Canal du Nivernais

The basin of Pannecot

The Canal du Nivernais ( dt: Nivernais Canal ) is a French Ship Canal, which runs in the Burgundy region, and establishes a connection between the river system of the Loire and the Seine.

  • 3.1 Digression: The Brennholzflößerei from Morvan to Paris

Course of the channel

The channel begins at Saint -Léger -des- Vignes, near the town Decize, where he connection to the Loire, and after their crossing of the Canal in the Loire ( dt: Loire Lateral Canal ) has. It runs generally north to the foothills of the Morvangebirges and ends after a length of 174 kilometers in the city of Auxerre in the Yonne. About the navigable lower course of the Yonne it reaches a few kilometers further, MIGENNES, the Canal de Bourgogne ( dt: Burgundy Canal) and, subsequently, the Seine.


  • Source of the canal: 46 ° 50 ' 17 "N, 3 ° 27 ' 6" O46.8380555555563.4516666666667Koordinaten: 46 ° 50 ' 17 "N, 3 ° 27 ' 6" O
  • Endpoint of the channel: 47 ° 47 ' 39 " N, 3 ° 34' 56 " O47.7941666666673.5822222222222

By Crossed departments

  • Nièvre
  • Yonne

Places on the canal

  • Decize
  • Cercy -la-Tour
  • Châtillon -en- Bazois
  • Chitry -les -Mines
  • Clamecy
  • Châtel- Censoir
  • Vermenton ( branch duct )
  • Auxerre

Technical Infrastructure

It is a channel of the type watersheds channel with 32 locks overcomes on the side of the Loire Valley a height difference of 74 meters and follows the course of the river Aron. After exceeding the summit level at Baye ( municipality Bazolles ), at an altitude of 260 meters, there is the descent to the river Yonne with the help of 78 locks over a height difference of 165 meters. Particularly striking here is the flight of locks Sardy, in the immediately consecutive 16 locks innhalb of 3.5 kilometers.

At the apex height the water supply is ensured by several reservoirs ( Etang de Baye, the Grand Etang de Vaux ). The summit level itself is 4.5 km long and passes through three tunnels (La Cola Celle, 758 m, Mouas, 268 m and Les Breuilles, 212 m). It is passable only each in one direction than one way and is controlled by traffic lights.

A " technical channel " feature is seen between Clamecy and the north of it Surgy, namely the intersection of the Yonne and the channel at the same level. The waters of the Yonne - it is here about as wide as the channel - is raised for this purpose by means of a weir to the level of the channel. Normal way, river and canal crossing so that the channel is routed to a trough bridge over the water.


The idea of a connecting channel between the Loire and Seine goes back to the reign of Henri IV. The forests around Paris were cut down, so that firewood from getting further afield, including had to be from the vast forests of the Morvan region, respectively. It remained, however, for the time being in project studies. End of the 18th century, the idea was taken up again, because meanwhile the demand for fuel wood capital could hardly be satisfied correctly. The catastrophic winter 1782/83, which in Paris had a serious firewood shortage result, then definitely required a solution to the procurement and transport problem. In this context, one could now looking to develop not only the forests of the Morvan ( Seine side of the watershed ) better, but now also those of the Bazois - region (Loire - side of the watershed ).

Initial work on the canal were made in 1784. It should be a narrow gully, down from the Loire side of the current channel vertex through the tunnel of La Collancelle to Yonne. But after 1786, it was found during an inspection, that it would be appropriate to expand the planned only for timber floating channel to a real ship channel. Louis XVI. granted the Department the necessary advance. The expansion required, among other things, the extension of the structurally demanding channel tunnel at La Collancelle. Instant fantastic ideas began to sprout, as could be extended thanks to the channel of the trade, eg with products from Southern France or cheese from Switzerland. But the turmoil after the revolution, as well as other problems that had initially cessation of works 1792-1807 result. 1812 the site was abandoned again, and until 1822 it was returned to service, but not to pursue about the original plans, but to do something against rampant unemployment. In 1824 it was decided to move on the channel until after Auxerre. Meanwhile, the coal had emerged as a serious competitor to the wood, which put the future of the channel in question before it was built at the end.

Of the three vertices tunnels that of La Collancelle (length 758 m) was created by mining. 8 the first wells were dug along the tunnel course, from which on both sides of the tunnel has been broken; the spoil was conveyed away through the shafts. The collapse of these shafts 70 workers lost their lives. The other two tunnels were dug in the open pit; then the vault was bricked and filled the incision site again.

On April 22, 1834, the first boat of Coulanges -sur -Yonne drove off, but only on a part of the channel. Gradually section but has now been taken for a section in operation. 1843 is considered the year of the completion of all work. The channel was now actually in the first line of the timber floating, but next to it is growing interest in the transport of blocks, gravel, coal and grain.

Digression: The Brennholzflößerei from Morvan to Paris

The channel today

Today, the channel is not used for commercial purposes ( he could no longer even in the face of the now usual length and width of the ships). However, it is increasingly touristy traveled by sports and houseboats since the 1970s. The northern part traveled about 4,000 boats per year; so is the Canal du Nivernais behind the Canal du Midi on the second rank. Time and place as the locks are happening in midsummer per day of up to 40 boats. Almost all locks are still operated by hand, and indeed to a large extent by the crews themselves or with their help, so it goes faster.

In general, the Canal du Nivernais, reputed as one of the most scenic canals in France. You can follow him on the entire length by bike or on foot, on a mostly good tarmac for long stretches and child-friendly, because traffic-free towpath. In the attractive villages and towns along the canal, or a few miles away from them are a variety of overnight accommodation, catering and shopping facilities are available, and all kinds of attractions invite you to visit.