The activities offered by Lake Vouglans in the Jura
Measuring 35 km long and covering 1,600 hectares, Lake Vouglans is known throughout Europe for its pleasure boating and fishing. The Route des Lacs trail, three beaches and a wide range of activities await you.Find out more
In 1968, a huge dam was built across the river Ain, creating a reservoir with 600 million cubic metres of water, its primary purpose being to generate electricity. This became Lake Vouglans. At 429 metres above sea level, the lake is 35 km long and covers 1,600 hectares. It is the largest lake in the Jura's Région des Lacs and is known throughout Europe for its pleasure boating and fishing.
The turquoise waters engulfed a number of hamlets and the Chartreuse de Vaucluse, an ancient abbey built by monks in the 12th century, which now lies at a depth of 40 metres below the surface. At 90 metres down, the depths of the lake also contain the old dam that measured 60 metres high and 12 metres wide.
Both of these submerged structures make interesting excursions for experienced divers.
Another work of art, but in this case clearly visible, is the Pyle bridge connecting the two sides of the valley which spans the lake over 351 metres at a maximum height of 75 metres. The bridge was built by EDF at the same time as the hydroelectric dam.
As part of a policy to enhance the site from the 1970s, three beaches were created, with lifeguard cover provided in summer. All the beaches are shaded and have picnic tables and toilets.
Surchauffant beach is around a hundred metres from Port du Meix, and located in the Domaine de Surchauffant estate, where you'll find a campsite with mobile home and chalet hire, two restaurants, two snack bars and a grocery store.
Bellecin beach in the windier part of the lake offers access to sailing dinghies, Optimist dinghies and windsurfing.
Canoe and pedalo hire is available and there are places to eat.
La Mercantine beach lies opposite the port of the same name from where you can hire pedalos and be safely introduced to the art of motor-boating without the need for a licence.
Lake Vouglans is known throughout Europe for the quality of its angling. The river Ain is full of fish and careful management of the fauna has resulted in the lake being awarded Category 1 status. Port de La Saisse is ideally located in the area reserved for fishing.
The lake offers a rich and varied range of fish, mainly consisting of predatory species. These include pike, whitefish, trout, carp, perch, catfish, but especially the king of fish, the zander.
Fish from the shore or a boat using live bait, modern lure techniques or an echo sounder. The choice is yours.
Annual fishing permits are of course available, as well as day permits at €10 and weekly permits at €30. These can now be purchased online from: www.cartedepeche.fr
They can also be bought from:
- at Port de la Saisse, Tabac Pontois in Pont-de-Poitte
- The store "L’Aigle Pêcheur" in Tour du Meix: www.aiglepecheur.fr
See the 2013 guide to fishing in the Jura: www.peche-jura.com/guide-2013.pdf
The waters of the lake offer a whole host of leisure activities!
From Port du Meix:
- water skiing with a specially designed slalom course
- Lessons are available in July and August from a certified instructor
- lake cruises aboard "Le Louisiane" www.bateaux-croisieres.com
La Mercantine and Bellecin beaches, on the windier part of the lake, offer a wide range of activities:
From La Mercantine port and beach:
- electric boat hire: www.bateauvertlocation.com
- electric motor boats without the need for a permit
- canoes, kayaks
- marina, free launch facilities
From Bellecin sports complex :
- canoe, kayak, catamaran hire
- sailing dinghies
- Optimist dinghies
The Premier Plateau region of the Jura is also known as the Pays des Lacs or lake country. Many different bodies of water, with spectacular settings or more discreet charms, line the valleys of this upland region.
The Route des Lacs is a 150 km tourist trail to help you explore the beauties of the Jura. From breathtaking viewpoints on the Pyle bridge to the tumbling Cascades du Hérisson waterfalls, the area is full of outstanding natural attractions.
And for heritage fans, Baume-les-Messieurs nestled at the foot of imposing cliffs, is one of France's designated "beautiful villages" and has a listed Cluniac abbey.
It also has some of the most beautiful caves in Europe. Water has not only formed the landscapes of the Jura, but has also sculpted magical sights beneath its surface.
In days gone by, the abundance of wood and the long winters of the Jura led to a tradition of artisan toy-making. The craft is still alive and well and its story is told in the Toy Museum in Moirans-en-Montagne.
All the practical information you need to plan these activities is available from:
- Clairvaux-les-Lacs Tourist Office: +33 (0)3 84 25 27 47
- The Information Point in Orgelet (open from June to September): +33 (0)3 84 25 48 25: www.juralacs.com
- Moirans-en-Montagne Tourist Office: +33 (0)3 84 24 65 01, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lons-le-Saunier Tourist Office: +33 (0)3 84 42 31 57: www.ot-lons-le-saunier.com
- On the websites www.jura-tourism.com and www.franche-comte.org
Accommodation and restaurants
To make the most of the lake's beautiful surroundings and the activities on offer, the Domaine de Surchauffant campsite is the ideal place to stay, just a stone's throw from Port du Meix. With its comfortable accommodation and camping pitches, Domaine de Surchauffant campsite offers direct access to a pretty, shaded beach with lifeguard cover in the high season. With its 200 m² heated pool and adjoining paddling pool for little ones, a range of children's playgrounds, football and volleyball pitches and a pétanque area, the whole family will find something entertaining to do. The numerous facilities offered by the Surchauffant campsite make it the perfect place for a relaxing holiday with all the convenience and comfort you could wish for, right in the heart of nature.
The campsite has two restaurants and a snack bar for tasty, relaxing meals.