No need to be a pro to experience the thrill of water sports with the whole family on the largest freshwater lake in France. Stand-up paddle and canoeing are easy to get started at. A fabulous experience for the whole family!

A family day out

After a night in an original camp site at the Lodging du Lac, in a treehouse overlooking Lake Lacanau, everyone is fresh and ready for a day on the water. We have an appointment with Chris in his cabin on the waterfront just across the way from the Lodging.

He kits us out with life jackets, provides watertight boxes for things like sunscreen, our picnic, water bottles etc, and then explains some important details about navigating on the lake, the wind direction and the flora and fauna that we might encounter. Paddle in hand we down the beach. The sun is shining on the lake and the morning light is magnificent - this is going to be great!

There are four of us, Patrick (dad), Emily and Peter who are 7 and 10 and me, Isabelle, their mum.

My choice is a stand-up paddle board, while Patrick will be in a canoe with Emily and Peter are buzzing with excitement. Chris explains how to hold our paddles, how to position our feet and how to settle into the canoe for Patrick and the children. We're soon on the water. I don't try anything difficult at first, just try to find my balance - the board is wide and really very stable - the children even seem quite proud of their sporting mum! The scenery is beautiful and it's so quiet! There are pretty coves all around the lake, masses forest and “Bird Island” where we are heading.

Surrounded by wildlife

Suddenly a couple of herons pop up to say hello, they are so graceful, with their long legs and slender wings - the children are delighted and Patrick, of course, starts photographing them from every angle!

The water is clear, and we see crayfish, small frogs wandering among the reeds, freshwater turtles basking on the leaves of water lilies.

I never thought to see so many things in a lake. Peter is now thinking of becoming a wildlife photographer! Lucky he brought his onboard camera along!

We stop on the island for a well deserved picnic in the shade of the pine trees. Oysters from the Arcachon Basin and white wine for Patrick and me, while the children feast on Bordeaux cannelés, a crusty pastry made ​​with egg yolks, that we'd like to be able to find at home.

When we get back we decide to do a little sunbathing on the shores of the lake, while Patrick who rowed so much takes a nap, poor mite! The kids have a game of racketball. We then head towards the centre of Lacanau Ocean for an ice cream and watch the surfers on the Atlantic waves. We've all had a fabulous day and I am particularly proud to have overcome my fear of the water!

Good memories of that day at Lake, just us and the natural world.

  • Don't forget water, sunscreen and hats!

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