Pierre Percée lake - Discover the battles sites of the First World War

Discover the man-made lake that feeds the cooling system at Cattenom nuclear power station and the First World War battle sites around Celles-sur-Plaine.

Technical sheet

A Pierre-Percée walk posted on 06/10/13 by Sarita J. Last update : 04/07/20
  • Walking
    Activity: Walking
  • ↔
    Distance: 15.65 km
  • ◔
    Calculated time: 5h40 
  • ▲
    Difficulty: Moderate

  • ∞
    Return to departure point: Yes
  • ↗
    Vertical gain: + 422 m
  • ↘
    Vertical drop: - 421 m

  • ▲
    Highest point: 561 m
  • ▼
    Lowest point: 315 m
  • ⚐
  • ⚐
    District: Pierre-Percée (54540)
  • ⚑
    Start/End: N 48.453533° / E 6.921667°
  • ❏
    IGN map(s): Ref. 3616OT

  • …
    Today’s forecast: Loading…


(S) Set out from the car park near the dam at Pierre Percée lake (1).
You could also set out from other starting points along the route (Pierre-Percée pier, Salm Castle, or the Vierge Clarisse madonna, for example).
Take the road to the right of the dam (Club Vosgien waymarks with yellow rings) and 100m further on take the left-hand path along the lake.
After following the path for 4.5km, follow the blue cross waymarks down the path to the right (E6°55'46 - N48°28'30).
Climb up 500m to the car park and then carry on to the ruins of Salm castle (signposted) (2).
Come back to the car park and take the path opposite you, with green rectangle waymarks.
Keep following these waymarks until you reach the Vierge Clarisse madonna (3) then take the road to the right until you reach the Grotte des Poilus cave (4) (N.B. after the Vierge Clarisse, take a forest road for 400m, then take a small footpath to the right that is not very obvious, still following the green rectangle waymarks).
At the cave, follow the path with the yellow disc waymarks for 400m, which takes you past Rocher de l’Arche and Rocher de Dame Galle (accessible from the forest road) (5).
Turn left onto the forest road for 100m (yellow cross waymarks).
At the crossroads, take the uphill path (yellow triangle waymarks), which takes you past Rocher de la Pierre à Cheval and then on down to the forest road (blue cross waymarks) and bear right.
After 450m on this road, turn left onto the footpath at a turn in the road still following the blue cross waymarks and carry on until you reach Rocher de la Soye.
Stay on this path until you reach the RD182 (6).
Take the RD182 past the hamlet of Ménelle and Ménelle Museum.
At the crossroads; E6°46'59 - N48°27'26 you have two possibilities; 1 or 2:
1) Take the RD182b as far as the car park after the Maison Forestière de Para, and then follow the blue ring waymarks as far as the Vierge de Para madonna. Turn left and stay on the path with the blue ring waymarks until you get back to the footpath (yellow ring waymarks) that you took at the start of your walk. Turn left to get back to the car park near the dam.
2) Take the footpath with the green rectangle waymarks for 30m and then the yellow triangle waymarks, until you reach point 497 E6°56'17 - N48°27'44 then turn left and follow the green cross waymarks for 500m. Take the forest path on the left (red cross waymarks). After 660m, take the path with the blue ring waymarks, then the path with the yellow ring waymarks and head back to the car park near the dam.


  1. S/E : km 0 - alt. 379 m
  2. 1 : km 0.09 - alt. 387 m - Lac de Pierre-Percée
  3. 2 : km 5.13 - alt. 471 m - Salm Castle
  4. 3 : km 7.12 - alt. 486 m - Vierge de Clarisse madonna
  5. 4 : km 8.16 - alt. 509 m - Grotte des Poilus cave
  6. 5 : km 8.66 - alt. 521 m - Rocher de Dame Galle
  7. 6 : km 11.23 - alt. 348 m - The road joins the D182
  8. S/E : km 15.65 - alt. 380 m

Useful Information

Always stay careful and alert while following a route. Visorando and the author of this walk cannot be held responsible in the event of an accident during this route.

During the walk or to do/see around

At the start or the end of your walk, it is well worth reading the information board on the mound to the right of the dam which has interesting information about the dam.
The ruins of Salm castle with beautiful views of the lake (information plate attached to the rock face before the steps).
Monument to the 363rd regiment – Village of Pierre Percée.
Remains of the Battle of the Col de la Chapelotte (August 1914 – year 1915) – Grotte des Poilus cave served as an advanced dressing station (there is interesting information on this on the internet http://www.lieux-insolites.fr/cicatrice/...)
(5) You can reach the Col de la Chapellote via the forest road (green rectangle waymarks). From the Col, follow the directions given on the sheet above. It is well worth the detour as the First World War site is impressive.
Rocher de Dame Galle where there are still some ruins of the castle built by the Bishop of Metz to besiege Salm castle.
Beautiful views of Celles-sur-Plaine valley from the Rocher de la Pierre à Cheval and the Rocher de la Soye.
Menelle Museum (free admission, open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2pm to 6pm and on Saturdays and Sundays depending on the season. Information on the museum website.) Information and equipment from the war of 1914-18 and the Battle of the Vosges).

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.