Cooling down – swimming in our alpine lakes

Serre Chevalier has three swimming lakes. These are man-made, two of which are ‘bio-lakes’. Bathers say they love the pure, natural water and the proximity to nature.

There are currently (2018) only four other bio-lakes in France, one of which is the beautiful Combloux that faces Mont Blanc.

Here we give you details of these lakes and towards the bottom of this post we also include info on lakes nearby Serre Chevalier – sailing anyone?

Plan d’eau Biotope de Serre Chevalier – Villeneuve

New in summer 2014, the Plan d’eau (lake) Biotope in Villeneuve (also known as Plan d’eau biologique de Pontillas) is situated just a minute’s drive from the Route Nationale and has ample parking for everyone, along with a café, supervised beach (July and August) and watersports activities (kayak, rafting) at the nearby Base de Loisirs. Note: bermuda shorts are not permitted.

OPEN: mid June – mid September (10:00 – 19:00 daily)

Adults (13-75 years) 3,10 € each
Children (4-12 years) 2,30 € each
Children under 4 years old FREE

Lac du Pontillas bio-tape
Lac du Pontillas biotope

Base de Loisirs du Lac du Pontillas – Villeneuve

Situated just across from the Plan d’eau Biotope de Serre Chevalier in Villeneuve is the Base de Loisirs with its little beach and supervised swimming area. There is also a play park, skate park, open air theater, kayak and rafting activities (lake accesses the River Guisane) and frequent concerts in summer.

OPEN: all year (lifeguard in July & August only)

FREE access

Base de Loisirs Pontillas
Base de Loisirs Pontillas

Baignade Bio – Chantemerle (Saint Chaffrey)

The Parc des Colombiers is three minutes walk from the Ratier cable car and hub of Chantemerle (Saint Chaffrey) with its shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. It now offers four hectares of redeveloped landscape including the bio-lake, restaurant, bar and outdoor play park for young children. There is underground and outdoor parking and you’ll walk no further than 200 metres.

OPEN: 14 June – 14 September

Detailed opening info:
5 July – 31 August from 10:00 – 19:00 every day
14 June – 4 July and 1-14 September:
Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri 11:00 – 18:00
Wed, Sat & Sun 10:00 – 19:00

Adults 3,50 € each
Children 3 € each

Bio lake Chantemerle Serre Chevalier
Bio lake Chantemerle Serre Chevalier


Plan d’eau de la Roche de Rame

Situated in the Vallée de la Durance, La Roche de Rame is a glacial lake approximately 200 metres long by 100 metres wide. There is a small sandy beach which is perfect for little ones, a supervised swimming area with life guard (July and August only), pedal boats for hire, snack bar, restaurant and little play parks. There is free parking but best to arrive early in July and August!

DRIVE: 25 minutes from Serre Chevalier (direction Gap)
OPEN: all year (lifeguard in July & August)

FREE access

Roche de Rame
Roche de Rame

Plan d’eau d’Embrun

An ideal base for a day by the lake for families with children and teens. Lots of space for relaxing by the water with grass and pebble beaches and pedal boats for hire. For the active amongst us, you can kayak, windsurf, sail, have a go at mini-golf or tennis, and young children can jump around on bouncy castles and in play parks. There are also bars, restaurants and souvenir/beach shops.

DRIVE: 40 minutes from Serre Chevalier (direction Gap)
OPEN: all year but best in June, July and August

FREE access

Plan d
Plan d’Eau Embrun

Lac de Serre Ponçon

One of the largest man-made lakes in Europe, Lac de Serre Ponçon is a truly fascinating destination for a full day on or by the water. Relax on one of its beaches with handy cafés or find your own secluded spot of which there are many. This is a major base in the Hautes Alpes for watersports too; dinghy and yacht sailing, paddle boarding, wind- and kite-surfing, water skiing and more. Or take a trip on a small passenger ferry to see the plunging cliffs that dive into the clear blue water in the Vallée de l’Ubaye.

DRIVE: 60 minutes from Serre Chevalier (direction Gap)
OPEN: all year but best from June – September

FREE access

Lac Serre Ponçon and the Ubaye valley
Lac Serre Ponçon and the Ubaye valley