Lake Vassiviere, Haute-Vienne: visitors guide

Photo of Lake Vassiviere (Limousin region)

Visit Lake Vassiviere, France

Vassivière Lake is towards the east of the Haute-Vienne department, north-east of Eymoutiers and on the border with the Creuse department. It falls within the Regional Natural Park of Millevaches en Limousin.

A man-made lake covering almost 10 square kilometres and at an altitude of 650 metres, Vassiviere was created in 1950 when a dam was constructed and it is now the largest lake in the Limousin region and one of the largest artificial lakes in France.

The natural environment around the lake attracts many visitors and largely consists of forests and peat bogs, with trails to follow when exploring. There is also a scenic road that passes all the way around the lake.

Note: in 1995 a stage of the Tour de France was a time-trial that followed the 46 kilometre road around the lake.

Exploring Vassivière Lake

It is of course the leisure opportunities and scenery around the lake that are of interest to visitors, and the edges of the lake are now quite a developed tourist facility with holiday villages, ports and several beaches with lifeguard supervision to enjoy. The most important of these is Beaumont-du-Lac.

As well as the beaches, popular activities on Vassiviere include boating, wind-surfing, fishing, canoeing and pedalos among others.

There is also a very well maintained footpath around 30 kilometres of the edges of the lake which is ideal for walking and cycling, and free boat taxis across the water between the centres at Auphelle, l’Ile de Vassivière, Masgrangeas and Broussas to help you explore.

The more active visitor will enjoy the accro-branches (treetop) adventures at the Parc d'Arbre en Arbre at Broussas, golf or perhaps the ski region at Pigerolles if you are visiting during the winter. By contrast, to relax you can also take a mini-cruise around the lake, with a romantic lunch or dinner also possible on the cruiser.

In the centre of the lake a large island, the Ile de Vassiviere, is reached by a footbridge. The island is best known as a centre for contemporary art - the Centre International d'Art et du Paysage - and includes a substantial sculpture park that includes a wide range of works both temporary and permanent. Each year the island plays host to exhibits by leading contemporary artists.

As a change from the leisure offered by the lake itself we also suggest you explore some of the small traditional villages in the immediate vicinity of Vassevière such as Beaumont-du-Lac, Gentioux-Pigerolles, Peyrat-le-Chateau, Saint-Martin-Chateau and Royère-de-Vassivière.

None takes very long to explore but each has its own attractions and sites of interest and together they add significantly to the interest of a stay at the lake.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Haute-Vienne guide and the Limousin guide.

See also:

Map of Lake Vassiviere and places nearby

Visit near Lake Vassiviere with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Haute-Vienne

Plan your visit to Lake Vassiviere, Haute-Vienne

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

The French version of this page is at Lake Vassiviere (Francais)