Nature Highlights on the Tour du Mont Blanc: Lacs des Chéserys

The highest lake of the Lacs des Chéserys perhaps gives the most beautiful views you’ll find on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Especially on a clear day, when the Drus and other snowy peaks of the Mont Blanc massif are reflected on the crystal-clear water. Although this is without a doubt one of the most stunning places on our planet, it’s worth taking your eyes off it for a moment…

Beneath the water surface

Because beneath the water surface it’s teaming with life. When sitting on the water’s edge for a while, you are very likely to notice a chaotic wriggling and bustling of small crustaceans. These little creatures, called copepods, are only a few millimetres in size and they jerkily shoot through the water in search of small prey. But these tiny predators are also being hunted themselves…

Alpine newt

The small copepods are an important food source for alpine newts (Ichthyosaura alpestris). This amphibian measures around 12 centimetres including the tail. Alpine newts have remarkable bright orange bellies and they live in extremely clean water up to 2500 meters altitude. The six lacs des Chéserys lie between 2211 and 2133 meters and are the perfect habitat for alpine newts. So keep an eye out for them while sitting on the water’s edge. Especially during spawning season, when adult newts turn to an aquatic lifestyle, you’re very likely to see a few swimming around. And don’t forget to look for young specimens too, the so-called aquatic larvae: they look a lot like their parents, but with external gills.

Hotspot for nature lovers

In short, the Lacs des Chéserys show you mountain nature at its best. It’s a true hotspot for nature lovers, above water as well as beneath the water’s surface. No wonder these six lakes are part of a protected area, the Aiguilles Rouges nature reserve. It’s an incredibly rich area in alpine flora and fauna and the lacs de Chéserys aren’t the only lakes the nature reserve protects. In total the area has 22 lakes, including the famous Lac Blanc, another incredible highlight of the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Simone van Velzen

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