Waterfalls, lakes, and swimming
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Water has shaped the French Jura region; waterfalls, lakes and rivers are all available for your favourite water sports or water related activities, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, canyoning, sailing, angling, water-skiing, jet-skiing, paddling; what could be more pleasant than diving into clear blue water at 24° or laying on a fine sandy beach? Come and admire the spectacular waterfalls or drift on a pleasure boat... an unforgettable holiday!
The top 5 waterfalls
- Cascade de Baume-les-Messieurs, one of the prettiest villages in France, is set within the Baume-les-Messieurs steephead valley, a rock erosion valley typical of the French Jura, and a circuit takes you to a high viewpoint over the waterfalls, or find a little spot to bathe and cool down if the weather is too hot. A few meters away, at the far end of the steephead valley, the caves are open in the summer season for a guided tour.
- Cascade des Tuffs at Les Planches-près-Arbois, set in an exotic landscape, also at the end of a steephead valley, near to Arbois, the French Jura Wines Capital.
- Cascades du Hérisson (The Hérisson waterfalls), of which the most impressive are: 31 waterfalls in all, 1h30 circuit on foot. The "Maison des Cascades" at the beginning of the circuit provides information on the economics and the history related to the waterfalls, and the fauna and flora specific to the area.
- Cascade et Gorges de la Langouette, a very impressive narrow and deep gorge, mixing whirlpools and waterfalls. A marked and secured circuit called "La Saine", leads you to the water edge and up to the waterfall over the tracks of the "Langouette Fairy", up to the Planches-en-Montagne watermill and village. Approx 30 mins.
- Cascade de la Billaude, 2 waterfalls, in all 28 m, gushing out from a crack in the rocks at Le Vaudioux
The top 10 Lakes
- The Lac de Chalain is the biggest natural lake in the French Jura, a real paradise for holidaymakers with its turquoise waters, and many tourist activities, amongst which 3 large beaches with lifeguard services in the summer season, accrobranche circuit, water park "Les Lagons", catering services, campsites, and angling. You can walk or cycle around the lake on the marked trail. Motorised water sports are forbidden.
- Lac de Vouglans is the third largest artificial lake in France, many belvederes, sandy beaches, and marked trails are available to enjoy the site through the forests around the deep blue waters. In some places, the banks have been landscaped to provide wonderful sandy beaches and waters that can get up to 24° temperature in the summer. 3 leisure activities ports are available together with a selection of accommodation, campsites, outdoor activity centre, holiday camp, all of which have transformed the lake into an internal sea for all sorts of activities, not to mention the Lac de Vouglans hydraulic dam, the reason for the lake's existence.
- Lac de Clairvaux-les-Lacs, with its turquoise waters, is a recognised tourist centre for water sports: swimming, windsurfing, canoeing, pedalos, rowboats and angling. It is the ideal place for families who wish to enjoy a pleasant natural site with warm waters (with a very gentle depth slope) and lifeguard services in the summer season. It is also an example in terms of sustainable development with a "Pavillon Bleu" label.
- Les 4 Lacs: Ilay, Narlay, Petit & Grand Maclu, overlooked by the Pic de l'Aigle, a crest at alt. 993m offering a viewpoint over the French Jura plateaux. The Belvédère des 4 Lacs is another magnificent viewpoint over the lakes, and the Lac de Narlay is the deepest at 48m. A path leads you around the lake. Ilay has an island in the lake.
- Le Lac d'Antre, set above Villards-d'Héria, at alt. 800m, and surrounded by forests, it at the base of a huge cliff called "La Roche d'Antre". The waters were used in roman times for spas. The sanctuary can be visited with a number of ruins.
- Le Lac de Coiselet is another artificial lake leading on from the Vouglans dam, and surrounded by cliffs, and provides a spectacular landscape with unique scenery. Many paths and circuits are available to discover a large selection of viewpoints over the lake and looking down on the "Vallée de l'Ain", amongst them the Pic d'Oliferne with the ruins of the Château d'Oliferne built in the 8th Century at alt. 807m. The Lac de Coiselet is highly appreciated by anglers.
- Le Lac de l'Abbaye in Grand-Rivière, a privately owned lake, but has a small public access beach for swimming. A viewpoint has been designed to admire the postcard scenery.
- Le Lac de Bonlieu, a small and peaceful lake located under surrounding cliffs in deep forests, and is one of the French Jura's most picturesque lakes, and offers rich water fauna for anglers. Bonlieu is the starting point for the Hérisson waterfalls circuit.
- Le Lac des Rousses at alt. 1,059m, is one of the highest lakes in the French Jura and offers a range of water sports, under one condition, no engines! There is a beach with free access. Lifeguards in the summer season.
- Le Lac de Lamoura, at alt. 1,156m, is the highest lake in the French Jura, and is bordered by a moor on one side, accessible via a pedagogic circuit; enjoy the beaches with lifeguard in the summer season; angling is also available.