Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure, Cerfontaine
When Laurent Hubeaux, 24 years old, from Charleroi Métropole and windsurfing enthusiast, arrived at the Plate Taille lake, he is completely surprised. This place, a stone’s throw from Charleroi, gave him the feeling of being on holiday.
17 years ago, in 2001, Laurent Hubeaux launched the Espace Fun at the Eau d’Heure lakes, a water sports centre offering sports and cultural activities along the shoreline, next to a holiday village. ‘There are no engines or petrol here, all of the water sports and the feelings they evoke are linked to natural elements, like water and wind’, he says.
Getting back to nature and the enjoyment that it evokes subscribes to the current trend. Our visitors are surfing this wave and are experiencing the best feelings in the world.
Calm space, close to nature
When we arrive at Espace Fun, we find a sandy beach, a straw hut, and clear water with a few gentle waves. The place is very different. And when the sun comes out, we have the impression of having left Belgium. ‘The peace and quiet lends the place its character. People come with their families or friends, for the day or for a short visit, to do sport or just to enjoy the beach… there’s a peaceful, welcoming atmosphere’.
Laurent Hubeaux’s basic idea is primarily to play with the natural elements: water, sand or matter. ‘People, especially children, are less used to enjoying the natural environment. When a school coach arrives from the city, the children are completely surprised by the place’.
Hybrid activities with nature
The Espace Fun offers water sports, such as sailing, paddle boarding, windsurfing, kayaking or canoeing. ‘For school groups or team building sessions, we offer an activity which combines rowing and running. It works quite well: the participants kayak on the lake, do an orienteering course on the other side and return in the kayak’.
Windsurfing is accessible to everyone, whether you’re 130 kg or 70 years old, you can learn how to do it in one hour.
In addition to water sports, the beach offers a supervised swimming area, wooden games, a bar, and more unusually, a library, located in large suitcases. ‘Every Sunday morning during the summer holidays, someone came to tell stories, a very pleasant moment’.
We are organising more and more cultural activities: concerts, exhibitions, events… A theatre programme will also be included in 2019.
Strategic and ethical choices
Not your typical place, the Espace Fun prioritises the circular and local economy. ‘For example, the drinks sold come from local breweries, such as Saison Dupont or Brogne. We also sell homemade lemonade’.
He also wants to encourage social mixing: ‘People, irrespective of their social background, have a good time in nature whilst listening to music. The place is open to everyone, to both local Charleroi residents and tourists’.
Today, the place attracts a lot of people, word of mouth works well. ‘We limit advertising, we want the place to stay a friendly, family place’. The season begins at Easter with the return of the good weather.
Rue du Bois du Four, SN
+32 (0)485 91 99 90