Lac de Monteynard- a hidden pearl in France
January 1, 1970
by Agnieszka Rychlicka
Do you want to get off the beaten track? Immerse yourself in the Lac de Monteynard
I am always surprised by so many wonderful spots in the Rhône-Alpes region, in France. It seems like the quite random decision to set in Lyon turns out to be the best ever, as you need about 1, up to 2 hours to discover beautiful places, usually known just by the French tourists. This time I went to see the Lac de Monteynard, an amazing place and off the beaten track. Either you are in Lyon or in Grenoble you will just need a car in order to get there and indulge the mountainous landscapes dotted with narrow roads and small villages. Heading fom Lyon it takes a little less than 2 hours and in any case you have to pass next to Grenoble. If you head from Grenoble it will take only about 30 mins by car.
It’s up to you whether you follow the road number D34 or D116, you will get to the lake either way. Definitely, you won’t miss it as the very blue colour of the lake is hard not to notice ;).
Le Lac de Monteynard– is it for real? Basic information
This lake is actually an artificial reservoir which appeared after a power station on the Drac River was set up. The dam divided it into 2 canyons- of the Drac and Ebron. Le Lac de Monteynard-Avignonet was created about 50 years ago and you must know that it’s quite big- it is 10 km long and has a 145-meter-high dam on it. What is really spectacular is the colour of the water which is so azure that you can hardly believe there are no additional colorants ;).
Another thing, if you think that you had bad patch and that maybe you should come back during another season in order to avoid the wind…just be awayre that this lake is one of the best places for kitesurfing and of course windsurfing– in Europe! So, just be prepared and grab a light jacket before coming over to the Lac de Monteynard.
If you fear height the two suspension bridges could be quite a challange for you but I assure you that the feeling and the view you admire from the bridges is unforgettable and worth a try.
A bit of Andes in France?
Actually, the creators of the bridges were inspired by suspension bridges used in the Andes in South America! That is really incredible as you can really see similarities comparing for instance to Inca rope bridge in Peru. Otherwise, both resemble himalayan footbridges.
It’s interesting that both of the bridges were achieved with the help of helicopters and they allow to hike and bike from the Trièves village to Mantheysine.
I started my trip from the “passerelle Drac” just below the Mayres-Savel village. The Drac bridge, which is 220 meteres long and is about 45-85 meteres high above the lake. Honestly, I am that kind of person that despite my fear of heights I always tend to overcome it and this time it wasn’t different. At the beginning you feel quite safe but the more you keep on walking the more it shakes and the more is windy. To take a picture from the middle of the bridge turned out to be a mission-impossible.
Somehow I managed to stay stable for a while and to take this amazing shoot:
Once you cross the Drac bridge, go on the right and you will soon be in the middle of a forest. Hopefully, you have some comfortable trekking shoes as the path goes up and down! From time to time you will see the lake, you just have to follow indications on the path so that you know where you are heading. There are a few ways and sometimes you may also choose the difficulty of a path. If you started the trip from the Drac bridge you will mostly go up until you get to a nice, vast field where you could have a snack and enjoy the view from the hill.
After a halt you may carry on, in a while, you will have to go up, just a bit higher, but no worries, I bet you will appreciate this view!
If you follow the path you will get to the next, but not less impressing suspension bridge.
I told you it wasn’t a place for people with acrophobia!
Time to cross the bridge. I keep my fingers crossed. Done? Then follow the indications going to Treffort– a small village from where you may take a boat that gives you a lift to the other shore. On the way you will go through a countryside path with the lake on your right hand side.
You will also notice a lot, really a lot of kite and windsurfers! For a while I thought that I there was a lot of flies or other strange creatures on the sky.
By the way, if you are a few persons you would better contact the boat company just to make sure that free sits are available. In high season you may arrive in Treffort (this is what happened to me) and they might say you that the next boat is in about 2 hours! (And I assure you that in Treffort you might quickly get bored) I would suggest you to check it here: Boat La Mira
However, before you get to Treffort village, maybe you feel like learning windsurfing and kitesurfing? Give it a try, personally I would have loved to try it but I was running late. There are some small beaches where you will see a lot of windsurfers and kitesurfers either learning or showing off their skills. If you don’t fancy it, just sit down for a while and enjoy the show!
If you didn’t go on a cruise and you just want to cross the lake, you board the Mira boat and after a few minutes you will land on the other side. Then, you will have to go right if you want to come back towards the Drac bridge- the place where we started the trip. It should take you about 1 hour on foot and you may either follow the road (there are not a lot of cars) or the indicated path that runs along the lake.
The whole trip, starting from the Drac bridge and getting to the same place took me about 5 hours (including a lunch pause) and it was really a nice one -day-break from a hustle week.
So just to follow up:
What to do in Lac de Monteynard?
- kitesurfing, windsurfing, sailing: it’s so called European paradise for these (wind) sport fanatics, you may rent all the equipment on the spot
- boat cruises, canoeing: in this way you can discover the hidden wild gorges that you can’t see while walking around the lake
- hiking : there are numerous paths through woods, fields and picturesque villages
- mountain biking
- horse riding
For more information check the official website: Lac Monteynard website
How to get to the lake: How to get
If you go hiking…do not forget!
- water, a lot of water, especially if your trip is in summer
- a windbreaker
- a hat or a cap in case of strong sun
- a camera to take photos!
- comfortable shoes (trekking shoes)
how did you like it? 🙂