Swimming at Lake Gruyere

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It’s shameful that we lived in Switzerland for nearly a year before paying a proper visit to Lake Gruyere. We’d driven past it, around it, and over it on various highways countless times, always saying we should spend a day at the lake. It took the intense heat of summer to finally prompt us to dig out our swimsuits, head next door to convince Simone and Gintare to join us, and drive the few miles to go swimming at Lake Gruyere.

As soon as we could throw our stuff down in a semi flat place above the water line, we splashed in, relieved to finally get a reprieve from the unusually intense July heat wave that had extended into August. It was so hot and dry this summer that the Swiss military created a minor international ruckus when they “stole” water from France for their parched cows.

Modern Farmer wrote the funniest article about of the incident.

Typically not a fan of swimming, Touille didn’t even hesitate to sploosh in after her ball.

She’ll do anything for her ball.

Swimming at Lake Gruyere in Switzerland
Touille hates cold water and big waves. Swimming at Lake Gruyere is perfect for her; it has neither.
Your dog friend will love swimming at Lake Gruyere as much as you will! Click to Tweet
A day swimming at Lake Gruyere with friends
A perfect summer day is swimming at Lake Gruyere with friends.

Of course, every little rat terrier has her limit.

Stranded on a submerged rock, Touille waits for rescue.

After swimming out a bit too far for her ball, she snagged it and then took refuge on a submerged boulder, refusing to plunge back into deeper water to swim to shore.

Taking pity on our poor little rat dog, I rescued her and gave her a free ride to shore.

Touille might be a smart little rat terrier, but she’s not brave. She’s always willing to accept help.

When we were finally all blessedly chilly, we toweled off and climbed a rocky promontory.

A strong believer that wine makes every occasion better (and who am I to argue?), Gintare uncorked a bottle of wine and we shared a hastily thrown together picnic dinner.

If you’re not into swimming, pack a picnic lunch or dinner to enjoy on the rocky lakeshore.

A thin line of angry black clouds crept in from the south, eerily snaking across the lake and blotting out the sun.   Watching in awe at the speed with which the storm descended, we realized the curtain of rain that had quickly obscured the mountains would likely be upon us in minutes.

Angry storm clouds roll in across the lake from the south. The weather changes quickly in these parts.

Suddenly, the wind hit us, needling our skin with fine sand picked up from the beach.  Lightning, visible only as sheets of bright light, flashed inside the curtain of rain.  It was quite impressive!

It was also definitely time to go.

Racing across the rocky beach ahead of the rain, the four of us passed the beautiful old tree next to the Pont-la-Ville church; the tree was flattened against the chapel, branches bent sharply in the wind.

The small lake-side church is often called either Pont-de-Ville or Thusy Chapel.
Storm clouds roll in while swimming at Lake Gruyere
Lake Gruyere is beautiful in any weather.

Laughing, we reached our car just as the first few fat raindrops hit us. Before we’d even reached the end of the winding road out of the village, the deluge enveloped our car.  Content with our memorable first visit to Lake Gruyere, we crept along the road in the pounding rain, already anticipating hot showers and giant mugs of piping hot coffee awaiting us at home.

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Know Before You Go
  • FREE parking with direct lake access is available right in front of the Chapelle de Thusy (Thusy Chapel) on the east side of the lake.
  • The beach front at Thusy Chapel is partially shaded, is a great place for a picnic or bbq, and offers public restrooms.  For those who want to kayak/canoe out to Ogoz Island, the beach is an ideal put-in for small boats.
  • This swimming area is ideal for its sandy/rocky shore as it doesn’t have a muddy bottom with lots of vegetation.
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