Lac de Nantua Baignade

Lac de Nantua

This lake of glacial origin spanning 141 hectares is as suitable for carp fishing fans as it is for swimmers. Surrounded by limestone cliffs, its water varies from blue to dark green. Pedalos, supervised bathing at the Stade Nautique, sailing, fishing, a picnic area and games for children all await visitors!

A lake of many colours

Lake Nantua, sapphire blue in overcast weather and emerald green on sunny days, is a spectacle of colours. Alexandre Dumas referred to it when he wrote his book "Impression de voyage" in 1834: "the pretty little sapphire blue lake, encased like a jewel that nature is afraid of losing". Towards the middle of the Tertiary Period, during the folding of the Jura, a large fault split the Monts d'Ain secondary range from east to west. Waterways, mainly the Merloz and the Doye, travelled along it on their westward course.
  • Viaduc de Nantuaa
    Viaduc de Nantuaa
  • Altitude: 475 metres
  • Depth: 43 metres
  • Surface area: 141 hectares
  • Width: 650 metres
  • Length: 2.7 km
  • Water temperature on 29/08/2018: 22°C

During a period of 200,000 years, with thrusts and retreats, all of our region and the current site of Nantua lay beneath an average thickness of 500 m of ice… This enormous, slow-moving weight widened and deepened the fault, and deposited a mass of waterproof glacial mud on the bottom. As it withdrew, the glacier left behind thick frontal moraines which formed a barrier to running water. This was the birth of Lake Nantua. At a time when humans’ primary concern was finding food, a lake was an easily exploitable food source. From Neolithic times: the Nantua site was occupied by a fishing population.

Water activities with a holiday vibe !

Your feet in the water, your head in the clouds, an emerald green vista all the way to the horizon: now that’s a prospect that can’t fail to move you! Between two mountains, Lake Nantua offers many fun water sports activities to enjoy together, accessible to all, like canoeing, waterskiing, paddle boarding, pedalo…

See the list of water sports!

Nantua au fil de l’Eau

Nantua along the Water

Want to find out more? Follow the guide on a “Nantua along the water” tour! From the lake’s formation to the springs via a legendary pond, you will discover Nantua in a whole new light!

Book your guide with the Tourist Office !


  • In the Middle Ages: the Abbey monks and villagers competed for fishing rights.
  • During the Revolution: the lake became State property
  • In 1856: the municipality lowered its water level by 1.5m to avoid floods
  • In 1868: the municipality bought the lake from the State for 4,000 gold francs (€600,000)

Did you know ?

Lake Nantua is classified since 1936 protected natural site, it is the largest natural lake of the department of Ain.

On video


Office de Tourisme Haut-Bugey – Espace Trois Lacs
14 rue du docteur Mercier – 01130 NANTUA

Tél. +33 (0)4 74 12 11 57

To find a way

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