2020 220620141147 Rémi Morel Ot Vars2020 220620141147 Rémi Morel Ot Vars
©2020 220620141147 Rémi Morel Ot Vars|Rémi Morel - OT Vars

High altitude lakes

50 shades of blue

In summer, there’s no need to worry about heatstroke! With the multitude of lakes that adorn our territory, whether natural, at altitude or man-made… You’re bound to find a cool oasis within easy reach!


Never heard of it!

Remains of ancient glaciers or shaped by the hand of man, high-altitude lakes fascinate and are often the goal of hikers in search of life-size thrills. True mirrors of the surrounding vegetation and peaks, they reflect the sky and scenery to double the dose of beauty.

En route for a fascinating and hypnotic journey into the great blue of the peaks.

Like you were there

Un été loin de la canicule... - Vars
Un été loin de la canicule... - Vars
Un été loin de la canicule... - Vars

Very ethereal, Lac de l’Etoile is surrounded by the green of scattered tufts of grass that color a very mineral setting filling a ridgeline crevasse. Nothing stands between it and the sky, whose clouds are easily reflected in its limpid waters, reminiscent of a sapphire set in the rocky mass. It’s not unusual for a tongue of snow to lick the edges of the lake at the beginning of the season, when it’s at its most generous with water.

The immensity that surrounds it makes it smaller than it seems, and, perched at 2755m, it’s the center of a round of peaks, each more majestic than the last. It’s a place that feels like the end of the world, flooded with pure air and the vertigo of untouched immensity. The trail winds its way along ridges that resemble roller coasters with peaks softened by erosion.

The Lake of Nine Colors is the little gem to discover: nestled in the hollow of pink rocks, it seems set in a jewel box with multiple color variations between glacier blue and turquoise blue depending on the orientation of the sun. This is what gives it its name. An ideal spot for picnics and contemplation.

To add to the magic of the place, if you hear pebbles tumbling down the surrounding scree slopes, try to remain calm, as these are only stones moved by the many ibex inhabiting the area. They often make majestic appearances, in pairs or in herds, to magnify the place with their presence.

The most accessible of the Vars lakes lies on the edge of the Grandes Alpes road, the D902, towards the Col de Vars. Did you know that this was the original site of the Vars resort? Architect Le Corbusier himself had imagined a ski resort here. History decided otherwise, and it was Napoleon’s legacy that left its mark with the construction of the refuge of the same name in 1858.

Naturally located on a marshy site fed by the Chagne torrent, it is particularly popular with trout fishermen. It offers a pleasant leisure spot on the hiking trails leading to the Col de Vars. It will also be a popular stopover for the Route des Grandes Alpes itinerants, who will be able to rest here and enjoy the welcome and the table at the Napoléon refuge.

This lake may have been shaped by man, but it nonetheless takes its rightful place in the surrounding mountain landscape. Built on a plateau, it feeds the snow guns in winter and becomes a haven of peace in summer, easily accessible by the Vars Sainte-Marie chairlift, or by footpaths from the hamlet of the same name for the more courageous.

Enclosed by a larch forest, Lac de Peyrol acts as an oasis, ideal for picnics on the grass or on one of the wooden tables provided. For fans of beautiful shots, this lake is a perfect reflection of the surrounding trees, giving the landscape a very special depth for a truly “Instagrammable spot”.

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At the summits

Discover some of our most beautiful hikes!

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