About a week ago, we had the privilege of going sailing on Lac Hourtin. Personally, I had been on a sail boat in years. It brought back many memories of my youth, spending summers on a lake and taking our sunfish sailboat out now and again. This sailboat was much bigger complete with a cabin. This day was a gift from a friend. (She and her family had won this voyage at an annual church bazaar and unfortunately, had to move back to the States before they could use it - so she passed it off to the girls and I. For that we say Thank you!)
Lac Hourtin is located in the Médoc region - just Northwest of Bordeaux, in the Gironde region. It is one of the largest lakes in France, and the largest freshwater lake, by surface area, situated entirely in France. It's 18 Km (11 miles) long and at it's widest point 5 Km (3 miles). It's relatively shallow with a maximum depth of 10 m (33 feet). Much of the Northwestern side has been designated as a nature preserve of dunes and marshlands, so the lake remains very natural, unspoiled and sparsely populated.
Our day out included starting from the Southwestern domaine of Bombannes and sailing North to an isolated bay for a picnic barbecue on the beach.
We set sail up the Northwestern side of the lake and the girls enjoyed the experience. Initially they had to adjust a bit to the leaning of a sailboat, but the smoothness and natural feel soon gave way to their enjoyment of the experience.
We were in experienced hands with our knowledgeable skipper, who maneuvered us gracefully up the lake. As we arrived in the designated bay, we anchored and took down the sail. The girls enjoyed swimming, as we barbecued sausages on the shore and organized our beach lunch.
After our wonderful picnic on the beach, we set sail back down the lake. This afternoon included a practice 'man-overboard" drill - throwing out the buoy and also the girls taking turns controlling the sailboat. You can see from the photos, how much fun they had - especially my youngest!!
It was a beautiful afternoon to sail. A bit hot, but with a gentle breeze it was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Lac Hourtin-Carcans is known for sailing - it's a great place to learn and enjoy.
Once we arrived back in Bombannes and said goodbye to our excellent skipper, the girls and I headed to the beach in Carcans-maubuissson. They wanted to swim more and enjoy the cool waters that beckoned them. Even if one doesn't have immediate access to a sailboat, there are plenty places where they can be rented. Other water boats are also available - kayaks, windsurfers and paddle boats just to name a few.
The final part of our afternoon, the older girls decided to kayak and wind surf. It was a perfect time to do both and a great way to end our day on the lake.
I love this lake, as the beach is shallow, not overly populated, and the water is fresh but not cold. It's a great alternative to the strong ocean waves. This is definitely a family place to enjoy!!