(LAC D'ISSARLES)

Whether you come from the Haute-Loire or the Ardèche after a long tortuous road, the reward is there. The Lake of Issarlès is majestic in its pine forest and in summer it is a haven of coolness when the valleys are crushed by the heat. With crystal-clear water - the purity of the water is wonderful and the swimming a marvel -, shady shores and sandy and pebble beaches, the lake is a delight for everyone. In August, it is like being on the Riviera and the queues of cars and motor homes pose serious traffic and parking problems. But after all the little worries, how wonderful it is to go for a ride on a pedal boat on such a cool wave.

It must be said that the Issarlès Lake - altitude 1,039 m - fills an ancient volcano crater and stretches, long and oval, over 90 hectares. Its Mediterranean blue is due to its exceptional depth of 138 metres - the lake is, after that of Le Bourget, the deepest in France. Coupled with those of the artificial lakes of Lapalisse and Peyron, its waters are turbined at Montpezat-sous-Bauzon. It therefore acts as a natural reservoir for EDF, which varies its level from the control centre in Lyon. But, once these "technical" considerations are over, one must see all the majestic beauty of this site, which is among the most beautiful in the Ardèche. The Lake Issarlès is still a municipality that stretches along the road where there are as many beach shops as there are various restaurants.

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