Welcome on board - Bienvenue a bord - Welkom aan boord

Parijs, de Eifeltoren
Bourgondische geneugten
zicht vanaf Pont Canal
ook gasten kunnen zelf varen
afgemeerd in het groen
tunnel bij Chaumont


Marne, Champagne and Saône

This route offers plenty of opportunities to sample food and drink: cheese in Meaux, wines – there are numerous Champaign producers along the Marne river – and, further South, the Burgundian life.
What it also offers in plenty is the combination of the out-doors and the big cities, walking and cycling tours, being lazy or active; something to everyone’s taste.

The trip from Paris starts with the passage through the Canal St Martin, from the north of Paris towards the Seine. A steep descent with 4 double locks and then an underground canal, 1,5 kilometres in length ending in a lock.
We are then on the Seine, going East and after a few kilometres we turn left onto the Marne river. First a lock and a short tunnel and then the well-known setup of suburbs at first, then an industrial zone followed by long stretches of the Champaign vineyards.
We go past Meaux, known for the Brie cheese, but also because of the infamous Battle of the Marne during WWI.
We reach Vitry-le-François, a smallish town where 3 canals join. Sleepy and very French it boasts of pretty squares with lots of terraces.

Leaving Vitry we enter the Canal between Burgundy and Champaign. As of a few years ago this is the new name for this canal that was named quite prosaically the Canal from the Marne to the Saône. The new name is supposed to attract more tourists.

It is one of the major North-South routes of France and it goes up and down because it intersects the Langres heights.
By doing this it connects two watersheds, the one in the North shedding towards the Atlantic and the Southern one, directed at the Mediterranean.
These ingenious constructions connect large areas in France, thus enabling barging.

Since leaving Vitry we have to go up some 240 metres and down another 160, hence all the locks.
230 kilometres, 115 locks, a dozen ponts canal and two tunnels, the longer one measuring 4800 metres.
A pont canal, by the way, is an aqueduct that takes a canal over a river, with a big difference in height sometimes.

This is a very rural route, no big cities and on both sides an important winegrowing area.
The main towns are St Dizier and Chaumont.

At the most Southerly point, at Pontailler s/  Saône, we turn North, into a river, indeed the Saône. That river will in its turn become the Canal de Vosges. When we arrive at its end we will cruise a small stretch of the Mosel river up as far as Toul. This was the easy bit: only 180 meters up and 160 down!

The upper end of the Saône is known to be one of France’s  most beautiful rivers as it meanders at a slow pace through rural and agricultural regions (vineyards included).

We’re going North, so upstream. And, although it is canalised it has stayed river, just a few locks to keep it deep enough, 1 tunnel and heaps of bends and curves.
At Corre the river ends and we enter the Canal de Vosges, the fulfilment of the old Roman dream to have a waterway connecting the Saône and the Mosel.
This is a serious stretch as we have to manage about a hundred locks to get to the summit at 360 metres.
Only at the canal’s Northern end we discover a bit of industry.

Now we are in the vicinity of Nancy, one of the major towns of France where the Mosel is the mainstay of a web of waterways. We cruise a bit of this river , turning onto the Canal between the Marne and Rhine rivers, going West.

Toul is a very nice city, lots of gothic influences and a rich history, going back some two thousand years.
It is also known as the place where an important battle took place between two grandsons of Charleslemagne in 612 AC.
The Cathedral, together with the ramparts built by Vauban in the 18th century, are well worth a visit.















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