Lake Pavin at Besse / Super-Besse in the Massif du Sancy

Pavin lake

Lake Pavin at Besse / Super-Besse in the Massif du Sancy

Pavin lake is a crater lake located between Besse and Super Besse in Auvergne. It forms a near-perfect circle with an 800-metre diameter and a depth of 92 metres.

Pavin lake,the youngest of all crater lakes

Despite its age of 6,900 years, Pavin lake is the youngest crater lake in mainland France. It was created amid violent explosions when rising lava came into contact with groundwater. This formed a crater which filled up with water to become a maar.

Tucked between the trees, it is an intriguing sight: a circle with a near-perfect 800-metre diameter and dark waters reaching a depth of 92 metres. Yet under the summer sun, Pavin lake displays magnificent tones of turquoise blue...

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Lake Pavin surrounded by forests in the Massif du Sancy in Auvergne

Lake Pavin surrounded by forests in the Massif du Sancy in Auvergne

Lake Pavin, a crater lake

Lake Pavin, a crater lake

Lake Pavin surrounded by forests in the Massif du Sancy in Auvergne

Lake Pavin surrounded by forests in the Massif du Sancy in Auvergne

Pavin lake the scene of legends

The most beautiful, the youngest, the deepest, the most mysterious... There’s no lack of superlatives to describe Pavin lake!

For centuries, it has never ceased to amaze and to move those who discover and explore it. Scientists, geologists and authors all try to pierce the many mysteries and legends that surround this remarkable site.

Did you know...?

With its evil mind, the proud Lucifer challenges the Creator by kidnaping a young lady. During a fierce fight, the divine spirit forces the evil-one to go back to Hell’s abysses. Sit on the lake’s edge, Evil, inconsolable cried so many tears that the lake filled up with its tears…
During the 19th century a legend is born among so many more: the city swallowed by the divine anger.
Watch out: when the sky’s clear, we can see in the depths of the lake, the bell tower of the cursed city

Lake Pavin and its legends

Lake Pavin and its legends

Pavin lake, a recreational haven with activities galore

Hiking or snowshoeing

In summer or winter, take the winding trail around the lake and into the heart of the beautiful beech forest. You’ll come across multiple viewpoints overlooking the lake’s deep-blue and turquoise waters.

Did you know...?

Swimming in Pavin lake is dangerous and strictly forbidden. Instead, head for Hermines lake in Super Besse.

Snowshoe hiking around Lake Pavin

Snowshoe hiking around Lake Pavin

Lake Pavin and its legends

Lake Pavin and its legends

Snowshoe hiking around Lake Pavin

Snowshoe hiking around Lake Pavin

Find out more about the hikes around Lake Pavin :

Tour of Lake Pavin in summer

Snowshoeing circuit Le Haut du Pavin Besse Pertuyzat

Hiking around Lake Pavin

Hiking around Lake Pavin

Fishing at Pavin lake

The ideal habitat for salmonids, Pavin lake is home to trout and perch in abundance, as well as the Arctic char, a noble fine-fleshed species that has swum in these cool depths for the past century. Be aware, however, that there are conditions attached to fishing in Pavin lake, and that boat fishing is authorised.

Discover the fishing site of Pavin lake

Added bonus

In summer, visit the Pavin lake exhibition to learn about the lake’s fish population and microorganisms, as well as the latest science and the legends that punctuate its extraordinary history.

Fishing in Lake Pavin

Fishing in Lake Pavin

You can even

Go climbing at Pavin lake

The rock faces around Pavin lake have a number of equipped climbing routes. The southwest-facing cliffs formed of basalt columns 25 metres tall include 24 routes ranging in difficulty from level 4 to level 6C.

Discover climbing routes

Your photos
of Pavin lake

  • Jeu de reflets sur le lac Pavin
  • Doubles couleurs d'automne sur le lac Pavin
  • Le fameux turquoise du lac Pavin
  • Le Pavin en hiver