Tour of Lac du Lou
The convenient and steady path makes up for the difference in height. The soul of the natural site is brought by the calm waters of Lac du Lou.
Les Bruyères lake
La Bruyère and the wetlands around the lake are exceptional nature spots home to species of all kinds, including newts, common frogs and brown trout.
15 protected species at national level and 5 natural environments with European Union recognition can be found there. Since 2003 this nature spot has enjoyed Département-level protection through a biotope protection order. There is a very easy interpretation trail running around the lake, complete with educational information, to enable you to explore this remarkable ecosystem.
Intriguing heritage feature: as you head up towards Le Lou lake, you'll see the Cross of the Blessed Paul; a Spanish pilgrim who tried to cross the Alps and whose tomb can be found at Saint-Martin-de-Belleville Church.
Lac du Lou
This name comes from the patois lou which means lake. Formed when the glacier retreated into a depression hollowed out by this one upstream of a rock bar, the Lac de Lou reaches a depth of 17.50 m near the torrent of Revers. Depending on the flow rate of the torrent, its surface temperature varies during the summer from around 5 to 12 degrees. Two fish species have been introduced by the fishing company, the arctic char and the brown trout. The arctic char prefers to live at depth and reproduces naturally in the alpine lakes. The brown trout requires frequent rearing because, if left to develop normally, it dœs not find the conditions necessary for its reproduction. Not as common, the sculpin and minnow, probably brought in by fishermen, have settled in the lake. Well-thought out management is necessary for each species to find its food in this relatively poor and fragile environment.
The common frog
Any pond or puddle is good for me. I am able to breed at 2,500 m! It takes me several years from a tadpole to become a frog. And don’t laugh if you find me very small compared to my sisters in the lowlands, you try spending the winter under 2 m of snow!
Le Lou Lake
An unspoilt valley, a crystal-clear lake and a breathtaking view all make Le Lou Lake an idyllic setting for enjoying a walk in the Bellevilles Valley.
The lake's name comes from a term in local dialect, lou, which simply means "lake". Formed in the depression that a glacier left when it retreated, upstream of a rocky cleft, Le Lou lake reaches the depths of 17.5m near Le Revers stream. Two species of fish now thrive there after being introduced by the fishing society: Arctic charr and brown trout. The first lives in deeper waters and breeds naturally in the Alpine lakes. The second requires frequent stocking with young fish for, although it grows normally, the conditions are not optimal here for it to reproduce. Less common, the bullhead and minnow, mostly likely brought in by fishermen, have also been sighted in numbers in the lake. Careful management is necessary to ensure that each species can find enough food in this environment which is relatively poor and fragile.
From the car park, take the path that rises to the balcony above the Plan de l´Eau and follow it to the Refuge du Lac du Lou (about 1 hour). From the refuge, join the lake edge (2,035m) and take the path that runs to the right. Cross the ´Revers´ torrent over the long footbridge. After this, the trail rises on a promontory (belvedere) and then gœs back down to the left where it runs once again along the edge of the lake. Continue this way on the bank to then cross the footbridge under the refuge and join the ascent path to the refuge. The car park is only about 1 hour downhill.
Families and individuals who aren’t particularly athletic may be content with the return journey to the refuge where they can benefit from the magnificent sight of the lake and the valley.
Rail connection to Moûtiers. Information: www.voyages-sncf.com. Then transport by coach to Ménuires. Information: www.transavoie.com Free shuttle buses to the “Vallée des Belleville” Information: transdev Savoie. Departure for the hike approximately 1km from the village centre.
Access and parking
From Moutiers take the D117 in the direction of the “Vallée des Belleville”. Pass Saint-Jean-de-Belleville, then Saint-Martin-de-Belleville. At the roundabout of Ménuires continue in the direction of Val Thorens. The Plan de l´Eau des Bruyères car park is located approximately 150 m after Lugeland and at the departure of the Bruyères track on the right.
Adapted toilet facilities, comfort walk accessible to those with reduced mobility around Lac des Bruyères
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