Cool down at Pombonne Lake
On the north-eastern edge of Bergerac you can find one of the best kept secrets in the town - the Lac de Pombonne is well known and much visited by locals, and almost completely undiscovered by visitors and tourists.
This is quite surprising since it is:
- free to enter and use
- one of only a few lakes and rivers in the region which has a 'beach' and where it is easy for children to splash around and cool down on a sumer's day
- very pleasant!
Pombonne lake has a small beach and refreshments area on the western side next to the main parking area.
There is a path that goes all the way around the lake (it only about 10-15 minutes to walk around) which is a pleasant stroll and also passes lots of places suitable for you to sit on the grass in the shade of the trees and read a book and look at the lake.
There is also a little stretch of river near to the lake and this too attracts plenty of people paddling and enjoying the cool water.
Don't get me wrong - we aren't talking about the biggest beach (or lake) in the world but then the Atlantic is three hours drive away, making six hours in the car for the return journey...it's not easy to pop across to Arcachon after a hard day exploring the Dordogne but half an hour or even half a day at the lake might be ideal!
The lake is open for swimming from the Saturday 29th June to Sunday 1 September. A life-guard is there from 10am to 7pm every day.
In the future this area is going to be even more attractive to visit because a small nature reserve with beautiful turqoise ponds is being developed next to the lake area.
Finding the lake by car
One of the main roads in Bergrerac heads north from the 'new bridge' (ie not the 'old bridge' 100 metres further to the west) across the river in the town centre and is called the N21 (signposted to Perigueux).
After 3.5 km turn left on the D107 (signposted Villamblard and Maurens and there is also a small sign for the 'parc public de pombonne') then immediately (after about 5 metres !!) turn left again. You pass a small parking area on the left but carry on a short distance further for the main parking.
Arriving by bike or car
There are several cycle routes around Bergerac, one of which leads to (and is signposted to) the Lac de Pombonne. Unfortunately several of the signposts are missing so it can be a challenge without a detailed map. The best way to arrive at the lake by foot or on bike is by following the path next to the 'Caudeau' stream.
To find the start of this path you need to get to Rue Montesquieu, a short road just behind and to the west of the main Bergerac train station. On Rue Montesquieu there is a large wooden barn-workshop (on your right as you head out of Bergerac). On the left of this barn there is a track that leads along the stream and on the lake.
You might think you are entering private property as you look at the entrance to the track but you're not, and once you find the start of the path you can't go wrong, it just carries on all the way to Pombonne!