Serre-Ponçon lake


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Serre-Ponçon has the clearest sky, freshest air and purest water so before you even leave home you know your holidays are bound to be a great success.  When you get here, the spectacular scenery and interesting sites, the multitude of sports and cultural activities on offer, and the friendly welcome from the locals will convince you!
You were right to choose our beautiful region for your holidays – we are sure you will want to come back!
Activities available, locally or nearby :
Mountain biking, hiking, pony trekking or hiking with donkeys. White water sports such as rafting and hydrospeed or watersports on the lake, such as sailing, sea kayaking, pedaloes, electric boats and canoeing, or swimming, diving and fishing. Sports in the air such as paragliding, hang-gliding, or gliding. Mountain sports such as rock-climbing, via-ferrata and MTB descent. And not forgetting adventure assault courses, tennis, motor sports and go-karting.
Places to Visit :
The Lake “Muséoscope” museum and the panorama from the belvedere at the dam, the Serre –Ponçon “Maison de l’Eau et des Energies “( water and energy exhibition centre),”Apiland”, the  Old Mill honey house in Rousset.
The lake stretches over two departments, namely:-
The Hautes-Alpes ,with lots of amenities for boating and swimming, and villages like Espinasses and Rousset, with the dam,  on the banks of  the re-regulating reservoir.
And the Alpes de Haute-Provence , more unspoiled and wild with sheer, rugged cliffs very like the coastline of Corsica, with the Village of Bréole at the start of the Ubaye valley and  Saint-Vincent les Forts which looks over the lake from a height of 1280m and has a sandy beach.
It is the largest reservoir in France, with 1.2 billion m3 of water, fed by the river Durance on the Hautes-Alpes side and by the Ubaye on the Alpes de Haute-Provence side. Its highest point reaches 780m and with a surface area of 2800 hectares, it is as vast as lake Annecy.
The Provencal climate, the great facilities and the purest water all go to make the Serre-Ponçon lake a small paradise for all sorts of water sports and fishing.
EDF strives to ensure that the reservoir is full at the beginning of the summer, and the lake is also used for filling up the Canadair planes for fighting forest fires, which unfortunately are all too common during the summer period.                                                                                                        
The Saint-Michel Chapel.
The chapel, set in the middle of the lake, is the emblem of Serre-Ponçon and was built in the 12th century in the hamlet of Les Couches. It belonged to the Saint-Michel de la Cluse Priory.
The chapel was destroyed in 1692 by the Duke of Savoy’s troops and rebuilt at the end of the 17th century.
The chapel was due to be demolished during construction of the Serre-Ponçon dam in the 60’s, but its position on a promontory meant it could be saved.
Sitting majestically on a tiny islet, the chapel is today one of the most photographed sites in the Hautes Alpes. We can get close to it but not visit it.
Abbaye de Boscodon
Set against a mountain backdrop at a height of 1150m, in the heart of a beautiful fir forest, the Abbey is a remarkable monument from the 12th century.
 It was founded in 1130 by Guillaume de Montmirail and 12 years later was affiliated to the Order of Chalais en Chartreuse and became the most important Abbey of the Order, living from forestry and farming.
During the 14th century, constant wars and frequent raids by looters sacked the monastic buildings and the cloisters, but fortunately the Abbey was spared. At the end of the 14th century, the Boscodon Abbey was united with the Benedictine Abbey Saint-Michel de la Cluse in Piedmont. Although this union was only to last several years, Boscodon remained Benedictine.
Rebuilt at the end of the 17th century, the religious order was dissolved in 1769      and the property united with the Archdiocese of Embrun. The Abbey was sold as a property of the nation in 1791 and became the heart of a small rural hamlet for almost 200 years.
In 1972 , the Association ‘les amis de l’abbaye’ (friends of the Abbey) was formed to restore the building to its former use. It was listed as a historical monument in 1974 and then inhabited by an order of Dominican nuns. Architectural renovation has since been carried out , making it today a masterpiece of monastic religious art, with a Romanesque style of an extreme purity, nearing primitive Cistercian art. The Abbey is most attractive with its purity of style, luminosity and  harmony of volumes.
since 1st October the Abbey opens at the following times:-
The Abbey church and St Firmin chapel : every day , 8.30 am to 6.30 pm (free access).
The audiovisual  tour : daily, 9.30am to 6.30pm (free access)
The cloister, the Chapter room, the Warming House, the Lay Brothers’ or Converts’ room (museum of tools), entrance costs 2€, open during library opening hours :-
From Tuesday to Saturday : 10.30 am to 12 and 2.30pm to 5.30 pm.
On Sunday, after 11am mass  - 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm.
Closed on Mondays.
Directions to :
GPS coordinates
Latitude : 44.52790
Longitude : 6.39919