The history of the Salagou and the cirque de Mourèze

PAYSAGE_lac_du_salagou@Georges_Souche – Lac du Salagou avec vue sur la presqu’île de Rouens

The construction of a dam to contain the waters of the Salagou was first envisaged in the ‘50s.

At the time there was an overproduction of wine. This inspired the idea of a more diversified production of a fruit growing culture. For which it was necessary to have water for irrigation.

Here in the autumn an occurring phenomenon called the « cévenol » brings with it lots of rain and often devastating floods. Even the modest Salagou turns red and flows into the river Lergue and the river Hérault downstream with spectacular consequences.

It was thus decided to create the lake Salagou to regulate its swelling and as such give preference to a water reserve.

Construction work started in 1964 and finished in 1969 while preparation of the impoundment took almost three years.


Some figures:

  • The dam is 3140 feet long and 204 feet high. It needed 1 650 000 tons of basalt rock for the building of the rock walls.
  • The lake Salagou retains 410 million cubic feet of water. It has a surface area of 1853 acres. It can reach a depth of 230 feet.


No programme for fruit growing cultivation ever saw the light of day. Other neighbouring regions took up the initiative.

Today the lake Salagou has become a key tourist destination admired for its beauty, its diversity and its singularity! It has become « paradise » for lovers of nature and big open spaces!

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