The Lac du Salagou is a large lake near to Clermont l’Herault in the Herault department of Languedoc Roussillon. Well known in the area for the vivid colours of the lake and its surroundings it is very popular for various water sports, walking and cycling.
The Salagou lake was created in 1968 when a barrage was erected across the river Salagou in order to allow a diversification of local agriculture and regulate the river Salagou which was very prone to flooding in autumn. The lake covers 750 hectares and has become a popular tourist spot.
The earth surrounding the lake is extremely rich in iron giving it its distinctive orange-red colour. This combined with the deep blue of the lake and the greens of the surrounding trees and fields forms a wonderful patchwork of colour which takes on different forms and combinations around each different curve of the lake.
It is possible to drive round the lake to see the many different views but if you have the chance use the ‘route forestiere’ to walk or cycle round the lake and really have the time to admire it. Unfortunately my trip in November didn’t allow me to capture on photo the wonderful colours that shine out in the sunshine usual to this part of France.
SalascIf you are driving to the lake pass first by Moureze to see the very different scenery of the Cirque de Moureze. Even if you haven’t time for one of the walks amongst the dolomites the drive from Moureze to Salasc on the southern side of Lake Salagou takes you through part of the dolomite-filled landscape.
Salasc like the other villages around the lake offers a pretty stopping point for lunch or a coffee if you have forgotten to bring a picnic to eat on the edge of the lake.
Continue around to the unusual village of Celles. Thought to be in the zone to be flooded the village of Celles was evacuated but the lake stopped short of the village.
Celles became a ‘ghost town’ though now its church and marie appear to have been renovated and contrast bizarrely with the surrounding abandoned houses whose roofs have collapsed and whose walls are gradually falling. Perhaps the village is in the process of being re-populated.
The views from the patio area in front of the renovated church and marie are very nice.