Léran is a terrific village to live in and one of the things we love here is having a lake within walking distance. Maybe a kilometre away? I've never measured the distance and besides, the stroll along a country road is the kind where you're continually pausing to look at, this time of year, sunflowers and butterflies.
It may look real but Montbel is actually an artificial lake constructed to stop the flooding that used to wreak havoc on this area. At the end of a hot, dry summer the water level drops so you can see the stumps of the trees that once grew in this valley.
Sand is trucked in to our local "beach". On Tuesday, around lunchtime, a family was unpacking a picnic. First items out of the hamper: a baguette and a can of foie gras. It's inspired us to roast a chicken sometime soon for our own lakeside meal.
What you see in the photo is only one small part of Montbel which extends further than the eye can see. The tour du lac, a trail we've taken only once, measures 16 km.
Across the water are dark, cool forests and the peaks of the Pyrenees. Around you, trees provide a nice bit of shade on a mid-30s day. A restaurant overlooks the lake, a good spot for a cold beer if you've forgotten to bring your own.
Power boats are forbidden so the only sound from the turquoise water is the occasional "plop" as a fisherman casts his line in the hopes of landing a fat trout.