You are now in the real Auvergne country as you near Lake Aydat that shines through its fringing firs-red soil, stunted shrubs, and, all round, rocks that look as though they have been hurled by giants in the last æons-ago eruption.
With its beaches, nature trails, and shoreline restaurants, Lake Aydat is one of the most picturesque, family-friendly, and accessible destinations in Auvergne’s Puy-de-Dôme department. Located just twenty minutes away from downtown Clermont-Ferrand, Aydat is a blue oasis in the heart of the Chaîne des Puys mountains. In the summer light, its quiet, slow-moving waves, sparkling amidst the backdrop of the forest and the azure sky, form an airy fresco that immediately catches the eye and lifts the spirit. It is no wonder then, why tradition has it that Aydat once served as a getaway for wealthy Gallo-Roman aristocrats.
Go and See
Today, Aydat offers a wealth of leisure activities and attractions for single travellers, couples, and families. Here’s a quick list of fun summertime things to do:
Swim and Sail
Aydat’s main beach is located on the western side of the lake, just a stone’s throw from La Cocotte Bleu – a relaxing brasserie with a terrace that offers unrivalled views of the lake. Just below the restaurant is Aydat’s local sailing club, École de Voile d’Aydat. The club allows both veteran and novice mariners to rent various watercrafts, including paddleboats, sailboats, hoverboards, catamarans, and more.
Set up Camp
If camping’s your thing, you’ll be delighted to learn that Aydat offers various campsite, some of which are spread across acres of woodland in the nearby Lot du Foret. Comfortably secluded in an arbor of ancient evergreen trees, the campground Le Camping du Lac d’Aydat also has its own on-site pizzeria. Similarly, another nearby campsite, the Camping La Clairière provides vacation goers with access to the Bistro du Lac. Both campsites offer a variety of rentable residences, including chalets, bungalows, and tents.
Lake Aydat teems with all kinds of fish. Species range from the minuscule minnow to the monstrous silures (catfish). A 2m (6.5 ft) 2020, catfish was caught at Aydat in 2020. Prospective fishermen can easily purchase fishing licenses for the duration of their stay (single-day and seven-day permits are available) from en.cartedepeche.fr, the official website of France’s National Federation of Fishing.
Hitch a Ride on a Donkey
The Donkeys of Sylvain and Alexandra is a popular Aydat establishment which offers relaxing donkey rides to children above the age of three. The stables are situated along the northeastern side of the lake, on the cusp of the Lot du Foret. The rides, which follow trails in Aydat’s surrounding forest, can last up to one hour depending on the age and experience of the riders.
For more tips on or for help planning your trip to Aydat, contact me via the “About” page.