What could be better than basking in the sun on a summer afternoon? The lake of Villerest lake is ideal for family leisure activities. Success guaranteed with children with water slides, trampolines and pedal boats. For the more athletic, it is possible to stroll along the water's edge or on the heights of the lake to discover its environment from all angles.

Vue aérienne de Villerest et son lac
Aerial view of Villerest and its lake © Guillaume Masseron / RT
Planche à voile et pédalo sur le lac de Villerest

Villerest Lake: un lake for all !

Whether you are with your family, in love or in a group, you will inevitably find an activity that corresponds to your desires. Soak your feet in the water, get on board the Villerest-Un, go hiking on the heights… so many small pleasures possible on this large inland lake.

For those who wish to swim or sunbathe, go to Villerest beach. Sand, water, a paradise for child builders. Sand castles on the beach are yours! In summer, swimming is supervised.

Since 2021, new developments have been made to adapt to the expectations of families. On site, at your disposal, you will therefore find picnic areas, play areas, sun loungers. Everything is there to have an exceptional time.

Nearby activities from Lake Villerest

  • Le Villerest-Un boat

Embark in Villerest on the boat trip "Villerest Un" for a cruise with commentary on the lake and to discover the banks of the Loire. For a quick tour, choose the one-hour ride to Saint-Jean-Saint-Maurice-sur-Loire. You can also book the 3:30 one that will take you to the majestic Château de la Roche.

  • Castle of Roche

25 minutes from Roanne, walk through the door of the Château de la Roche and find yourself in 1910, in the second home of Mr. and Mrs. Roustan. Decors, theatrical visit and... ghosts invite you to a playful and interactive immersion in the 1900s, as if you were there!
And if you want my opinion, don't hesitate to come and admire it at night. Simply exceptional!

  • Fishing at Lac de Villerest

Privileged place for predator fishing, Lake Villerest is THE spot in the Loire department. At the heart of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, this lake enjoys fishing quality which makes it an essential fishing site.

  • Loire train

Are you more comfortable on land than on the water? Take to the skies by boarding the Train de la Loire and discover the river and its wonders in a different way. 3,5 kilometers between the belvederes of Commelle and Magneux in a soft and vintage atmosphere.

Key figures

  • 770 hectares of water retention,
  • 36 kilometers long,
  • 405 parking spaces including 19 for fishermen coming with their boats,
  • 35 000 m² of new relaxation areas.

Hike around the lake

And to admire the lake, nothing like a beautiful hike. Departing from Villerest but also in all the neighboring towns, trails have been marked out to allow you to walk in complete safety.

A pedestrian route is also available from the beach to find the medieval village of Villerest.

© Vincent Poillet / Roannais Agglomeration


Located on the banks of the Loire, a paper mill created in 1884 belonged to the Montgolfier family. Before her engulfment, she made wrapping paper, confetti and streamers. A sign locates this stationery along the body of water!

Lunch and stay around Lake Villerest

Are you hungry? Restaurants are located all around and offer terraces overlooking the lake. Why not savor frog legs while taking in the scenery?

Tente au camping à l'Orée du Lac à Villerest

Campsite, bed and breakfast, lodge or hotel… there is something for everyone. All around the lake are hosts ready to welcome you and help you discover the nature that surrounds them.

Le lac de Villerest dans la Loire et son phare

The lighthouse, a former tourist information point

In summer, the Roanne tourist office moved to the Villerest lighthouse. This information point has been closed since summer 2022.

The local flora and fauna

Green station, Villerest is home to a rich and varied fauna. Three birds were also highlighted by a 120-meter fresco on the dam wall: a red kite, a flaying shrike and an osprey!

The Grézelon walk, on the shores of the lake, presents various educational panels presenting the places and the life of the emblematic fish of the place!

Barrage et lac de Villerest

History of the dam

Located on the Loire River, Lake Villerest is a dam lake. When France and its capital develop, the needs for drinking water are increasingly great and from Henry IV the idea of ​​a dam in Villerest appears!

Many reservoir dam projects were born, but it was not until 1978 that work began. The filling of the dam took place in 1984.


Lake Villerest is honored during major events such as:

  • The triathlon, a sporting event organized for more than 30 years in June
  • The firework July 13, every year, Villerest sets its lake ablaze
  • The Open Fishing. Organized every two years, it brings together 80 teams who come from all over France to fish predators from boats.

L'avis de Frédérique

Frederique's opinion

To have a breathtaking view of the lake, I recommend the belvederes of Commelle and Magneux. One is located at the starting point of the Train de la Loire and the other just a few kilometers away. Here, magnificent panoramas are offered to you. In Magneux, children can let off steam with the games available to them. And you, have fun reading the time thanks to the sundial installed on site.

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