Swimming Lake Longemer Vosges
1. Swimming Lake Longemer in the Vosges
1.1 Swimming Lake Longemer in summer
Swimming Lake Longemer will be in midsummer a little calmer alternative to the lake Gerardmer, which is very visited at that time.
Lake Longemer has a surface of about 76 hectars, he is 2 kilometres long and has maximum width of 550 meters. His depth is around 35 meters. The relict from the ice age offers nowadays a great swimming pleasure and promises a suitable cooling.
1.2 Not only a swimming lake
The river Vologne flows through the lake of the Vosges. Close to the outflow from the Vologne, there where the lake has his calmest sites, is an aquatic ecosystem situated, which is slowly passing over to a moor. It can be passed by a boardwalk. A camera is recommended, due to the special flora. The peat has not yet accumulated like in the proximate lake of Lispach; which by the way can be reached through a labelled hiking trail.
Among other things you’ll find here a pioneer plant of the moor, the buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata). The plant is under protection. Further information you’ll find on Wikipedia .
1.3 A holiday fishing licence
A little further on you come across to the enthusiastic angler. The daily angling in the little brooks or in the lakes of Gerardmer and Longemer is permitted with a fishing licence during the legal time. The holiday fishing licence (French: permis de pêche) and further information is available on the site of the Office de Tourisme, Gerardmer.
1.4 The chapel St. Florent
The lake is really large enough; there is place for all. Unfortunately there’s no continuous circular trail around the lake.
There is no entrance fee for the lake, due no supervision by lifeguards. You are responsible for your own.
Here at the pedal boat hire, one can rent a colourful boot depending on his wishes.
Due to the size of the lake and the relative little quantity of boats you can enjoy tranquillity and nature, the boats don’t disturb themselves and you’ve the possibility to see the lake in another way.
1.5 Regarding the parking
The big parking area has been rebuilt; furthermore the access has been relocated and is now only useable for cars. Between parking and boat hire there are some new seating with tables. For children, you’ll find a few little amusement rides. Even ice cream, or food is available.
Around the lake some tales are told, for example one from Charlemagne, who liked hunting in the Vosges. You’ll find the story on Légendes de France (French).
2. Some Legends about the lake
2.1 The luce from lake Longemer
Charlemagne, the emperor, had the to habit stay in the Vosges: he had a residence in Champ-le-Duc and went hunting in the surroundings, as in Cornimont, where he had lost his hunting horn (French corne).
People say, he was filled with wonder about the remarkable size of a luce, he went fishing in the lake Longemer. He spared him and wrapped his collar and the golden bell from his greyhound around his neck. Till nowadays, on fine summer day evenings, if you pay attention, you can hear him still jingling…
There where the Vologne is leaving lake Longemer, you’ll find on the explanation table from the commune Xonrupt-Longemer, pictured aside, the following nice legend.
2.2 The Sotré from Lorraine
Galipote, Korrigan, Gobelin or Lamignaces are the names, which are sometimes given to me. Here in Lorraine, I am called Le Sotré. I am a comical gobelin. My ears are pointed and my feet bifurcated. It is said that I have an abhorrent ugliness and that I’m beaten with some intergrowth. I like children. When the evening time has come, I am singing fairy tales for them, which only they could understand. I like sleeping, dancing and eating. But what I like most, is the good milk from the cows.
Therefore, I take a special care for the farms in the Vosges. Once finished my work, I milk the cows and I take care to cut their horns. I don’t like curious or importunate people. Beware to surprise me. A farmer found himself with his cows, without their horns, because he had disturbed me, before I had finished my milking work! So if you spot me once, don’t cry aloud it could be, I would know how to make a fool of you.
Two other tales from which the French source is unfortunately not existing any more, you’ll find below.
2.3 The tree in the lake Longemer
We are told by the legend, that an enormous big tree has covered the vales and all villages from the vologne valley. The branches have been so big and thick that the sun hasn’t been able to shine through and nothing has grown. One day the animals and the humans get together and decided to cut the tree. The deer had to eat away the root, the humans had to apply the axe, the deers, the wild pigs and the wolves had to collect their strength for overthrowing the tree. But the tree has been to strong, and there was only a massacre. However, little later, an awful thunderstorm and lightning has fallen the colossus. The tree had smashed to the ground and had dug an enormous hole, which was filling up with water. That’s the original legend from lake Longemer.
2.4 The treasure in the lake Longemer
A second legend reports, that a treasure is hidden under the entanglement of the above mentioned branches. The treasure belongs to that one, who raises him without any malediction. Till this day, the treasure is still on its place.
From Devil’s Rock you will have a great panoramic view, amongst others, one to the lakes of Longemer and Retournemer. The sinuous mountain road leads to the Route des crêtes and to the Col de la Schlucht. It is the limiting point between Lorraine and the Alsace.
3. Further nearby lakes from the Ice Age
Further relicts from the Ice Age are the calm tarn „Lac de Retournemer“ and the turf lake „Lac de Lispach“. Both lakes can be directly reached by a separate walking-tour without any contact to the road.
3.1 Lake Retournemer
The name of the lake refers to „retourner“ (= return), because in former times the waggoners had sometimes to return. The reason was, that they could not crest the Col de la Schlucht. Unfortunately swimming or bathing is not allowed in this private tarn, but it is possible circle it by foot without any problems.
3.2 Lake Lispach
The Lac de Lispach can be achieved from the Lake Longemer by an approximately 3 km long hiking trail across the forest. Overcoming the altitude of about 200 meters is not so easy at some points, especially when it’s not yet entirely dry. The slowly silting turf lake is circled by a path with horizontal boards, including some French explication tables about the special flora and fauna there.
The white meadowsweet, the queen of the grassland (= reine des près), was used earlier from the not so moneyed people for sweetening their meals. Today the flowering is utilised in some French recipes. The very fine sweetness is recommended for rice puddings.