Nouvelle Aquitaine

Lac de Vassiviere - Millevaches - Limousin

This page was updated on: Friday, March 31, 2017 at: 11:32 am

Lac de Vassiviere, one of the largest French man-made lakes

800px-Royere-de-Vassiviere_Lac_de_Vassiviere

Peace and quiet...

The Lac de Vassiviere is is a man-made lake located in the heart of the Limousin.

It spreads over the department of Haute-Vienne and Creuse, and to the northwest of the Millevaches Regional Nature Park, a protected nature area.

It was created between 1947 and 1950 by Electricité de France in order to produce hydraulic energy.

Industrial development indeed triggered a massive increase in energy requirements after WWII.

A power plant was therefore needed in order to support this development and supply electricity to the Limousin area.

500px-Lac_de-Vassiviere_vue_gene

The largest lake in Limousin

The valley of the Maulde, wider than the Vienne's, was therefore selected for this ambitious project.

However, the small river’s water flow was insufficient.

EDF built an important network of dams, canals and underground tunnels in order to capture the waters from the countless neighbouring streams in order to feed the Lac de Vassiviere.

The power plant of Peyrat-le-Château was commissioned in 1952.

The Lac de Vassiviere today translates in a series of very impressive figures.

Lac de Vassiviere in figures

It is located 650m above sea level.

It has an area of nearly 1,000 hectares, and is therefore the largest lake in the Limousin Region and the 6th largest in the Massif Central.

500px-Lac-de-Vassiviere_sketch_map

Map of the lake

It is one of the largest man-made lakes in France and the 23rd largest French lake.

It has a capacity of 106m3 million.

However, it is partially emptied once a year in September in order to evacuate the water produced by the autumn rains and the melting snow in the spring.

The power plant annually produces the electricity needed to power a city of 40,000 inhabitants.

Located in the heart of vast forests, the Lac de Vassiviere is also equipped with two 1500m long zones reserved for seaplane water bombers scooping.

The creation of the lake resulted, however, in the destruction of eight villages and hamlets, including the former village of Vassiviere.

Lac de Vassiviere, leisure park

Lac_de_Vassiviere_(2)

marina

The Lac de Vassiviere is also a fantastic tourist area initially developed in the 1960s-1970s with the support of the General Council of the Creuse department.

The Lac de Vassiviere is today the main leisure park in the region.

The Regional Council of Limousin has owned it since 2008.

A significant tourist infrastructure was introduced.

Five patrolled beaches, a small marina for water skiing, canoeing, wake-boarding and windsurfing, hotels, holiday villages, campsites, B&Bs, self-catered cottages and restaurants are indeed scattered over 45km of shore.

500px-Lac-de-Vassiviere_Beach-copy

One of the 5 beaches

There are also numerous hiking and mountain bike trails.

A 30km shoreline trail (Sentier de rive) runs around the lake and through a series of valleys, moors and woods, sometimes on bridges on piles or dykes.

Taxi boats are also available to holidaymakers who want to explore more.

A road circling the lake was also opened in order to serve the different bases and villages scattered around.

This 21km road was named Circuit Raymond Poulidor in order to pay tribute to the famous cyclist who is a native of the region.

These impressive tourist facilities combined with the beauty of the landscapes of the Plateau of Millevaches, composed of bogs, moors and forests, generate a constant flow of holidaymakers and tourists throughout the summer period.

Ile de Vassiviere - Contemporary Art Centre

Lac-de-Vassiviere-sculpturewood2.detoutcoeur

pine cone sculpture

The former Château de Vassivière stands on the Ile de Vassivière.

This 70-hectare island was formed in the middle of the lake after the flooding of the valley.

It houses a restaurant, as well as temporary exhibitions.

A contemporary art centre was founded on the island in 1990.

The architects Aldo Rossi and Xavier Fabre designed the unusual building.

500px-Centre_d'art_et_du_paysage_Lac-de-Vassiviere

Centre d'Art et du Paysage

The art centre indeed consists of two structures, a tower-lighthouse and a rectilinear gallery facing the dam.

Both are located at the edge of a thick forest of conifers.

The park is a large open-air museum.

A marked path leads the visitors to the discovery of a series of contemporary sculptures.

The Centre International d’Art et du Paysage is dedicated to contemporary artistic creativity, research, experimentation and production.

It thus offers works that can sometimes be perceived as… quite different.

Departments of Haute-Vienne and Creuse - Limousin region
Coordinates Lac de Vassiviere: Lat 45.791652 - Long 1.876080

Photos via Wikimedia Commons: Lake photo#1 by Langladure is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 - Map and beach by Sjwells53 are licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 Largest lake in Limousin by Symac is licensed under GNU - Centre d'Art et du Paysage by Babsy is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 - marina by Frédérique Voisin-Demery aka fred_v is licensed under CC BY 2.0 - pine cone sculpture via ©detoutcoeurlimousin.moonfruit.com

Nouvelle Aquitaine - Latest content

Poster for the Commemoration of the Centenary of the Bel-Air City

Commemoration of the Centenary of the Bel-Air City

Boulazac-Isle-Manoire commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the creation of the base and hospital of the American Army in its district of Bel-Air City

Poitou-Charentes – Nouvelle Aquitaine Region

Poitou-Charentes is part of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, and is situated in south-west France, between the Loire and the Gironde estuary in Aquitaine

Limousin – Nouvelle Aquitaine Region

The quintessential historic Limousin in Central France is divided in 3 departments and has been part of the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region since 01/01/2016

Le Thot – Prehistoric centre – Cro-Magnon

Le Thot prehistoric center, an animal park and a museum dedicated to cave art located in Thonac near Lascaux in the Valley of the Vezere

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Please note: We will not sell or distribute your email address to any third party.