LAKE OF ST FERRÉOL
Nestled in its green setting this historic site is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO; come and wander, visit or have a swim in the lake.
Tucked away in the valley of the Laudot River, the lake of Saint-Ferréol is a water reserve for the Canal du Midi. It serves as a reservoir to provide for the water needs of the Canal du Midi, while evening out irregularity of rainfalls on the Montagne Noire. The site is surrounded by the first hills of the Montagne Noire.
It took the famous architect P. P. Riquet five years (1667-1672) to build this reservoir, which was at the time the largest in Europe, with a capacity of 3,5 million m3. The structure of this gravity dam is based on a dike wall held upstream and downstream by embankments and other walls. After intervention the illustrious military engineer Vauban in 1685, the volume of the Saint-Ferréol basin was doubled. Immediately after it was built, the site started attracting curious minds from Europe and even the entire world, among them, the brothers of King Louis XVI; in 1789, Thomas Jefferson, then ambassador of the United States of America came to admire Riquet’s work.
In the middle of the 19th century, the 2 historique sluices were refurbished, in order to embellish the place. These sluices, called “Vannes de la Badorque”, designed in the Romantic style, were installed to create new water features in an English garden: waterfalls and a famous water jet, the “Gerbe de Saint-Ferréol”.
The dam was planted with trees in order to stabilize the basin structure. The lake is surrounded by a thick forest of pines that come right to the banks of the lake and scent the air. Take advantage of this green canopy to relax, picnic and take the time to laze around in the sun! Supervised swimming in July and August.
Ideal to spend a day with the family, to picnic or to go for a walk.