A lakeside escape

5 secret lakes for family walks in the great outdoors

Intimate, remote, these 5 lakes are perfect for family walks that take you exploring off the beaten track. Here we unveil our well-hidden gems - the lakes of Coiselet, Abbaye, Etival, Bouverans and Barterand - where you can take the family for a walk, cool off or just enjoy being surrounded by nature.

Catherine Demoly - BFC Tourisme
1 The most picturesque

Abbaye Lake

A small glacier lake that has plenty of appeal, thanks to the 12th-century abbey and Comté-style steeple, the meadows dotted with grazing Montbéliard cows, and forests that stretch as far as the eye can see. In other words, a picture postcard.

  • Walking: a 6.9km footpath around the lake offers the ideal opportunity for the whole family to enjoy a picturesque lakeside walk with a viewpoint (allow 1 1/2 to 2 hours).
  • Swimming: the Abbaye Lake is private property. Swimming is tolerated but there are no lifeguards.

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Maud Humbert - BFC Tourisme
2 The most steep-sided

Coiselet Lake or Chancia Lake

What distinguishes Coiselet Lake from the others is that it is manmade. Filled in 1970, it is surrounded by the most amazing cliffs.

  • Walking: an easy 9km loop trail takes you to the top of Pic d’Oliferne (807m) where you'll enjoy an incredible panoramic view featuring the ruins of a superb 18th-century castle.
  • Swimming: bathing is allowed but unsupervised on the beach of Chancia Lake.

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3 The most protected

Bouverans Lake or Entonnoir Lake

This lake is first and foremost a vast stretch of mountain marshland and peat bog. In other words, it is a fragile wetland in which many plants, insects and wild birds take refuge. In fact, the site is a listed Natural Sensitive Area.

  • Walking: go exploring the banks of the lake via a 2.2km (there and back) designated footpath. In addition, you can go to the nearby Chatel-Cléron panoramic viewpoint for a high-up view over the lake.
  • Swimming: prohibited.

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Julie Hann - bfc Tourisme
4 The wildest

Etival Lake

Etival Lake is in fact 2 small glacier lakes. Remote and timeless, they offer a wilderness that will delight true nature lovers. Surrounded by long forest-topped cliffs, they are home to chamois and even lynx, that you might be lucky enough to spot.

  • Walking: a 3.3km footpath takes you along the edge of the lake (allow an hour maximum) to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the lakes and the village lower down.
  • Swimming: prohibited.

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5 The most popular among anglers

Barterand Lake

Left behind by a glacier that melted a very long time ago, this natural, unspoilt lake attracts mostly fishing enthusiasts. Indeed, its waters are home to all sorts of fish (trout, pike, roach, etc.). So you're bound to see a few lovely boats on the lake, which gives the setting a bucolic feel.

  • Walking: a 7km hiking trail takes you all the way around the lake
  • Swimming: lifeguarded beach (admission fee) in July and August.

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En résumé