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One of the oldest canals in France, It was ordered by
Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully, in order to develop the
trade of grain, and to reduce the food shortages. Its
construction started in 1604 and was completed in 1642.
Between six and twelve thousand workmen worked on this canal
which connects the basins of the River Loire and the River
Hugues Cosnier obtained the contract to build the first canal
crossing a watershed. It was thus necessary to use locks,
invented (but never built) by Leonardo da Vinci. A flight of
locks was built in Rogny: it has seven successive locks.
But the king Henri IV, withdrew his support for work. Hugues
Cosnier had to give up work in 1611. In 1638, Guillaume
Boutheroue and Jacques Guyon proposed to resume work, and
receive from Louis XIII the letters patent with this
They created with other nobles "Compagnie des seigneurs du
canal de Loyre en Seine". Work was completed the following
year. Being a junction canal (between two different basins),
it was not only necessary to build locks, but also to design a
particular level, on the watershed. Indeed, for each passage
of boat, one needed to use the locks displacing approximately
2000 cubic meters of water.
Ponds were therefore dug. They include the ponds of Turfs,
Chesnoy, Grand-rû, Tilery, Du Chateau, Cahauderie, Beaurois,
the Bourdon reservoir, and the Moutiers reservoir on the Loing.
The canal was repurchased by the State in 1860.
In 1894 and 1895, an elevatory factory was built in order to
bring water to the canal, from the summit pond, to mitigate
the insufficiencies of the ponds which fed the canal during
periods of drought. To allow the passage of this canal the
Canal Latéral à la Loire (built in the years 1820 and 1830), a
tubular bridge was built on the Loire in Briare, of 1890 to
1896, by engineer Abel Mazoyer.
The iron canal bridge across the Loire river in Briare
(France), Europe's longest, built at the end of the 19th
century by Gustave Eiffel
The Tubular bridge of Briare is built on fourteen piles. On
these piles is placed a single metal beam which supports a
u-shaped basin which contains more than 13,000 tons of water
(2.2 meters of depth). The width of the bridge, tow paths
included, is 11.5 meters; and it is 662.7 meters in length.
Eight valves make it possible to empty the tubular bridge in
the event of severe freezing.
The Canal of Burgundy (French: Canal de Bourgogne) is located
in central eastern France. There are two river entances; to
the North the river Yonne allows access in the town of
Laroche-Migennes whilst in the south the river Saône allows
access in the town Saint-Jean-de-Losne.
Burgundy Canal at Poully-en-Auxois
The construction began in 1727 and was completed in 1832.
The purpose of the canal is to connect the Atlantic Ocean to
the Mediterranean Sea via the rivers Yonne and Seine to the
river Saône and Rhône. Allowing barges to transport
merchandise of all kinds, from sand to wheat, wood to pottery.
The barges were able to carry upto 250 tons of cargo.
North entrance of the canal tunnel at Poully-en-Auxois
The canal is 242 km long, with a total 209 locks and passes
through two départements of Burgundy, the Yonne and the Côte-d'Or.
The highest point of the canal is the "partition" at
Pouilly-en-Auxois, which is 378 metres above sea level. The
lowest point is at the junction with the river Yonne at 79
metres above sea level.
(or Grand Alsace Canal) is a canal in eastern France,
channeling the Rhine river. It is 50 kilometers (about 30
miles) long. It provides access to the region from the Rhine
River, Basel in Switzerland, and the North Sea for barges of
up to 1,350 metric tons. Construction began in 1932 and was
completed after World War II. The canal diverted much of the
water from the original bed of the fast-flowing Rhine in this
area, which is now almost entirely unnavigable by boats. The
Grand Canal produces hydroelectric power at Kembs and
Ottmarscheim to supply electricity to one of the most heavily
industrialized regions in France.
Canal Nantes - Brest
The Canal from Nantes to Brest is a French canal which links
the two cities of Nantes and Brest through inland Brittany. It
was built during the 19th century and its total length is 364
km, with 325 locks along its path.
The original idea of such a canal is dated from the 16th
century but it's only when Brest was blocaded by the English
fleet that Napoleon I of France decided to build this canal to
assure a safe inland link between the two largest military
ports of the French atlantic front. Building started in 1811
and the inauguration by Napoleon III of France was celebrated
The Canal Saint-Martin is a 4.5km long canal in Paris, France.
It stretches from the Square Flemaître to the Rue Lafayette
and shortcuts a long loop in the River Seine on the eastern
side of Paris in the Xe arrondissement.
Northern portion of the Canal Saint-Martin
The canal was opened in 1825 after Napoleon had ordered the
artificial waterway dug to supply Paris with water, however by
the 1960s, traffic had dwindled to a trickle and the canal
narrowly escaped being filled in and paved over for a highway.
Bridge of the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris
Today, the canal is a popular destination for Parisians
and tourists who watch the barges navigate the series of locks
and road bridges.
The canal as it goes underground to return to the Seine
The canal in fiction
The canal is featured in the 1938 movie Hôtel du Nord,
directed by Marcel Carné.
The canal is featured in the 2001 movie Amélie where Amélie
Poulain enjoys skipping stones at the locks of the canal.
: This article is licensed under the
GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the
Wikipedia article "Canals of France".