Update, March 22nd: as per Cougar’s comment below, the château at Petit Lac Des Cygne is currently closed to public access.
Petit Lac Des Cygne (“The Little Lake of Swans”) is a private estate that recently opened to the public for several days of each week (it is closed to public access on Mondays and Tuesdays). This is a stunning Full region utilising the 30K LI allowance designed by Cougar (Cougar Sangria). Were I to sum it up in two words, they would be: quite magnificent.
The setting in modelled after the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-west France, and is stated to lie some 100 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean and 50 kilometres from the Spanish border with France – both as the crow flies. Originally located on a Homestead region, the setting had only recently located to this Full region, and has been expanded upon by Cougar in the process to provide a rich setting, in which resides the lake of the title, a château, and plenty more to explore.
The introductory note cards, provided automatically at the landing point, might read a little forthright, but the requests made within them are not unreasonable, and do state matters clearly. The region is open to rezzing props for photography; those who do so are asked to ensure they pick up their items after the fact, with repeat offences not being tolerated. A backstory for the setting has been written in two parts, and is available here (part 1) and here (part 2) on Cougar’s blog; I recommend reading both as they add further immersion to a visit.
Surrounded by the peaks of tall mountains free of the grip of snow, and whose slopes roll down to meet the region’s edge, this is a setting that very much has the feel of being located on the French side of the Pyrenees in, as Cougar points out in her backstory, the département Pyrenees Altantiques (which is also the adopted name for the region’s simulator).
A track winds its way from the landing point, lazily meandering between tall grass and trees. It present a route around a local farmhouse (actually the Le Petit Café Cygne – about which you can read more here), complete with outdoor produce stalls, to the walls and gates of the château. Of modest size, this is nevertheless a fine house, with large courtyard to the front and formal gardens to the rear.
The path to the lake is to be found within the château grounds, and despite its name, it is of a reasonable size. Here, swans gently pass the time on the water, sheep graze along the lake banks, and a little outdoor café offers refreshments as it extends out over the water. All of this is watched over by a pavilion and a folly, standing as silent sentinels either side of the water. The latter is the studio for an artist, the former the setting for a small formal area amidst the wilder grasses, complete with astrolabe, statue and seating.
The château is elegantly furnished, wonderfully representative of a house that has been restored with care and love, again in keeping with the region’s backstory. The formal gardens are carefully laid out, a modern swimming pool set back and below the main house so as not to spoil the period feel, while chess can be found on one of the side lawns. Close by, a summer-house perhaps offers space for formal balls or receptions, the doors thrown wide in summer, allowing music and laughter to drift over the gardens.
Cougar describes the region as a labour of love for her; one that has taken several moths to achieve. This is very evident in the care and attention to detail that has been taken throughout the design. There is a natural look and feel to Petit Lac Des Cygne that is simply sublime; perfectly topped by an ambient sound scape (do make sure local sounds are enabled); it is beautifully presented, whether your interest is in exploring, photography and / or simple admiration. Places to sit can be found throughout, and make for welcome spots by which to pass the time.
While there is a lot going on within the region that might affect viewer performance, Petit Lac Des Cygne is a destination that rewards patience, and which really should not be missed.
- Petit Lac Des Cygne (Pyrenees Altantiques, rated: Moderate)