Lake Vassivière, one of France’s largest man-made lakes is but a 30-minute drive south of Chez Jallot. With 47km of shoreline and more than 1000 hectares of clear water, the lake, situated within the heart of the Millevaches Plateau, is a huge area to explore and discover. Nautical activities of all kinds are available; canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, wake-boarding to name a few... and if you prefer more solid ground under your feet, the forest and countryside around the lake offers hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding on the many trails around it.
There are numerous family-friendly beaches around the lake offering a range of facilities for young and old and through the summer, these beaches play host to free music nights where live bands come to play. As well as this and unique in France, taxi boats transport you free between various drop-off points around the shore giving you even greater flexibility to explore.
The Vassivière island hosts numerous activities and things to do; art exhibitions, festivals, a wood turner, an artisan bakery and even a skate park (it is actually a piece of sculpture turned into a skate park!) and if you have a head for heights, it is strongly recommended that you climb the tower in the centre of the island to gain amazing views out across the lake and the surrounding countryside.
The lake, located at an altitude of 650 m, has a capacity of 106 million cubic metres. The main tributary filling the lake is the river Maulde, a small river in the Millevaches plateau. This though does not capacity to keep the lake filled, thus a network of dams, canals and tunnels have been built to partially bypass the flow of several neighbouring watercourses into the lake, ensuring the energy efficiency of the hydroelectric scheme.
The dam has been constructed at the head of the valley above the town of Peyrat-le-Château. A 2.6 kilometre feeder tunnel carries the water from the dam to the hydroelectric plant at Mazet, dropping 252 meters in height in the process. The Vassivière dam was commissioned at the end of the 1949, and the Peyrat-le-Château hydroelectric plant 3 years later in 1952.
Vassivière in a few figures
- Commissioned between the end of 1949 and June 1951
- Nearly 1000 hectares of water
- 106 million cubic meters of water equivalent to 36,600 Olympic swimming pools!
- Constructed between late 1946 and 1950
- 32.9 m high
- 233 m wide
- 2 automatic spillways
The Hydroelectric Factory
- Commissioned between December 1951 and March 1952
- Total power: 63 MW
- 3 turbines
- Average annual production equivalent to the annual consumption of a city of 40,000 inhabitants