Swimming lakes and rivers In wonderful natural sites

Baignade dans la Dordogne

Baignade dans la Dordogne, Lot Tourisme/C.Ory

Les Gorges du Tarn

Les Gorges du Tarn, A. Cougnenc

Lac de Saint-Ferréol

Lac de Saint-Ferréol, D Viet

From the Tarn gorges to the Dordogne valley, Occitania has a whole host of spots for a swim. Here you will find rivers and lakes, both big and small. Beaches are made of sand, grass or rocks. The magical colour of fresh water, the sun-filled background of the cliffs, pools and small waterfalls: you can enjoy the freshness and explore a wonderful, sometimes secret and always picturesque spot.

See the swimming spots in lakes and rivers


In Tarn, Aveyron…

Between Lozère and Aveyron, the exceptional setting of the Tarn gorges will inspire your dreams. Lay down your beach towel at the foot of Sainte-Enimie or Saint-Chély-du-Tarn.

Between Aveyron and Tarn-et-Garonne, the Aveyron gorges await you. Get out the swimsuits near the hilltop bastide of Najac, as well as the villages of Laguépie or Cazals (a little further downstream from Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val).

Les gorges de l'Aveyron

Les gorges de l'Aveyron, ADT Tarn et Garonne


Lot, Dordogne, Gardon…

In the Lot valley for example, we can recommend the magnificent site of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie: an area has been set aside for swimming in the river, below a shaded meadow. The River Célé is another bathing spot, with bucolic beaches in Cabrerets, Sauliac-sur-Célé, Marcilhac-sur-Célé…

In Gluges, you can splash about in the River Dordogne with cliffs all around. The River Lot has over 20 natural water bathing spots.

In the Gard region, you can take a swim while admiring the exceptional Pont du Gard.

Baignade dans le Célé

Baignade dans le Célé, Lot Tourisme/C.Ory

Useful information

Most swimming sites in rivers are not lifeguarded. Visitors swim in the rivers at their own risk. Lakes are often beside outdoor leisure centres and the swimming area is marked out and lifeguarded.

Other rivers

With waterfalls and pools

Imagine a series of waterfalls and pools of turquoise water where you can take a swim! Occitania has a whole host of unspoilt and paradisical sites like these.

Among the best are the Duilhac waterfall near the Cathar castle in Peyrepertuse in the Aude region; the Martinet waterfall in Saint-Etienne-Vallée-Française in Lozère; the Baumes waterfall near Saint-Rome-du-Tarn in Aveyron; the waterfall on the River Vis in Saint-Laurent-le-Minier and the Sautadet waterfall near the village of La Roque-sur-Cèze in Gard, among others.

Cascades à Saint-Laurent-du-Minier

Cascades à Saint-Laurent-du-Minier


In Hérault, two Ponts du Diable (Devil's Bridges) from the Romanesque period have great swimming spots underneath them: the bridge at Saint-Jean-de-Fos near Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, and the bridge in Olargues.


And their wide-open spaces

In Hérault, you can enjoy wonderful afternoons on the shore of the huge Lake Salagou. Ariège is not left out with Lake Montbel carved out by nature covering a surface area of over 600 hectares.
In Gers, relax in the countryside beside Lake Saramon. In Aveyron, between Rodez and Millau, the impressive lakes of Lévézou are deployed with a total of 130 km of shores! Visitors can enjoy beaches on the shores of Lake Pareloup, Pont-de-Salars and Villefranche-de-Panat.

At all these lakes there are also a wide range of water sports.

Lac de Montbel en Ariège

Lac de Montbel en Ariège, C Chabanette

Lac de Saint-Ferréol

Lac de Saint-Ferréol, D Viet

A star of summer: Lake Saint-Ferréol

1 hour south-east of Toulouse, near the fortified town of Revel, you can take a swim in Lake Saint-Ferréol, which was created in the 16th century to supply the Canal du Midi with water. Encircled with grass, beaches and maritime pine, it is nestled at the foot of the Montagne Noire. The "Black Mountain", with its bright green colours, is also the setting for the bracing Lake Montagnès above Castres.

Did you know?

Almost 430 swimming spots are regularly checked by the Regional Health Agency. In Occitania, 81% of freshwater bathing sites and 96% of sea-bathing areas are listed as having good and even excellent quality.

Hot summer? Cool down by the River Dourbie!

Have you been to the Dourbie gorges? The Dourbie is a tributary of the River Tarn, and provides an enchanting interlude between Nant and Millau, at the foot of Larzac. Delightful villages and Romanesque churches add to its charm, while the river is ideal for canoeing and swimming.

Video 1:36 © Nant Aveyron.

Bathing places in lakes and rivers

In Occitania, you can swim in many rivers and lakes. Please note that most of the swimming sites in rivers are not supervised. Swimming is therefore at the users' own risk. For lakes, sometimes associated with leisure centers, the swimming perimeter is generally delimited and supervised.

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  • By car: Occitania has a large number of motorways (A9, A20, A61, A75, etc.).
  • By plane: the region has several airports, including the international airports of Toulouse, Montpellier and Lourdes.
  • By train: the region is accessible from all the major cities of France and the European capitals.