The banks of Chalain and Clairvaux lakes have been inhabited by humans for a very long time. People built villages here, sometimes on stilts. These stilted buildings are called "pile dwellings". Nowadays, the Chalain and Clairvaux lakesides are choice holiday spots. As for the archaeological remains, listed by UNESCO no less, they are too fragile to go on public display, but you can find out more about them by visiting the exhibition at the Clairvaux archaeology museum.

The lakes of Chalain and Clairvaux

paradise for the people of then and now

A lake well-stocked with fish, vast forests abounding in game and construction timber, and a climate conducive to farming. Chalain Lake and Clairvaux Lake had all the right conditions to encourage our ancestors to settle on their banks. And that's exactly what they did, building their villages of pile dwellings right at the edge of both lakes.

The lakes of Chalain and Clairvaux are heavenly places to be even today! In summer they attract delighted holidaymakers looking for a place to relax or enjoy watersports.

Discover Chalain Lake

Le lac de Chalain
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Le lac de Clairvaux
Alain Doire - BFC Tourisme
Espace archéo de Clairvaux dans le Jura
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What is left of the prehistoric villages?

a fabulous source of knowledge and a UNESCO listing

What remains of this occupation dating back to between 5000 and 500 BC?  Well, a whole bunch of things actually!
>> objects, textiles,
>> posts,
>> dugout canoes
>> and even the remnants of seeds and fruits!

Elsewhere, all of this would have disappeared naturally. But at Chalain, Clairvaux and 111 other pile-dwelling sites (prehistoric sites of homes built on stilts) listed in and around the Alps, water has contributed to the amazing state of conservation of the various archaeological remains.

A real goldmine for archaeologists who thus benefit from rare evidence of the village life led by the very first farmers and fishermen. Now that's well worth a listing as a World Heritage Site!

Reconstitution de maison lacustre datant du Néolithique
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Clairvaux archaeology centre

Fragile heritage to discover with the family

These lakeside village vestiges dating from the bronze age are too fragile to be shown to the general public.

To make up for it, an exhibition can be visited at Clairvaux-les-Lacs, with models, a life-sized replica of a house, videos, etc., for an immersion into the lives of the people who lived at the lakesides between 4000 and 800 BC. (Yes, a very long time ago indeed!)

Multiple activities are available for children, who can have fun making pottery, creating jewellery, cooking, and generally sampling the lifestyle of Neolithic man.

More details about the museum

Other UNESCO sites to visit

En résumé