Incredibly, yes! Yet as natural as can be!
The Lac du Der was born in the Champagne region in 1974, after 10 years of major earthworks.
The lake is primarily a reservoir designed to regulate water levels on the River Marne, which feeds the Seine. It acts as an essential buffer to avoid floods and to feed irrigation streams during periods of low water. The Lac du Der is also a magnificent environmental feature with breathtaking landscapes that change with the seasons.
Visitors are often surprised by the natural feel of the Lac du Der. Take a break along the cycle paths overlooking the lake or plunge deep into the forest of three century-old oak trees and find out for yourself!
When the Lac du Der fills completely in the spring, its colours take on a bluish to turquoise tone. The green trees make it a vibrant natural spectacle...
Criss-cross the forest on the numerous bike trails or take part in water sport activities from April onwards. In summer, the kids can enjoy swimming in balmy 27 °C water, with six sandy beaches to choose from.
A boat ride, motor or electric, is a must. No need for a license on the Lac du Der
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If you prefer to have your feet on the ground, why not take a trip along the lake's longest dike on board the little tourist train? From February to November, they driver will will tell you the history of the lake, its fauna, its flora and all about the bocage countryside.
Another highlight of the Lac du Der is to be seen as it empties at the end of autumn and nature takes over every nook and cranny covered by the waves in the spring.
At dawn, if you're there on time, you can see the flight of tens of thousands of cranes. The lake may be artificial, but it has given nature a helping hand with several areas reserved for the 300 species of birds that live here or visit on their migrations.
Share all these incredible moments with our expert ornithologists, who are available to accompany you in your birdwatching all year round.
For us, the Lac du Der is much more than a body of water; it is a place to unwind, to have fun with family and relax.
Three questions for Daniel Dautel
Greeter at the Lac du Der
How would you define your role at the Lac du Der?
"Well, what can I say? It really is my passion, I was born in the lake! Before the work started, I also used to spend my summer holidays here in my grandparents' farmhouse, which is now underwater, and although there are many sad memories, as a greeter, I can do a great deal to help keep the memory of our forebears alive. I have personal experience of all the stages of this vast project, which I love passing on to new generations. Three villages were submerged here, along with 5000 hectares of land, more than half of the surface area of a city like Paris!"
Can you tell us about the Lac du Der?
"The primary objective of the Lac du Der, its raison d'être, is as a reservoir containing 350 million m3 of water. From Saint-Dizier, it regulates the course of the river Marne, a tributary of the Seine, the largest river in France. It buffers against floods in Paris, and also enables boats to stay afloat during periods of low water flow. The Paris authorities govern the site and authorise all the water sports and other activities people carry out here, for work and leisure. Visitors can enjoy 'green' activities related to the natural environment and 'blue' activities related to the water. Today the Lac du Der is the 2nd most popular tourist destination in the Champagne region."
Can we come to visit as a family?
"Absolutely, the different activities on offer, in this marvellous natural setting, with lots of different trips and visits, most of which are free of charge or at a reduced cost, make it an ideal place for families to visit.
As a 'greeter', I receive visitors and families all year round to discuss the origins and consequences of the construction of the Lac du Der and its attractiveness to tourists.
A tour with me takes about one and a half hours, and it's free, but please book in advance."
When the Lac du Der basin was flooded, it resulted in the disappearance of three villages: Chantecoq, Nuisement-aux-Bois and Champaubert-aux-Bois, of which only the church remains on the edge of its peninsula, and today affords one of most beautiful views over the lake.
Do you have any questions about your day out?
Contact the Tourist Office of the Lac du Der en Champagne at +33 (0)03 26 72 62 80 or by email at email@example.com