The lake of Saint-Ferréol
An ancient reservoir
A ‘sea in the mountain’, perfect for a family stay!
Did you know?
A reservoir to supply the Canal du Midi
For 200 years, Saint-Ferréol was the largest dam in Europe. Pierre-Paul Riquet laid the first stone in 1667.
In the 19th century, an English landscape garden with water falls and a fountain were created below the 17th century dam wall.
A UNESCO lake
As part of Pierre-Paul Riquet’s overall creation, the lake is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One unusual feature is that it straddles three departments and four communes, namely the commune of Sorèze in the Tarn; Revel and Vaudreuille in Haute-Garonne; and Les Brunels in the Aude.
From the source of the Canal...
... To the Réservoir Canal du Midi Museul
The Réservoir museum will take you on journey to the sources of the Canal du Midi:
- the physical source because the museum is located on the banks of the reservoir which supplies this amazing piece of engineering;
- the historical source because the museum will help you discover the project and meet its wonderful inventor, Pierre Paul Riquet;
The museum was created in the former engineer’s house at the foot of the 17th century dam wall.
Surrounded by the English landscape garden dating from the 19th century, the museum the astonishing history of the Canal du Midi.
In love with Saint-Ferréol
I first came here in July 1989. Before we passed through Revel and climbed up to drop off our suitcases at Saint-Ferréol, we saw fields of sunflowers stretching to the horizon. As soon as we arrived at the lake, we were overwhelmed by the pine forests. It was love at first sight.We have been coming back regularly for thirty years, and my emotions remain as strong as ever each time I see the sunflowers, the pine trees and the lake. Our whole family shares my feelings.
A choice of activities
Something for everyone
Saint-Ferréol has something for everyone, be they young or old, or in search of exercise or rest. With a choice of activities such as swimming in the lake, or hiking and cycling around it, you...
A feast for the eyes
Hiking trails will take you up into the mountain from where you can admire the magnificent countryside and above all listen to nature.
Those who know St Ferréol will tell you that however many times you walk around the lake, you will never see the same view. It’s a place that will surely find a place in your affections.
The activity centre
Take your pick from a range of activities to suit the whole family: pedalos, treetop adventure course, trampoline, mini-golf, mountain biking, canoeing, sailing. And if you reserve in advance, you can try archery, caving, rock climbing and orienteering.
Swim and stroll
Make the most of the lake by strolling around its 4.5-kilometre shady shoreline.
In summer, there is a supervised swimming area.
The tunnel of the taps...
... will take your right into the heart of the dam where you can see the valves that control the flow of water. They were installed in 1829. Contact the Réservoir, the Museum of the Canal du Midi to book your guided tour.
Every ten years, an empty lake!
Each decade, the reservoir is drained so that the dam can be inspected and repaired, and the empty lake reveals a surreal lunar landscape. You will see the bed of the river Laudot and a strange obelisk which is in fact a depth gauge. Make a note in you diary for 2026 whe the next drainage is planned to take place.