The Lac de Serre-Ponçon, fed by the Durance and Ubaye rivers, is the largest artificial lake in Europe. This beautiful blue jewel of water sits beneath the mountains of the Hautes Alpes and the northern edge of the Alpes de Haute Provence.
The lake was formed by the Barrage (dam) de Serre-Ponçon that was built across the Durance just below where the Ubaye joined from the southeast. The 123m-high dam was started in 1955, built from an alluvial clay soil from the bed of the Durance.
The village of Savines-le-Lac, located on the southern shore beside the bridge, is a reconstruction of the old village of Savines that now lies flooded beneath the lake. The little Chapelle Saint-Michel, that once stood on the top of a hill, is now a picturesque little island in the lake (photo).
- From GAP, take the N94 east (direction Embrun); it's about 25 km to the Pont de Savines bridge across the lake. From the village of Savines-le-Lac, the D954 follows along the eastern shore, turning east along the inlet from the Ubaye. This road goes through the village of La Sauze overlooking the lake from above, and has some beautiful views. You'll also find the "Demoiselles Coiffées" along this road.
- From Gap, you can go directly to the Barrage (dam) and the southern part of the lake: Take the N4 south from Gap; 2 km from the center turn left onto the D900, which continues south for another 10 km and then turns east to follow the Durance to the Barrage de Serre-Ponçon (about 28 km from Gap).
- From Digne-les-Bains, follow the D900 northeast to the lake (65 km), passing La Javie and Seyne along the way.
Fun - Amusement - Kids
- Boat Tours - Bauteau Promenade
- Boat tours are available from Savines-le-Lac and Chorges. Tours take 1h30.
- Motor boats are allowed on the Lac de Serre-Ponçon. A class "F" certificate is manditory for opertating a motor boat.
- The Lac de Serre-Ponçon is great for fishing, with trout, pike, carp, perch, chub, and char. It's said that the pike are sometimes over a meter long, and the trout can weigh several kilos. Ssupplies, etc. at Savines-le-Lac.
- "Bases Nautiques" and sites for sailing and surfboarding, including rentals, are located at several sites around the lake, including at the villages of Crots, Chorges and Savines-le-Lac.
and boat tours.
Sailing school at Savines-le-Lac
- Water skiing and wake-board centers are located at Crots, Chorges and Savines-le-Lac.
IGN (1/25,000) #3438 ET "Embrun, Les Orres, Lac de Serre-Ponçon"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #7 "Hautes Alpes"