Lake Annecy (Lac du Bourget)
|44.5 sq km
The Lake Bourget (Lac du Bourget) is a lake in the Savoie department of France. It is the largest and the deepest lake in France.
The most famous town on its shore is Aix-les-Bains. Chambery, the prefecture of Savoie, is located 10 km south of the lake. The lake gets its name from the town Le Bourget-du-Lac, on its south shore. It is, for the most part, fed by the river Leysse and other minor rivers. It drains in the direction of the river Rhone through the canal de Savieres, an artificial channel. It is also a Ramsar site (international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wetlands).
Lake Bourget Navigation
Cruises start at Le Bourget-du-Lac or Aix-les-Bains and are provided during the summer by private navigation companies. Recreational boats and sports are undertaken from numerous ports all around the lake. You have to be careful about La Traverse though, which is a thermal wind blowing unpredictably and sometimes violently on the southern shores of the lake. The westerly wind passes over the Chat Mountain at the end of the afternoon and crosses the lake, trapping windsurfers and sailors.
There are numerous ports on Lake Bourget:
- Aix-les-Bains: le Grand Port, le Petit Port.
- Bourdeau: le port de Bourdeau.
- Le Bourget-du-Lac: le port de Charpignat, le port des Grebes, le port des Mirandelles, le port des Mouettes, le port de la Leysse.
- Brison-Saint-Innocent: le port de Brison.
- Chatillon: le port de Chatillon.
- Conjux: le port de La Chatiere.
- Tresserve: le Bon Port.
- Viviers-du-Lac: le port des Quatre Chemins.
With so many ports, navigation is made easier and more enjoyable.
Lake Bourget Tourism and Culture
Lake Bourget is a very sought-after tourist destination in summer, thanks to its beaches (you have to pay to access some of them in July-August) and its others water activities (sailing, water skiing, scuba diving). Water temperature is generaly between 20-25°C in the summer.
Because of its steep slopes in parts, the western shores have been preserved from urbanisation with the area between the Hautecombe Abbey at the north and Bourdeau and Bourget-du-lac at the south almost untouched.
On the contrary, the Eastern shores are urbanised (Aix-les-bains) and is organised along the road and the train line. many restaurants and nightclubs can be found in this region (particularly in the South-East).
The Royal Abbey of Hautecombe, "Saint-Denis Savoyarde", is here to watch over the graves of sovereigns of "La Maison de Savoie". Restored in the 19th Century, it can be visited in the summer. Parts of the abbey are off-limits as monks still reside there. More than 300 marble statues can be found on the site.
Thomas II Castle was built at the 13th century but currently lays in ruins. It is located at the mouth of "la Leysse". Its golden age was between the 13th and the 15th century, when the "Maison de Savoie" used it as its main residence.
You can also view the lake from above, either from the panoramic viewpoint of the Chambotte Mountain, or from the viewpoints of Revard or Relais du Mont de Chat. But the best spot is located a few hundred metres away, at the 360 ° panoramic viewpoint of Le Mollard Noir.
Lake Bourget Activities
There are various kind of activities that can be undertaken on Lake Bourget. Just like other French Lakes, you can swim, rent a boat, fish, scuba dive, water ski, row or go lake sailing.
You can find two rowing clubs on the Lake Bourget. The Entente Nautique d'Aviron D'Aix-les-bains and the Club Nautique Chambery - Le Bourget du Lac Aviron.
If you are looking to scuba dive in Lake Bourget, you can ask the Club de Plongee Aix-les-Bains - Lac du Bourget association. They also provide tuition for beginners and more experienced divers.
Lake Bourget is a perfect place if you are looking to go water skiing. You can get in touch with the Ski Nautique Aix-les-Bains Association. They offer their services to beginners as well as club members. There are also several other associations such as Takamaka which provide wakeboard, monoski, wakeskate or wakesurf services, or the Ecole de Wake et de Ski Nautique du Bourget, which is a water skiing school that offers tuition. Finally, you can contact the Chatillon Ski Nautique, which is another water skiing, wakeboard and wakesurf club on Lake Bourget.
Like most other French Lakes, it is forbidden to use a jet ski on Lake Bourget as it is deemed to dangerous for others using the lake.