Lake Aureilhan – Aureilhan, France - Atlas Obscura
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Aureilhan, France

Lake Aureilhan

Winston Churchill painted this lake during his stay Woolsack Castle in the Landes forest. 

Located in the southwest of France near the French Atlantic Coast amidst the Landes forest, the vastest pine forest in Europe, is the impressive Woolsack Castle, built in 1911 on the shores of Lake Aureilhan. The castle had many notable visitors in its heyday, including Charlie Chaplin, Salvador Dalí, and beloved British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who painted the scenic lake during his stay.

Woosack is today a private home and cannot be visited. But in the early 20th century Churchill spent several months here, and met various well-known people during his stay in Aureilhan. (He reportedly was particularly amazed by Coco Chanel’s strong personality.) To escape the heaviness of his duties, he was accustomed to painting the delightful shores of the Aureilhan Lake, where today people can swim and boat in the summer months.

The Duke of Westminster built this Tudor-style home in 1911 in order to hunt deer and wild boar. For Churchill, it was a place to paint in a serene atmosphere, far from London.

Know Before You Go

By plane or by train, it is easy to reach Bordeaux. Less than one hour later, Aureilhan can be seen thanks to a good road. The lake is public, beaches are free.