Saint Cassien Lake
Lac de Saint Cassien - Provence Beyond
This beautiful, wild lake is about 7 km long north-south, with an east-west section another 3 km long. With its southern tip adjacent to the autoroute, only 12 km west of Cannes, the Lac de St. Cassien is easy to get to, but remains natural in a natural environment. The lake is bordered almost completely by forested hills, and the shoreline is undeveloped, leaving its beauty for all to enjoy.
The D37 road from the autoroute (exit Les Adrets) goes north along the eastern shore of the lake, and then crosses over to northwest to join the D562 Grasse-Draguignan road just east of Fayence.
There are some places along the road with ample parking and easy access to the shore, with beaches for swimming, picnic tables, and boat, sailboard and canoe rental. The majority of the shoreline, however, is isolated and accessible only (if at all) by small trails through the scrub oak and juniper to tiny coves and clear spots suitable for picnicking and swimming.
• GPS: 43.583576, 6.802
IGN (1/25,000) #3543 ET "Haute Siagne"
Hiking trails go completely around the lake, although they follow roads for part of the journey.
To the east of the lake, the Bois de Callian goes up over the hills towards the village of Tanneron, where the oak forests merge into the many mimosa forests.
To the west, the hills and forests are wilder and steeper. There is a nice 3-hour loop hike on the west side of the lake, beginning at the tip of the northwestern spur of the lake, at the parking for the Réserve Biologique de Fondurane. The first part of the trail coincides with the GR49 trail, then loops back over the forested hills to the start.
Wildflowers - hike this short loop in May to discover a lot of lovely wildflowers in a small area: yellow flowers blooming here include the Curry Plant, Spotted Rockrose, Gorse and the pale Urospermum; blooming white were masses of Narrow-leaved Cistus and Small-Flowered Catchfly; purple-pink colored flowers in bloom include Grey-leaved Cistus, Catchfly Fuscatga, French Lavender, Star Clover, Tassel Hyacinth and Convolvulus Oleifoliu. There were also many Tree Heath and Strawberry Trees, not in bloom, and of course a fair number of flowers we couldn't quickly identify. The beautiful, tall purple orchid with yellow center we identified later at the Violet Bird's Nest Orchid (Limodorum abortivum).
The lake apparently contains huge carp, as well as pike and other predator fish. Carp fishing is open year-round, but please, if you catch one of these noble creatures, release it back into the lake. There is a season for the other fish; ask at Chez Pierre's or one of the other cafes on the lake. To help maintain the sport of fishing, you should release anything that you catch.
Thanks to reader Simon Moxley (MCSE), DEC Europe, for providing the fishing information.
Boat, canoe and sailboard rental is available along the eastern shore of the lower lake (conveniently beside the road) and northwestern end of the Pont de Prè Claou bridge that crosses the lake. The rental boats are row boats and boats with small electric motors.
Private motor boats are not allowed on the lake
No water skiing.