . un WAMPARK! ». A 🌊 wake park has a téléski nautique installation, allowing you to practise water-skiing or wakeboarding on a lake (the traction, instead of being from a boat, is through a system of cables and an electric motor – think téléski de neige!). / At 🌊 WAMPark Montailleur, there are twotéléskis nautiques (one big, one small), 🌈 watergames, 🌈 a waterjump with 13 slides, and 🧗♂️ a climbing wall on the water (psicobloc) / onsite, you will also find a buvette, paddle boards to rent and 🏝 a “floating island“, diving gear, hiking around the lake, and a large trampoline and slackline / open from mid April until Novbember! / FB page and website / address: Base de Loisirs Montailleur, 73460, Montailleur;
Lac du Bourget
💦 Lac du Bourget (on which Aix-les-Bains sits), though not far away from the 🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc, gives one a total sense of dépaysement once there. It is the largest and deepest glacial lake located entirely in France: 18km long, 1,6km to 3,5km wide and an average of 85m deep (145m at its deepest). Legend has it that it was formed by the tears of an angel when God told it to leave the Alps. There are plenty of great beaches for family swimming; see here for some recommended beaches / ⛵️ watersports: sailing (16 ports de plaisance around lake), rowing, canoë-kayak, fishing, diving, water-skiing and wakeboarding / there is also Aqualac, with a beach, swimming pool, paddling pool, wibit (see here) / MBFF’s experience: a few years ago, with a 3 year old and small baby in tow (our then baby lounged on a rug in the shade!), MBFF spent a day at 🏖 Plage de la Chatière, Conjux, on the north-western side of the lake. This area is referred to as the Côte Sauvage, and it really does have an off-the-beaten-track feel to it (another recommended beach on this side, though only accessible by boat, is 🏖 Plage des Meuniers) / good to know – 💦 le canal de Savière meanders for about 4km from the Rhône at Chanaz down to Portout on 💦 Lac du Bourget; it is picturesque and you can hire boats / good to know – not too far away from Conjux is ⛪️ Abbaye d’Hautecombe;
Les Îles du Chéran (Parc des Bauges)
We hiked past this base de loisirs on our recent weekend in the Massif des Bauges, and it looked fun! On offer, you’ll find: swimming on the fully equipped beach, awater slide with 3 tracks, a fun paddling pool, acro-bungy jumping, 🌊 cable skiing, electric mini-quads, tennis courts, lawn bowling, a multi-sports field . . . another lake for 🎣 fishing, another for walks . . . and not far from the Cascade du Pissieu . . . and 💦the Chéran river for wading and fishing! Beautiful!
address: Les Iles du Chéran, 73340, LESCHERAINES;
Lac d’Aiguebelette (near Chambéry)
I am eager to take the family camping at 💦 Lac d’Aiguebelette (to the west of Chambéry) as I have heard such lovely reports! / there are 9 swimming beaches; see here for more details;
Lac de Monteynard (Isère)
Located only 25 minutes from Grenoble, is located the 20km long 💦 Lac de Monteynard, a great spot for windsurfing and kite-surfing, catamaran, canoë-kayak, waterskiing and wakeboarding! / it emerged from the building of an EDF dam in 1962 / la base nautique de Treffort: a paddling area and waterslide / 🌉 impressive bridges: Brac and Enron; see here for more details;
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🇨🇭 FURTHER AFIELD LAKES & WATERSPORTS: SWITZERLAND 🇨🇭
Apart from 🏖 Baby Plage, all of these swimming areas have a small entrance fee:
🏖 Baby Plage (Quai Gustave-Ador, Geneva) – located in in Eaux-Vives, near the 🌹Parc de la Grange, this is the only FREE public beach in Geneva / 🌈 there is a play area for children / 🏖 sandy beach and grass / this whole section of the lake is being renovated / more information here;
🏖 NEW Eaux-Vives beach – new for this summer 2019, a pebble beach (extension from sandy 🏖 Baby Plage) / restaurant planned for a later date . . .
🏖 Les Bains des Pâquis (Quai du Mont-Blanc, Geneva) – a vertitable institution in Geneva, a site with history: a concrete jetty with slide, diving boards, beach-volley, tyrolienne, climbing wall on the water, stand-up paddle / website;
🏖 Genève-Plage (Quai de Cologny, Geneva) – with 🏊♂️ lake swimming and swimming pools, slide (9m high), diving pool, parcours aquatique de jeux gonflables / lots of sport on offer: 🏓 table tennis, 🏐 beach-volley, pétanque, diving, 🌊 waterskiing & wakeboard, flyboard, stand-up paddle . . . / 🥗 restaurant & terrace / and 💦 spa Bain-Bleu Hammam & Spa;
🏖 Hermance Plage (Hermance) – in the medieval village of Hermance, on Franco-Swiss border / playground, grassy area and shade, buvette;
🏖 Plage de la Nymphe (Collonge-Bellerive) – grassy areas, playground, beautiful view of Geneva and Jet d’Eau;
MBFF has also visited 🏖 sandy beaches around the towns of Nyon, Rolle and Morges. A visit to one of these super towns combines well with a beach visit;
🖼 current exhibition at Musée du Léman & Aquarium in Nyon: an exhibition 🌊 « Un Tsunami sur le Léman », about the 🌊 Tsunami on Lac Léman in the 6th century.
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🇮🇹 FURTHER AFIELD LAKES & WATERSPORTS: ITALY 🇮🇹
You have plenty of super options for 💦 lake swimming across the border in Italy, which makes it an ideal location for a weekend away! Starting with the closest swimming lake to the Tunnel de Mont-Blanc:
Lago de Viverone
Only about 1.5 hours from Courmayeur, just after Ivrea, is 💦 Lago de Viverone / MBFF has now been to this lake several times – we went to a wedding here one summer and stayed overnight (and got really stung by mosquitoes, so think to pack repellent!) / there are ⛺️ campsites and plentiful hotels and B&Bs dotted around the lake, as well as super restaurants (many with playgrounds!);
And a bit further afield in Italy (but still within driving distance for a weekend away!), you have several options:
A lovely lake, with a small island – Isola San Giulio – located just across from the beautiful town of Orta San Giulio / highly recommended;
We have been to lots of different villages and town around 💦 Lago Maggiore, and it never fails us as a destination – great places to stay, wonderful food . . . / MBFF recommends visits to: Isole Borromee by boat from Stresa (Isola Bella and palazzo and gardens and Isola dei Pescatori), Parco Pallavicino for gardens and animal park, botanical gardens at Villa Taranto Giardini Botanici / 💦 Lago Maggiore’s north-eastern corner extends into 🇨🇭 Switzerland, with Locarno to visit;
A small lake just north of Lago Maggiore, the small town of Mergozzo is worth a visit;
Lago di Varese
With beautiful snow-capped mountains in the background . . .
Lago di Lugano
A small section of this mainly 🇨🇭 Swiss lake is located in 🇮🇹 Italy.
Lago di Como
This 💦 iconic Italian lake has some lovely old palaces and gardens to visit . . .
You are allowed to 🎣 fish in sections of some of the swimming lakes au Pays du Mont-Blanc and further afield, and there are also small lakes reserved for the sport. Here are the lakes where fishing is possible (au Pays du Mont-Blanc and just a little further afield):
- 🎣 Chamonix: Lac des Gaillands & Lac à l’Anglais; Lac Cornu (2276m high);
- 🎣 Les Houches: Lac des Chavants;
- 🎣 Passy: Lac de Passy (trout, perch) and Lac Vert;
- 🎣 Sallanches: Lacs des Ilettes (two of the lakes is reserved for fishing);
- 🎣 Saint-Gervais: Lac du Vivier (newly set-up for fishing and picnics & BBQs);
- 🎣 Le Fayet: Lac à Gannaz (next to l’Arve);
- 🎣 Megève: Lac Javen (here, you can rent out equipment and even BBQ your catch on Wednesdays during the summer months!);
- 🎣 Praz-sur-Arly – Lac des Evettes;
- 🎣 Les Contamines-Montjoie (Parc de Loisirs du Pontet) – Lac de Pêche du Pontet (before 10h and after 19h);
- 🎣 Samoëns: Base de Loisirs Lacs des Dames is made up of two lakes, just outside the village (10 hectares) / activities: swimming pools (entrance fee), strolling, fishing, playground, golf range (into lake!); terrains de sport, tennis, parcours aventure, pétanque, buvette . . . / open every day until September / website;
NB – fishing in all of France requires a permit (available from Tourist Offices) or you can book to go with a guide / for more information about fishing in Haute-Savoie see here.
There are many 💦 beautiful high altitude mountain lakes accessible on family hikes 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, some more accessible than others. There will be an article to follow on mountain lakes to be discovered on hikes, but for now, here are some suggestions for magnificent lakes:
- 🏔 Chamonix: Lac Blanc, Lacs des Cheserys, Lac Cornu, Lacs Noirs, Lac du Brévent, Lac Bleu;
- 🏔 Passy: Lac Vert (Plaine-Joux), Lac de Pormenaz and Lac d’Anterne;
- 🏔 Les Contamines-Montjoie (Notre-Dame-de-la-Gorge): Lacs Jovets & Lac d’Armancette;
- 🇨🇭🏔 Switzerland: Barrage d’Emosson (dam), le Vieux Emosson (old dam) and Barberine;