photo: Ngagnebin

A look at the area and the history of this fascinating area of the Limousin

The diversity of the Pays de Trois Lacs is surprising. It has a plenty to offer – water, culture, heritage, legend and landscapes that will leave you breathless.

Twenty-five years ago, EDF (Éléctricité de France) built 3 hydroelectric barrages – Le Champsanglard, Les Chèzelles and L’Age – annually producing 45 million kw/h of electricity. Such development completely transformed the landscape and today it offers sites dedicated to welcoming tourists and to developing leisure activities.

The 3 lakes cover more than 100 hectares and 25,000 metres of riverbanks suitable for amateur and expert fishermen alike. There is something for all tastes. Poke and Carp dominate the waters at Chamsanglard whereas at Chézelles you have zander. This lake is better suited for more experienced fishermen. On the contrary, L’Age is enjoyable for all the family. Here, fish such as roach and tender are less sensitive to the noise of their surroundings and even novices will not be surprised to make a catch.

For those who just wish to relax and take advantage of the sunshine, you can do a spot of sunbathing at the “plages aménagées” (man made beaches) in Anzême and Bourg d’Hem. They also have pedalos and rowing boats allowing you to discover and appreciate the charm of La Creuse River. Alternatively, those who are more concerned with improving their figure will be delighted with the range of activities available – tennis, mini-golf, basketball, beach volley ball, mountain biking, horse-riding, canoeing and kayaking, football.

The Pays de Trois Lacs has a remarkable heritage at its disposal in the heart of the 10 communities which it comprises. Anzême is one of these communities and Le pont du Diable (The Devil’s bridge) which has a well known legend attached to it.

Before the bridge existed, people had difficulty crossing to the other side of the river and the miller in particular, who lived in the village, had had enough. One day a charming gentleman met the miller’s daughter who was very pretty. However, he was actually the Devil in disguise. He proposed a deal to the girl. If he could construct a bridge in the evening and finish it before the cockerel sounded for daybreak, the beautiful young girl would become his. If he failed she would be free and he would have to finish building the bridge. The girl was convinced that he wouldn’t be able to do it so she accepted the proposal. In order to seal the pact, the Devil gave her a sparkling ring. Although it was not yet daybreak, the Devil had 3 stones left to finish the bridge and the girl was getting worried. Suddenly she thought up a great idea. She projected the light from the ring on to the cockerel. Thinking it was already daybreak the cockerel let out a “cock a doodle do” and consequently Satan lost the deal. He disappeared in a rage leaving one stone left to finish the bridge. The miller was delighted and his daughter was relieved. However she could never find a husband because she would always remain the Devil’s fiancée.

In many of the 10 communities within the Pays de Trois Lacs there are churches that have been recognised as historic monuments. Some contain statues of various saints such as Paul and Peter in Courdoueix-Saint-Pierre whereas others, notably at Bonnat have become a place pilgrimage.

There are also many chateaux in the area, but in order to fully appreciate & understand the charm of the Pays de Trois Lacs you must visit the tourist office in Champsanglard where you can plan where to visit.

This magnificent region has everything from beaches to sports activities, rivers and natural landscapes. It is a true paradise within arms reach.

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