‘‘ Serre-Ponçon, le luxe sauvage
Bois vieux Serre-Ponçon
Lac de Serre-Ponçon Chapelle St Michel

Serre-Ponçon and its exceptional environment

Au cœur des Hautes-Alpes et de ce territoire magique, noyé de bleu et de soleil, les montagnes se reflètent sur un miroir unique : le lac de Serre-Ponçon !
La Durance et l’Ubaye, affluents du lac, fournissent une eau riche en minéraux et en sédiments qui donnent cette teinte des mers du sud surprenante et caractéristique à ses criques sauvages, véritable invitation à la découverte !

Of the lake's 90km of shoreline, only 13km has been developed for tourism. Nature remains omnipresent all around the lake.

The origin of Lac de Serre-Ponçon and its name

The idea of taming the Durance and building a vast water reservoir emerged as early as 1856.
The project's promoters sought to regulate the Durance, a river known for its devastating spring and autumn floods. The destructive floods of 1843 and 1856, followed by the shortage of 1895, led to the first plans for the Serre-Ponçon dam.

From the outset, the " Serre-Ponçon" site aroused keen interest. The gully between the rocks of Serre-Ponçon and Serre de Monge was ideal for dam construction, as it offered the possibility of creating a high-capacity reservoir.

It would take more than 4 years for Lac de Serre-Ponçon to see the light of day in 1961, after several months of impoundment (from November 16, 1959 to May 18, 1961).

Serre-Ponçon dam

The Serre-Ponçon dam

Built byengineer Ivan Wilhelm, the Serre-Ponçon hydroelectric dam has several functions:
- it effectively regulates the impetuous flow of the Durance,

- irrigates land in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region
- generates electrical energy

The creation of Lac de Serre-Ponçon marked the beginning of significant economic and tourism growth for the region, a momentum that continues to this day.

It has rapidly established itself as a leading tourist destination in the Southern Alps, stimulating the development of hotels, restaurants, campsites, activity centers and water sports centers.

  • Serre-Ponçon dam ©Serre-Ponçon

    Key figures

    • 1,27 milliards de m3 d’eau = 320 000 piscines olympiques
    • Une superficie de 2800 hectares = 1555 terrains de football
    • 20km long and 3km wide at its maximum level
    • 123m de haut, 600m de large et 650m d’épaisseur
    • Côte maximale 780 NGF
    • La température de l’eau varie entre 10°c et 24°c selon la saison et la météo.

    Serre-Ponçon est le plus grand lac artificiel de France métropolitaine et l’un des plus grand barrage en terre d’Europe.

  • Serre-Ponçon - Rémi Morel - OT Serre-Ponçon

    Find out more about our lake and its history

    Several places to visit await you:

Why is the lake low in winter?

EDF regulates the height of Lac de Serre-Ponçon according to the hydroelectric output required, the downstream capacities of the reservoirs, and the inflows from the Ubaye and Durance rivers.

So how does the lake fill up in spring?

In spring, as the snow melts, the Ubaye and Durance rivers, often swollen by rainfall, allow the Lac de Serre-Ponçon to fill up in summer.


Focus on water sports

Families will particularly appreciate the 9 beaches Blue Flag" beaches dotted around the lake, with water temperatures of up to 23°C.

The services offered by the harbourmaster's office will facilitate your boating activities, as the lake offers nearly 1,000 moorings spread over 13 ports and pontoons. ports and pontoons and 3 refuelling stations. The lake is subject to appropriate regulations that respect all boating practices.

All boating licenses are authorized on the lake (coastal, river, offshore), and you can even take your coastal license on the lake from May to October! And launching is free...

From May to October, the touring boats touring boats as well as the Club Nautique Alpin de Serre-Ponçon at Embrun lake.

By June, all the water sports bases are operational and you can enjoy a full range of activities: rowing, stand-up paddle, windsurfing, kite-surfing, canoeing, sea kayaking, catamaran, pedal boat, schooner, jet ski, boat with or without a license, touring boat and aperitif boat, school boat, towed buoys, water skiing, wakeboarding... unless you prefer to fly over the lake in a microlight/ hydroplane!

Hydro speed Durance
Serre-Ponçon Rafting

Living water!

An invigorating playground.

The whitewater sports begin as early as April, with kayaking, rafting andhydrospeed. In fact, it's hard to imagine a better base camp for white-water enthusiasts than Serre-Ponçon. Two rivers renowned throughout Europe for the quality of their rapids. On one side, the Ubaye, the last naturally flowing river in the French Alps, offers 52km of courses and 60 rapids for rather sporty navigation. On the other, the more accessible Durance offers a progressive and varied course. Fed by the glaciers of the Ecrins massif, the river's flow remains sufficient, even in the height of summer. At Châteauroux-les-Alpes, the Rabioux wave is a freestyle mecca that attracts riders from all over the world.

There's a wide range of whitewater activities for all ages and abilities, all of them original and sporty. A must-try for those who love refreshing sensations!

Water sports, Lac de Serre-Ponçon

The Serre-Ponçon thermal bath, a sure bet!

Serre-Ponçon is a mecca for sailing, in the broadest sense of the term, and for all levels of sailor, thanks to a regular thermal wind from the west/southwest, with conditions ranging from 8-10 knots to 25 knots in June and July, and constant water temperatures of 20 degrees.

The mountains encircling the lake and the thermal amplitudes between day and night, which start to develop in fine weather, favor the appearance of almost daily thermal breezes from midday until late afternoon.

Stable, regular conditions, more pronounced from Savines-le-Lac (venturi effect) up towards Embrun, make this area "the spot" for sails, kite-surfing and more and more foils, the new glide that's flourishing in Serre-Ponçon!



Lac de Serre-Ponçon and Embrun are also renowned for their fishing. In fact, fishermen are the most assiduous sailors, and don't hesitate to launch their boats in the middle of winter to fish for whitefish, a fish specific to the great Alpine lakes. Serre-Ponçon is particularly renowned for its pike and lake trout, but you'll also find perch, carp and other white fish.

Fishing is permitted all year round on the lake, with specific regulations for carnivorous fish, night carp fishing and trolling. The rivers feeding the lake are all in 1st category (mainly populated by trout), open from March to the first Sunday in October. This is an advantage for the Hautes-Alpes, because in other French departments, 1st category rivers close in mid-September, so you have 15 extra days of trout fishing in the Hautes-Alpes! Another advantage is that the mouth of the Durance into the lake offers a "no-kill" fishing trail that can be fished all year round!

Other services for angl ers include a handi-fishing pontoon at the Embrun lake, and the "cabane des pêcheurs" at Les Eygoires in Savines-le-Lac, a town that has been awarded the "Station Pêche" label (next to a boat launch): a place for information and numerous fishing events. Since 2018, the Serre-Ponçon lake has been awarded the "parcours passion" label by the FNPF national federation and the Hautes-Alpes fishing federation, thanks to its many services and exceptional site, with a high diversity of fish species.

Serre-Ponçon weather ©LeNaturographe

Serre-Ponçon, the ideal base camp for all outdoor activities!


The Ecrins National Park stretches from the shores of the lake to the highest peaks, at an altitude of almost 3000m. High-altitude lakes (Lac Brun, Lac de l'Hivernet, Lac du Crachet), waterfalls (Cascade de la Pisse, de Réallon, des Razis, etc.), alpine meadows and peaks can all be found here, with Lac de Serre-Ponçon as a backdrop.

Make your choice on the Serre-Ponçon hiking portal ! The shores of the lake offer a number of itineraries accessible to all, mainly the tour of the lake, the Petit Liou wetland, the Crots dike, the path linking the bays of Chanteloube and Saint-Michel... Higher up, the lake of Saint-Apollinaire, Les Gourniers, Réallon, Les Orres, Crévoux and the Châteauroux-Les-Alpes valley.

Of course, you can also enjoy cycling and mountain biking, equestrian and motorized sports, aerial sports and all kinds of other outdoor activities. outdoor activities or simply family fun family (inflatable games, adventure park, panoramic chairlifts...)