Lake Serre-Poncon, Hautes-Alpes: visitors guide
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The Lac de Serre-Poncon in the Alps is one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe, and surrounded by hills and mountains from which you can get stunning views over the lake. The lake is on the border between two departments; the Hautes-Alpes and the Alpes-de-Haut-Provence.
Explore the Lake Serre-Poncon
The Lac de Serre-Poncon is a huge lake which is fed by the river Durance and the river Ubaye. Much of the lake is in the Hautes-Alpes department and the lake-side villages are excellent bases for lots of water sports.
The section of the lake jutting out to the Ubaye valley in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department is more rugged with walls of rock dropping steeply into the water, resembling the rugged coastline of Corsica.
There is a road running along the southern edge of the lake from Embrun towards Barcelonnette which offers some absolutely fabulous views of these two different parts of the lake so if you have the opportunity be sure to do this drive. For those of you with motorhomes there are lots of small parking areas which would make fabulous overnight stops.
At the western edge of the lake you an see the barrage (dam) which you can also visit if you want. Near to here at Rousset there is a view point which gives some stunning views over the lake. The nearby 'Museoscope du Lac' is a museum providing information about the building of the dam which is the biggest in Europe.
The village of Savines-le-Lac, about half way round the Lake de Serre-Poncon on the southern side, is one of the main centres for water-sports on the lake. You can take a boat tour from here around the lake or you can try sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing or wake-boarding.
The villages of Crots and Chorges also offer various water-related activities.
Savines-le-lac is in fact a re-creation of the village of Savines that was flooded to create the lake. You can still see its church, la Chapelle Saint Michel, which once sat above the village on a hill-top and now sits on a small island in the lake.
Embrun on the eastern edge of the lake sits on the hillside above the lake and is a good size if you are looking for bars, restaurants or a few shops - it is an attractive small town worthy of a visit.
Places to visit nearby
Just north of the Lake de Serre-Poncon you can visit the fortress-village of Mont-Dauphin designed by France's famous military architect Vauban. As well as seeing the fortress, a UNESCO site as one of Vauban's military buildings, the mountain views are stupendous.
Map of Lake Serre-Poncon and places nearby
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Lac de Serre-Poncon: site of natural beauty
- Domaine de Charance: remarkable garden (24 km)
- Source - Verdon: site of natural beauty (27 km)
- Mont-Dauphin place forte (Vauban fortifications): heritage site (28 km)
- Place Forte de Mont-Dauphin: national monument (28 km)
- Poligny: town of art and history (31 km)
- Col d'Allos: site of natural beauty (31 km)
The French version of this page is at Lake Serre-Poncon (Francais)