By Miles and Love
During our trip to Charentes, the most surprising place of all were the secret and breathtaking Lacs de Guizengeard. Although we loved the Île de Ré and Île Madame, we knew what to expect.
Yet with these lakes in Charente…we had just heard that the waters were blue and crystal-clear. Nothing more about it.
So we took our equipment, hiking shoes and set off on a journey to one of the region’s least known sites.
It’s not exactly easy to find the beginning of the trail that leads to the Lac de Guizengeard. After hunting around a bit, we found the famous little church, hidden away in the forest. This was our starting point. There were no signs that we were about to happen onto an exceptionally beautiful site.
We saw two or three people at most, who were also in the know about this almost-secret area. After lacing up our hiking shoes, we set off, letting the small signs lead the way.
A hike in Charente in the heart of a pine forest.
This hike in Charente lasted a little more than an hour. It started off with a trail in a pretty, mainly pine, forest.
As the weather that day was hot and sunny, we appreciated the shade. As we moved further along the trail, the scenery almost looked like certain American national parks (which we know quite well).
The ground was white, sometimes yellow, with a sometimes open and clear path; sometimes it was shaded. This was up until we arrived near to the first lake, and where we began to notice this strange blue colour.
The closer we got to the lake, the less dense the forest seemed, making way for spectacular panoramic views. And right before us, we saw the most peaceful of lakes. No one around us. No buildings. No ice-cream vans. No one was swimming in it. The water was intensely turquoise blue. So intense even, that it looked like it was lit up. The calmness was unlike anything we’ve ever felt. At this moment in time, we were truly alone.
Alone before this lake, a secret we wanted to keep.
A lake in Charente with crystal-blue water
When we travelled along the trail to the second lake, we couldn’t believe our eyes. The water seemed to be bluer and more radiant than before (we didn’t think that was possible). This was because of the sun’s rays.
If you do choose to hike up this path in Charente, take note. It’s breathtaking and truly magnificent, but fragile. Swimming is banned, as is wetting your feet and setting fires on the banks. This fragility is part of its beauty and rarity, so it must be accounted for during any visits. We all have to be CAREFUL! Guizengeard is made up of two lakes that have only existed for a short time. Initially, it was a quarry for kaolin clay. When abandoned, it filled up with rainwater.
There are so many more things to be said about this ever so secret site. A weekend jaunt would be perfect to experience this astonishing area of France. It’s the perfect place to recharge, relax, listen to the birds sing and hear the pinecones crack beneath our feet. Be ready for an awe-inspiring view in one of the most beautiful and surprising places in Charentes.
Psst, if you like the lakes, don’t go telling everybody … it can be our little secret!