Lac Bleu, Midi-Pyrenees, France

Lake Locations:

France - Southwestern France - Midi-Pyrenees -

Lac Bleu is a charming mountain lake in the Midi-Pyrenees region of Southwestern France. It is also known as Lac Bleu de Lesponne, because it overlooks the Lesponne Valley. Lac Bleu was originally named Lac Lhecou, a pre-Celtic word for large or flat stone.

Lac Bleu has an elevation of 6,486 feet and a surface area of 126 acres. Due to deep depths – its maximum depth is 397 feet – the body of water is characterized by an intense shade of blue, thus earning its name. Water is siphoned out of the lake and into the Ardour River, which provides canals and waterways that are crucial to proper irrigation and efficient transportation in the region.

There is plenty to do around Lac Bleu and the surrounding Pyrenees region, particularly hiking. The best time for trekking is during May to October, when hikers enjoy the Lac Bleu circuit – which can be tackled with or without a guide. Another hiking trail from the Chiroulet hamlet leads to the lake and takes about two and a half hours; the return trip leads past the Ouscouanou waterfall and Lake Ourrec.

Many more hiking trails abound in the Lac Bleu area, and the longest and most intense is undoubtedly the Haute Randonee Pyrenee. This challenging path leads from one side of the mountain range to the other, ending at the Atlantic Ocean. The Grand Randonee is a slightly easier version of a similar route, passing from the Meditteranean to the Atlantic through the Pyrenees. Circular wall cliffs are also worth seeing, most notably Cirque de Gavarnie and Cirque de Troumouse. Adventurers of all ages love the cable cars at Lac de Fabreges, a nearby lake. The cables lead to the mountain peak known as Pic de la Sagette, revealing phenomenal vistas en route.

Other activities around Lac Bleu include parasailing and canyoning. Guided pony trekking and horseback riding tours are available for equine lovers. During the springtime, white water rafting is possible when the snow melts down the valley. Mountain biking and road cycling are popular summer activities; oftentimes a knowledgeable tour guide can make the experience more smooth and relaxing than trying it on your own. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are the most popular things to do in the wintertime.

Pyrenees National Park can be found to the south and the west of Lac Bleu. The reserve is brimming with beauty and wildlife, including brown bears. Bird watching for lammergeirs – intelligent birds nicknamed “bone breakers” for their capacity to drop bones from high altitudes in order to get to the marrow. You’ll also find griffon vultures, red and black kites.

Massif du Pibeste is another nature reserve close to Lac Bleu. The nearby Lac de Puydarrieux was named a Natura 2000 site for its populations of common cranes and great white egrets. It is not atypical to see six to eight hundred of these majestic birds socializing at the lake at sunset. Also close by is the Naturelle de Neouvielle (RNR), France’s first protected zone established in 1935. Outdoor lovers might try camping at the preserve near Lac d’Oredon.

On the Spanish-French border, Mont Perdu is an incredible natural mountain near Lac Bleu. The third highest mountain peak in the Pyrenees range, it boasts an altitude of 10,997 feet. Trekking peaks include Pic du Montaigu, at 2,339 meters, and Pic du Midi du Bigorre, at 2,877 meters. The latter peak features a world-renowned observatory for stargazing. Daredevils looking for something more intense can try La Grande Fache (3,005 meters) and the Balaitous (3,114 meters).

Bagneres de Bigorre is a small town to the northeast of Lac Bleu. Its streets are lined with charming cafes, boutiques and spas, and the city shuts down for a fantastic fireworks display every year on Bastille Day.

North west of Lac Bleu, Lourdes has a rich history going back to the 8th century, during the reign of Charlemagne. Many Catholics make pilgrimages to the nearby town of Lourdes, where Bernadette Sobirous purportedly had 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary back in 1858. Since that time Lourdes has attracted many wounded, sick and suffering Christians looking for miracles and inspiration.

Visitors never fail to be amazed at Lac Bleu’s irresistible charm, and it comes as no surprise that vacation rentals and holiday cottages can be found in the Lac Bleu area. Here you’ll find nothing but peace, tranquility and inspiration.

Things to do at Lac Bleu

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Parasailing
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Lac Bleu Photo Gallery

    Lac Bleu Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Surface Area: 126 acres

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 6,486 feet

    Maximum Depth: 397 feet

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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