Among the leisure activities we enjoyed while living in Savoie with Denis, renting a boat gave us the opportunity to enjoy Lac du Bourget in an original way with a couple of friends.
If you’re planning a trip close to the lake (Chambéry, Aix-les-Bains, etc.) on your next vacation, I strongly advise you to book your boat. To help you, here’s all the information you need to organize your boat tour.
Where to hire a boat for a trip to Lac du Bourget?
You can choose between different companies to rent a boat on Lac du Bourget. Depending on your location, you can go to Aix-les-Bains or Le Bourget-du-Lac, both of which have harbors on either side of the lake. Located to the north of Lac du Bourget, the pretty village of Chanaz is less well known, but it’s another starting point from which you can discover the Savières canal.
For our part, we chose Bateau Bleu du Canal in Chanaz, based on their good reviews on the Internet. We enjoyed a stroll around Chanaz before starting our boat trip on the Savières canal.
The 4.5 km-long Canal de Savières links the Lac du Bourget to the Rhône. The Savoyard village of Chanaz, along the canal, makes the most of its ideal location to offer beautiful walks and boat trips. Its bucolic setting has earned it the nickname “Little Savoyard Venice.”
What boats can I rent on Lac du Bourget?
Depending on the boat rental company you choose, you can find different types of boats for sailing on Lac du Bourget:
- Electric boats without a license: electric boats are the inexpensive, eco-friendly solution for lake cruising if you don’t have a boating license. From 7 to 10 seats, it’s less powerful than a motorboat, but still comfortable and easy to handle.
- Motorboats with license or pilot: the licensed boat can go faster and be bigger, offering even greater comfort to its passengers. You can hire one if you have an inland waterway boating license, or you can let a skipper take you on a tour with commentary.
- Canoeing: in a completely different style, canoe and kayak rentals will appeal to the sportier among you.
- Pédalo: the famous pedal boat, popular with tourists in summer for a peaceful way to enjoy the lake.
When is the best time to rent a boat on Lac du Bourget?
Between July and August, you’re sure to enjoy the best days on the waters of Lac du Bourget. However, it’s also the busiest time of the year.
For this fabulous activity in Savoie, I advise you to take advantage of the fine days of May, June and September to enjoy your boat trip in peace and quiet. You’ll come across local people sailing their own boats and fewer tourists.
Schedules and prices for a boat trip on Lac du Bourget
Rates vary widely, depending on the type of boat rented, the length of navigation and the season.
For example, the Bateau Bleu de Canal company we visited offers the following rates in high season (July/August):
- Boat without permit: €44 for 1 hour to €198 for the day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Boat with license: €105 for 1h30 up to €400 for the day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This is not very expensive when divided by the number of people who can be accommodated on the boat (usually 7 to 10).
For other types of boats, pedalos often cost between €18 and €20 an hour, and canoes around €12.
Do you need to book your boat tour?
We strongly advise you to book your boat rental in advance. In July and August, you run the risk of not having a boat available. In the low season, it also helps to secure your boat rental. We were the only ones there that day, in the middle of May. So the person came just for us.
Our itinerary on Lac du Bourget
At the time indicated on our booking, we arrived at the company’s hut in Chanaz. After the usual checks and explanations, we boarded the electric boat.
Navigating such a boat is easy. The only thing to remember is that you have to anticipate. There’s a time lag between each movement of the steering wheel and the change in the boat’s direction. If you try to go too fast, you run the risk of going too far to one side.
We began by taking the Savières canal all the way to the end, before entering Lac du Bourget. In the shade of the trees on either side of the canal, we made our way quietly along.
Arriving at the beginning of the lake, we passed between numerous reeds? Then we continued downhill, close to the western shore, to see Hautecombe Abbey. On the horizon, we could see the mountain ranges still covered in snow. We continued southwards towards Lac du Bourget. Then we headed back towards the center before stopping for lunch. We’d packed a picnic lunch and made the most of the sunshine.
We could then see the main towns and their harbors lining the lake, namely Aix-les-Bains and Le Bourget-du-Lac.
After lunch, we resumed our excursion to the north-east of the lake. The water was only 14°C at the time. Denis challenged me, saying he’d swim if I went too… Well, we can confirm that at that temperature, it’s cold. We quickly climbed back in! More daring, our friend had fun swimming to a small beach and climbing a few meters to take a dip…
Close to the end of the lake towards Chautagne and Chambotte, we also stopped near a small beach. We went down to the beach for a while and then slowly climbed back up towards the Savières canal until we reached Chanaz, where we returned to the boat.
A boat trip on Lac du Bourget is a really great activity. In fact, we now recommend it to all our friends and family when they go to Savoie.