The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

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Lac de St Cassien - fun at the lake

Posted by on in Provence-Côte d'Azur

In this gorgeous land that I call home we have beaches galore, we have rivers aplenty and we even have a lake or two.  Conveniently located only 45 minutes away is Lac de St Cassien, a large man-made reservoir covering 3.7 square kilometres, surrounded by natural bush.  The lake makes a great alternative to the beach on a hot summer's day, the main reason for us being the pedalos for hire and, unique to the area, an "Aqua Park" consisting of enormous inflatables and trampolines on the water.

     Lac St Cassien 01

St Cassien lake was created in 1966 to produce hydro-electric power and has since become a popular recreational area.  Nature lovers as well as water sports enthusiasts are well catered for as the western part of the lake is given over to a nature reserve, la Réserve de Fondurane.  Ancient forests, around 180 species of bird, and Roman remains can all be found here.  But let's be honest, that isn't why we go there!

     Lac St Cassien 05

We go for the pedalos and the "bouncy castles" all located in the most popular and busy part of the lake. And we're certainly not alone.  The word popular is there for a reason - it is, very.  But don't let that put you off.  We went recently in August, in high season, and found ourselves our own private little beach, just a short walk from the café and jetty.  We couldn't actually see anyone else except the odd passing kayak and could only hear the sounds of people having fun across the water. From our little picnic spot we could dive off low rocks and swim in the perfect temperature water - it was 25°c.  It makes a lovely change to swim in fresh water after a summer of salt and chlorine.

     Lac St Cassien 07

The Aqua Park opens at 10 am and my tip is to get there in time for this and not too much later as queues form pretty quickly and in the afternoon there can be a two hour wait.  At 10 am the air is still cool (ish), the water clear and the inflatables aren't heaving with people (it gets very crowded with teenagers so if you've got younger kids this is even more important).  5€ gets you a half hour play which is plenty as hauling yourself up on to the giant icebergs, balls, trampolines and rolling tubes is exhausting.  But jumping off is exhilerating and definitely worth the effort.

     Lac St Cassien 11

Next up is hiring a pedalo with a slide.  My boys adore this, and I haven't yet met a child (who can swim) who doesn't love whizzing down the little slides into the deep lake.  Pedalos take 5 people and my advice here is to have two adults (or big teens) as pedalling them into the wind can get tiring. You can hire them from 10€ for 30 mins to 75€ for the whole day.  We reckon on an hour as just right.  Stand-up paddle boards and canoes are also available to rent.

     Lac St Cassien 09

With its southern tip close to the autoroute, only 5 minutes drive from Sortie 36 (signed to Les Adrets, then follow Fayence after the toll), Lac de St. Cassien is easy to get to, but remains peaceful and wild in a natural environment. The lake is bordered almost completely by forested hills, and the shoreline is undeveloped, with only hiking trails to access many of the isolated coves.  Power boats and jet skis are not allowed adding to the tranquility of the location.  Picnic spots and ample parking can mainly be found along the D37 road from the motorway exit towards Fayence.  There are a number of restaurants and hire places on the left and you can't miss the "Aqua Park" on the right at the end of a long bridge.  Depending on the season pedalos can be booked in advance, for more information click here (website in French only).  They, and the bouncy structures, are available from roughly mid June to late September, depending on the weather.  The lake, of course, is a lovely place to go at any time of year, to walk, to picnic, to swim and to fish.

    Lac St Cassien 02

    Lac St Cassien 04

    Lac St Cassien 06

    Lac St Cassien 08

    Lac St Cassien 03

    Lac St Cassien 12

Do you like swimming in lakes?  Do you prefer salt or fresh water to splash around in?  As always, I love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a comment!

Last modified on

Silent Sunday - 24 August 2014

Posted by on in Lou Messugo

  jump in pool Lou Messugo




Last modified on

5 places I could visit over and over

Posted by on in Other

Having recently returned from a trip to Iceland, a place I lived in as a child, I've been thinking more and more about the desire to go back to old haunts.  My curiosity to see and discover new places is insatiable and I usually find when deciding whether to go back somewhere or find somewhere new, the new wins hands down.  In general there just isn't enough time (or money) in my life for repeat visits when there are still so many places I haven't been to. In all honesty, there probably isn't anywhere in the world I actively don't want to go back to, but certain places will always stand out for me as places I'll happily revisit.  Places where I've left a little bit of my heart.  So when I was approached by - Top destinations to go there to take part in their Go There promotion, giving bloggers the chance to win an iPhone 6, I thought now was the time to properly reflect on where in the world I would go back to.  Here's my top 5.


     Paris metro

The city of my birth, where I later lived for 10 years in 4 very different districts.  The city where my children were born.  The city where I've spent longest in my life.  The city I know best.  I can never tire of visiting and revisiting Paris.  I know it so well and yet every time I go back I discover something new.  

     Paris Notre Dame


     Sydney Neilsens Park

The city of my student years, where I lived on and off for the best part of 6 years in 6 different suburbs. The city of my maternal ancestors.  The city that gave me the best student lifestyle possible combining beaches and national parks with urban hip living.  It almost doesn't get better. I've been back a few times but not enough recently.  It's definitely time to return.

     Sydney harbour


    Hanoi Hoan Kiem lake

The city where I met my husband.  The city that changed my life.  The crazy place I called home for 4.5 of the best years of my life in the 1990s and have never been back.  How I long to return.  To see the changes, to relive the experiences, to find the places that have remained the same.  I will take my children there and show them a different world.  Soon, I hope....

    Hanoi baskets


     Reykjavik Solfar sculpture

The city I've most recently been back to and lost my heart to.  The city of my teenage years where friendships were established that last to this day.  The city so safe and so open that it gave me the freedom to enjoy adolescence to the full.  A quirky and unique city that despite its bijou size feels big and grown up.  

     Reykjavik cathedral

New York

     New York hotdogs

An anomaly in my list.  A city I haven't lived in!  A city I've only been to twice but know I will go back to again and hopefully again.  A city I want to show my kids.  A city that I don't know nearly well enough with so many places to explore.  The city that never sleeps, with so much to offer, how could anyone not want to return?

     New York central park

As part of the promotion I'm supposed to nominate 5 other bloggers to take part if they want to. Here they are The World is a BookChasing the DonkeyTravel with MollyThe Riviera Grapevine and Reflections Enroute

Do you like to revisit places you've already been to, or do you prioritise new locations?  Where would you go back to if money and time were no object?  Let me know in the comments.  I'd love to hear from you.


Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday and Travel Tuesday


Last modified on

Silent Sunday - 17 August 2014

Posted by on in Silent Sunday

  éclair pâtisserie




Last modified on


 Living in France


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