On all the boards
Welcome to the Burgundy Canal!

My name is Léa and I am a seasonal lock-keeper!
Take a look at my logbook and come along with me for a canal adventure the whole of its 242-kilometre length. It’s a real masterpiece of civil engineering as well as one of the loveliest ways to get from the Channel to the Mediterranean!
Meet me at every noticeboard by the canal. Have a great time exploring!

The canal landscape: before and after

From the plain of Migennes to the Saône plain, through the Ouche valley to the Armançon valley, the canal traces its path through a country landscape, with many castles and churches.

A landscape unchanged for centuries? Don’t be so sure of it!

Before: there was a traditional heritage related to human activity.

Laundries and mills on millstreams alongside the canal

Farms and post-houses

A few factories, tilemakers and forges enlivened the neighbourhood (Veuvey-sur-Ouche, Buffon, Aisy, Grignon)

After the construction of the canal: everything changed!

A remarkable industrial boom

Creation of transport routes: roads and railways

Now, the route of the canal highlights and links all the heritage from different eras.

The fortified house of Courcelles-lès-Montbard is one example.

Today, in Courcelles-lès-Montbard

Léa meets the square tower of the fortified house

“Young damsel, I give you my greetings! As you see, I occupy the strategic position of a fortified feudal residence! I have no recall of the precise date of my birth, but it was probably at the end of the thirteenth century that Jean de Frolois, the Lord of Courcelles, had me built! That gentleman built in a really solid manner! He gave me 4 floors and later the yard that I overlook was surrounded by two rectangular buildings and several smaller towers. It’s a lovely fortress, isn’t it? Alas, with the passing of time, my castle became a farm and in 1794 it was dismantled. Luckily, I am still on my feet protecting Saint Peter’s Church and despite my great age, I still look good! I really enjoy being admired from the canal. Don’t be in too much of a rush to leave!”

The Buffon Museum and Park in Montbard

Here you can immerse yourself totally in the world of Buffon! This famous eighteenth-century naturalist invites you to his estate and to his famous Histoire Naturelle. As you wander over the terraces of Parc Buffon, built on the site of the old castle of the Dukes of Burgundy, or peek into his famous study, you will encounter the spirit of the Enlightenment with everything you discover.

Fontenay Abbey

Founded by Saint Bernard in the twelfth century, this Cistercian abbey is an architectural jewel, with Unesco World Heritage classification. The monks’ spirit is still present, whether in the serenity of the cloisters or the gardens or the unique use of light in the architecture. 

The MuséoParc Alésia

On the very spot where the battle between Vercingetorix and Caesar took place, the MuséoParc Alésia takes the visitor back to 52 BC, when the warriors of the Gallic coalition and the soldiers of the Roman army faced up to each other. The Interpretation Centre, the Gallo-Roman remains, and the statue of Vercingetorix provide an entertaining, historical, and archaeological visit to help you understand this emblematic event. 


1724 A canal project is agreed after much deliberation concerning the route

1775 Work begins on both banks

1826-1832 Pouilly tunnel is dug out

1833 The whole canal is opened to traffic

1872-1882 Standardised to Freycinet gauge (lengthening of the lock chambers)

Nineteenth century The industrial boom

Twentieth century Gradual transition from industry and commerce to tourism and leisure

2010 Creation of the cycle path

Nowadays you can travel on the water for pleasure or enjoy cycling along the cycle path that follows the old towpath. It’s an ideal opportunity to discover the wealth of our heritage as you explore!