Lac du Bourget (Lake Bourget), also locally known as Lac Gris (Grey Lake) or Lac d'Aix, is a lake at the southernmost end of the Jura Mountains in the department of Savoie, France. It is the deepest lake located entirely within France, and either the largest or second largest after Lac de Grand-Lieu depending on season.

Lac du Bourget
Belvédère Lac du Bourget, Grande Mollière (été 2016).JPG
View from the heights of Viviers-du-Lac
LocationSavoie, France
Coordinates45°44′N 5°52′E / 45.733°N 5.867°E / 45.733; 5.867Coordinates: 45°44′N 5°52′E / 45.733°N 5.867°E / 45.733; 5.867
Primary inflowsLeysse, Tillet, Sierroz
Primary outflowsCanal de Savières, Rhône
Catchment area560 km2 (220 sq mi)
Basin countriesFrance
Max. length18 km (11 mi)
Max. width3.5 km (2.2 mi)
Surface area44.5 km2 (17.2 sq mi)
Average depth85 m (279 ft)
Max. depth145 m (476 ft)
Water volume3,600 million cubic metres (2,900,000 acre⋅ft)
Residence time8 years
Surface elevation231.5 m (760 ft)
Le Bourget-du-Lac
Official nameLac du Bourget - Marais de Chautagne
Designated2 February 2003
Reference no.1268[1]

The largest town on its shore is Aix-les-Bains. Chambéry, the capital of Savoie, lies about 10 km south of the lake. The lake is mainly fed by the river Leysse (and other small rivers), and it drains towards the river Rhône through the Canal de Savières, an artificial channel. It is a Ramsar site. The extinct bezoule was found only in this lake.

The lake was formed during the last period of global glaciation in the Alps (Würm glaciation) during the Pleistocene epoch. It has a surface area of 44.5 square kilometres (4,450 hectares). The long and narrow north-south axis of the lake extends 18 km in length, and ranges between 1.6 km and 3.5 km in width.[2] The lake's average depth is 85 m, and its maximum depth in 145 m. The lake is meromictic, meaning that it has layers that do not mix.[3]

The lake is bordered by the steep summits of the Mont du Chat and the Chaîne de l'Épine on the west, and Bauges Mountains on the east, which form its shores.

Lac du Bourget was made famous by several romantic poems of Alphonse de Lamartine, including Le Lac,[4] as well as by descriptions by Xavier de Maistre, Honoré de Balzac, and Alexandre Dumas.

Panoramic view from Nivolet peak. Chambéry Airport is visible on the left, at the southern end of the lake, and Aix-les-Bains on the right

Origin of the nameEdit

Named Lacus de Burgeto in 1313, its name "Le Bourget" comes from the eponymous castle, which became the main residence of the Counts of Savoy from the middle of the 13th century until the following century. Formerly, it was called "Lac de Châtillon" (Ripa laci de Castellione in the 13th century), in reference to the castle and the eponymous seigneury. It is mentioned in particular in the donation made by the Count of Savoy Amédée III in 1125, for the foundation of the abbey of Hautecombe, "on the shore of the lake of Châtillon" (supra ripam loci de Castellione).


  1. ^ "Lac du Bourget - Marais de Chautagne". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ Agence Interactive. "Le lac du Bourget : activités, visites, nature, randonnées pédestres - Savoie Mont-Blanc (Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Alpes) - Savoie Mont Blanc (Savoie et Haute Savoie) - Alpes". Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  3. ^ Jacquet, Stéphan; Briand, Jean-François; et al. (2003). "The proliferation of the toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens following restoration of the largest natural French lake (Lac du Bourget)". Harmful Algae. 4 (4): 651–672. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/j.hal.2003.12.006.
  4. ^ "Poems Found in Translation, The Lake by Alphonse de Lamartine, translated by A.Z. Foreman". Retrieved 29 October 2014.

External linksEdit