Lac des Sapins
This is the largest organic bathing spot in Europe. It will take you 1 and a half hours to get there, to enjoy a swim in one of its three artificially-created yet natural pools. There's an entrance fee, but after that it has absolutely everything you need to enjoy a perfect day: picnic, treetop adventure park, paddle boats, etc. And if you're really smitten with the place, you can bring your own tent and camp onsite (unless you'd rather sleep in a treetop cabin). It doesn't get any better than this!
At 28 °C, this is the warmest natural lake in Europe. With its seven supervised beaches, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to swim. And if you've left your picnic in the fridge, you'll certainly be relieved to hear that this spot has a whole host of places where you can buy snacks. Sporting enthusiasts aren't left out either: activities include rowing, horseback riding or mountain biking (the site boasts a total of 150 kilometres of tracks). A sure bet, and a family favourite for the inhabitants of Lyon. Travel time: 1 hour and 15 mins.
Lépin-le-Lac, Savoie (73). www.lac-aiguebelette.com
The most nature-abundant leisure park in the area. With nearly 24 hectares entirely devoted to relaxation, this site is bursting with nautical activities: windsurfing, kayaking, and for those in need of peace and quiet, angling. It's worth remembering that swimming is supervised between 10 am and 6 pm. You can even spend a few days here thanks to the onsite 4-star campsite (tipis, chalets, mobile homes). A great choice.
Cormoranche-sur-Saône, Ain (01). www.lac-cormoranche.com
A 40 minute drive from the centre of Lyon, but well worth the effort. The pebble beach (no risk of stepping on a jellyfish) in Saint-Maurice-de-Gourdans is a haven of peace, and always delightfully cool. You'll need to be careful however, as swimming is not supervised.
Port-Galland, in the hamlet of Saint-Maurice-de-Gourdans, Ain.
Lac de la Forestière
An endless succession of super pleasant beaches in a magnificent and unspoilt setting. Despite being one of the beaches in the Grand Parc Miribel-Jonage area, this one attracts less bathers as you have to walk to the lake (guaranteed no seaweed) and swimming isn't supervised, unfortunately – remember to be careful. To get there, cross Meyzieu bridge and drive in direction of La Forestière. The walk through the forest is a sight well worth seeing.