The largest artificial lake in Europe, located in eastern France, can be discovered this summer

The largest artificial lake in Europe, located in eastern France, can be discovered this summer
The largest artificial lake in Europe, located in eastern France, can be discovered this summer

For 50 years now, the inhabitants of Champagne have been able to enjoy Lac du Der, located between the Marne and Haute-Marne, during sunny days. Inaugurated in 1974, it is the largest artificial lake in France. Fully integrated into the region’s landscape, it constitutes a remarkable natural site and offers numerous activities throughout the year. Here is everything you need to know about Lac du Der.

Between regulation and tourism

First of all, it took more than 10 years to complete this lake with an area of ​​4,800 hectares for 350 million m3 of water. As Daniel Dautel, volunteer, explains on the lake site, its primary role was to regulate the course of the Marne, which is a tributary of the Seine, and thus limit flooding in Paris or guarantee river traffic during periods of low water. Its development caused three villages to disappear. It is possible to learn more about its history at the Village Musée du Der.

But of course, today the site is also an important tourist spot. In total, 61,507 visitors went there in 2022, according to the local tourist office. As soon as the temperatures are suitable, numerous water activities are organized, while six sandy beaches have been created. On land, a small train is offered and several cycle paths have also been built and overlook the lake. They lead visitors into a forest of 300-year-old oaks where you can practice ziplining.

Read also: In Haute-Marne, a couple of bargain hunters have recreated a school from yesteryear which can be visited

An Olympic anniversary

Thus, beyond its tourist aspect, Lac du Der is a magnificent natural site. Its construction contributed to the development of avian fauna, with more than 300 species of birds recorded in the surrounding area. At daybreak, it is even possible to see thousands of common cranes taking flight. Alongside the high season, expert ornithologists organize observation sessions.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the place, several festivities are organized throughout the year, note France 3 Grand Est . The season of events, Extralac, will be revealed on the weekend of May 25 and 26, with Olympics, concerts and shows. We already know that the Olympic flame will pass through Giffaumont-Champaubert (Marne), a town on the lake, on June 30. An “art and sport” weekend will also be organized on July 27 and 28, as well as an “open-air cinema” weekend on August 30 and 31. Lac du Der is located 35 minutes by car from Saint-Dizier (Haute-Marne).

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