Lac de la Cavayère (approx 40 mins away)

Also known as Carcassonne Plage, it is an artificial lake close to the medieval town of Carcassonne.  It was created by the building of a 23 metre high dam in 1988 after severe forest fires affected the area in 1985. The surface area of the lake, which is fed by the creeks of Montirat, Bazalac and Mitgé, is 180,000 m². The beaches slope gently and there are supervised bathing areas. Boats are available for rent and there are picnic areas and a crazy golf course as well as a nearby chateau, in high season there is an inflatable water park set up on the lake. Close by to the lake is zip lining through the canopy of the pine trees bordering the lake, and even an Australian wildlife park.

Bassin de Saint-Ferréol (approx 40 mins away)

Was created as the result of a large earth dam across the mouth of the valley of Laudot stream at St. Ferréol in the Montagne Noire. It was originally proposed by Chevalier de Clerville and accepted by Pierre Paul Riquet as an integral part of the Canal du Midi. Riquet needed to provide a sufficient water reservoir to allow the locks to function year round, even in the dry summer season. The dam was begun on 15 April 1667 and was completed in four years. It was the first dam built specifically to supply water to a navigable canal and was by far the greatest single work of civil engineering undertaken during the building of the Canal du Midi.

At 670,000 m² it is a large reservoir, and one of our favourite walks on a weekend afternoon at probably 5km round the shaded path that hugs the embankments. It is a lively location with plenty of fabulous cafes, restaurants and ice cream bars. There are children’s play areas, picnic tables, lots of shade under the pine forests surrounding the lake, and in season pedaloes and hobby catamarans can be rented for a play on the lake. Just 2km from the lake is the lively ton of Revel, most noted for its central square with it’s partially covered 14th century roof and distinctive bell tower, under which is one of the better local markets on a Saturday morning.

 

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