The alpine lakes of Haut-Bugey

Open today
Espaces Naturels Sensibles


Will you take on the challenge? This winter, head to Lake Genin before breakfast, see the ice up close and take a dip in the chilly 3-4°C water! Guaranteed to get your blood flowing for the rest of the day!


The geological features of the Jura Mountains led to the formation of a number of natural lakes. A stunning landscape protected by the Sensitive Natural Areas classification (ENS in French), where the must-see trio of lakes, Genin, Nantua and Sylans, are waiting to be discovered.

Behind each Haut-Bugey mountain pass, a lake awaits…

On top of Berthiand pass, the horizon gives way to a spectacular panorama. The 14-hectare Lake Nantua glistens, nestled like a diamond between the sheer limestone cliffs. Several kilometres further, Lake Sylans, pike fisherman’s paradise, comes into view. We continue on our way and take a small road which dives into the forest. Suddenly, at an altitude of 830m, the shores of an emerald lake appear. This is Lake Genin. Here, you would be forgiven for mistaking the timeless setting for Canada!

Mountain lakes, the ideal setting for outdoor activities

A little paradise whatever the season, suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities.

A great spot in summer for swimming, fishing, sailing, canoeing and hiring pedalos. During winter, lace up your ice skates or, for the more experienced (and courageous!) among us, zip up your wetsuit for ice diving with Club Subaquatique Oyonnaxien!

But this isn’t all, there are plenty of treks to enjoy in the surrounding area! Whether it’s on foot, mountain bike, in snowshoes or on cross-country skis, there’s something for everyone. Mountain lakes are truly nature’s playgrounds – here you don’t need an excuse to wear yourself out having fun!

Practical information

Opening hours

All year round.


Free access.

Languages spoken

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Sylans Glaciers

At the end of the 19th century, at the peak of their growth, the glaciers produced up to 300,000 tonnes of ice per year. It was taken by train as far as Paris, Marseille and even Algiers, protected by a burlap cloth and covered in straw. What for? To be used in cafés and restaurants! As this was way before fridges had been invented!

“Family day Out”

 “After visiting a nearby town we stumbled across Lac Nantua – a perfect day out. Would recommend taking a picnic and making a day of it. Gets deep quite quickly but this is good for throwing yourself into the water off the pontoon.”Reviewed 14th September 2016 by Elle-Robyn B.

“Wow what a beauty!”

“Absolutely stunning. I ran round it, biked round it, swam in it, sat and walked by it, and generally loved it being the centrepiece of our stay. As a couple we love places with lakes and mountains. My word this lake with the huge swathes of greenery surrounding it is a bit special. The weather was 30 degrees during our stay, therefore loads of people including us were swimming in the warm, clean and safe lake. If in Nantua and whatever the weather, make sure you make the most of this smashing natural cracker.”Reviewed 25th June 2016 by Zonderman

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Mis à jour le 13 février 2024 à 14:02
par Aintourisme

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