Lake Pareloup near Salles-Curan - Aveyron
Lake Pareloup, one of the five Lakes of Lévezou
Lake Pareloup is one of the five man-made lakes EDF created in the 1940's in order to produce hydroelectricy for the region.
The Lévezou stands at an average altitude of 800m.
Its highest summit, Mont Seigne, peaks at 1128m above sea level.
Lac Pareloup, Lac Villefranche-de-Panat, Lac de Pont-de-Salars, Lac de la Gourde and Lac de Bages form the Lacs du Lévezou, the largest group of lakes in France.
Unfortunately, their construction necessitated the flooding of entire valleys in order to built dams.
A network of underground tunnels, controlled by a pumping system, connect these lakes.
Water is channeled into a pipe and transported to Pouget hydroelectric plant, which then releases it into the river Tarn.
However, the creation of these lakes had also a very positive impact on tourism.
Indeed, Villefranche-de-Panat, Pareloup and Pont-de-Salars also serve for water sports and fishing.
Bages and La Gourde, on the other hand, are essentially dedicated to fishing.
Lake Pareloup, a popular holiday destination
Lake Pareloup is located near the small town of Salles-Curan.
La Sallas de Curhan (in Occitan) was the former summer residence of the bishops of Rodez.
The former episcopal castle has been transformed into a hotel-restaurant, the Hostellerie du Lévezou.
The lake is therefore commonly known as Lac de Salles-Curan.
It is the largest lake in the Occitanie-Midi-Pyrénées region and the 5th largest in France (1,200 hectares).
Some 130km of rugged shoreline form countless peninsulas and coves.
Two hills, that peaked above the valley flooded 60 years ago, today form the lake's two islands.
Lake Pareloup is a very popular tourist destination during summer.
Sailing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, water skiing, rowing and swimming are indeed very popular activities.
Lake Pareloup has two monitored public beaches, Pareloup and Vernhes.
The orientation table located above Vernhes boasts prime views of the lake and its wooded banks.
This is also where you'll find La Vierge des Lacs - Our Lady of the Lakes, a life size statue of the Virgin Mary, that watches over the lake.
Those who like quieter beaches, away from the crowds, will enjoy the beautiful Caussanel beach and the many little creeks.
Finally, several campsites, holiday homes and cottages were created in order to accommodate the increasing number of holidaymakers.
Indeed, the villages located around the lake see their population triple over the summer season!
Coordinates Lake Pareloup: Lat 44.197385 - Long 2.739411
Photos via Wikimedia Commons: Lake - Dam CC BY-SA 2.5 - Vierge des Lacs CC BY-SA 3.0