In this gorgeous land that I call home we have beaches galore, we have rivers aplenty and we even have a lake or two. Conveniently located only 45 minutes away is Lac de St Cassien, a large man-made reservoir covering 3.7 square kilometres, surrounded by natural bush. The lake makes a great alternative to the beach on a hot summer’s day, the main reason for us being the pedalos for hire and an “Aqua Park” consisting of enormous inflatables and trampolines on the water.
Lac de St Cassien was created in 1966 to produce hydroelectric power and has since become a popular recreational area. Nature lovers, as well as water sports enthusiasts, are well catered for as the western part of the lake is given over to a nature reserve, la Réserve de Fondurane. Ancient forests, around 180 species of bird, and Roman remains can all be found here. But let’s be honest, that isn’t why we go there!
We go for the pedalos and the “bouncy castles” all located in the most popular and busy part of the lake. And we’re certainly not alone. The word popular is there for a reason – it is, very. But don’t let that put you off. We went recently in August, in high season, and found ourselves our own private little beach, just a short walk from the café and jetty.
We couldn’t actually see anyone else except the odd passing kayak and could only hear the sounds of people having fun across the water. From our little picnic spot we could dive off low rocks and swim in the perfect temperature water – it was 25°c. It makes a lovely change to swim in freshwater after a summer of salt and chlorine.
The Aqua Park opens at 10 am and my tip is to get there in time for this and not too much later as queues form pretty quickly and in the afternoon there can be a two-hour wait. At 10 am the air is still cool (ish), the water is clear and the inflatables aren’t heaving with people (it gets very crowded with teenagers so if you’ve got younger kids this is even more important).
7€ gets you a half-hour play which is plenty as hauling yourself up onto the giant icebergs, balls, trampolines and rolling tubes is exhausting. But jumping off is exhilarating and definitely worth the effort.
Next up is hiring a pedalo with a slide. My boys adore this, and I haven’t yet met a child (who can swim) who doesn’t love whizzing down the little slides into the deep lake. Pedalos take 5 people and my advice here is to have two adults (or big teens) as pedaling them into the wind can get tiring. You can hire them from 15€ for 30 minutes to 75€ for the whole day. We reckon on an hour as just right. Stand-up paddleboards (SUP) and canoes are also available to rent. (Prices correct at time of publication, subject to change).
With its southern tip close to the autoroute, only 5 minutes drive from Sortie 39 (signed to Les Adrets, then follow Fayence after the toll), Lac de St. Cassien is easy to get to, but remains peaceful and wild in a natural environment. The lake is bordered almost completely by forested hills, and the shoreline is undeveloped, with only hiking trails to access many of the isolated coves.
Powerboats and jet skis are not allowed adding to the tranquillity of the location. Picnic spots and ample parking can mainly be found along the D37 road from the motorway exit towards Fayence. There are a number of restaurants and hire places on the left and you can’t miss the “Aqua Park” on the right at the end of a long bridge.
Depending on the season pedalos can be booked in advance, for more information click here. They, and the bouncy structures, are available from roughly mid-June to late September, depending on the weather. The lake, of course, is a lovely place to go at any time of year, to walk, to picnic, to swim and to fish.
Do you like swimming in lakes? Do you prefer salt or freshwater to splash around in? As always, I love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a comment!
For other alternatives to the beach take a look at these posts:
Secret Paradise: a Refreshing River Walk
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I have a very confident 3.5yr old. Would she be able to access the inflatables? She has her own life jacket and is able to doggy paddle with this.
There’s a link in the 6th paragraph that takes you to the website for the hire place but at this stage of the year I can’t tell you what the price will be when the rentals open for the season I’m sure the website will have up to date info.
Hello can you tell me how much it is to hire s boat ( rowing boat ) for the day ?
I honestly don’t know the route from Le Tignet to St Cassien so I can’t say for sure but most roads in the back country are pretty hilly though I doubt there’d be any high bridges.
Hi we’re staying at Le Tignet and are now planning a visit after reading your great blog! Just one thing though, we have a slight phobia of hilly roads with drops and also high bridges – would we be faced with these on our journey from here? Thanks!
The aqua park definitely isn’t open but I’m not 100% sure whether there are some pedalos somewhere. I doubt it though as the beach season hasn’t even started.
Do you know if it is open at this time of year too? I know the water may be cold but that would surely add to the fun 🙂
Thank you for pointing out that hopeless error with the motorway exit! I’ve corrected it now. I’m so pleased you find my blog helpful 🙂
We took your advice and went here last week. It’s beautiful and my kids loved the aqua park and pedalos. We came from Vence and it was exit 39 that was marked for Les Adrets and Fayennce not 36 as mentioned. Your blog has been very helpful for first timers in France. Thanks
This has to be a definite next time we visit Lou Messugo. The kids and I love swimming in lakes and the kids never tire of jumping, sliding and climbing.
Yes we/they are lucky to be nearby, it’s a great place for all ages. 🙂
You must give it a go one day!
Oh yes, it’s open to all ages, with plenty of big kids using it.
What a shame about the jellyfish Michele. We get them in the sea around here quite often, which makes the lake an even better attraction!
Around here it’s not cold enough for lakes to freeze in the winter, though I love the idea of skating on open lakes in Scandinavia. It’s funny to think of being shocked by lake swimming, it really does seem normal to me, but then I spent some of my childhood in landlocked Czech Republic where river and lake swimming is the norm.
All size kids are welcome SJ!
This has got to be the most beautiful water reservoir I’ve seen. I like how it has so many activities and I don’t think my kids would ever leave that Aqua Park. Your boys are so lucky to have this nearby. Love all the action shots!
Looks gorgeous. I have always wanted to swim in a lake.
That aqua park looks like so much fun! Same with the pedalo with a slide. Right up my alley. Big kids can have fun too right?
My kids would love playing at that Aqua Park. I like that there aren’t power boats or jet skis so that it ends up being more tranquil. There’s a similar water park near our place in Malaysia, but jellyfish are a problem even though they have nets in the water that are supposed to keep them out.
What a gorgeous place! When we moved to Scandinavia I remember being shocked that people would actually want to swim in a lake in the summer, and skate on it in the winter. Here it’s the same too, and now it just seems normal! 🙂
I’ll take the lake, the sea… anywhere FUN!! I’d also wanna jump off those inflatables, do they let big kids have a go too?
It’s really lovely to swim in. Thanks for popping by Corinne.
When shall I expect you then???!!
Come on over then and have some fun!
Thanks Richard. I took plenty that missed too!
It is heaps of fun Catherine!
JF and my boys love fishing but funnily enough we haven’t tried here. We must too one day.
I used to love to swim in the lake back home. This looks gorgeous as well!
25 degrees water?!?! do you live in heaven??? haha very jealous. I love freshwater, prefer over chlorine anyday!!
This looks like a dream holiday spot for my husband and I, never mind waiting for Toby to grow up!xx
This looks so much fun, your photos really make me what to join in the action
Very tempting. And some wonderful action pix.
Yet another. Brilliant thing to do from Lou Messugo. Looks like lots of fun. I wish Ramaon luck with his fishing
Looks like a great place to fish, will have to go there one day..