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 stirs everything up

The construction of this waterway greatly altered the appearance of our towns and villages. What a lot of activity there was! Bargemen, lock-keepers, artisans, tradesmen, farmers and workmen all brought the canal to life.

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.


In 1963, the tile factory was bought by the Laurent family who kept it going for ten years. Now, thanks to the association ‘Les Tuileries de l’Auxois’, the tile factory has become a museum and the existing buildings are open to visit.

In 1902 in Grignon,

Léa meets Emile, overseer at the Granges tile factory

“Oh yes, young lady, I’ve been overseer at the Granges tile factory for 15 years now! I started as an apprentice in 1870 when the tile factory was founded by the Sébillotte family. The owners did well when they chose this location! On the seam of clay and right next to the canal! We make tiles and bricks, and we deliver them as far away as Paris with a 300-tonne barge!

Of course the tile factory is doing well! We’ve just put the finishing touches to some modern additions: a continuously fired kiln heated entirely by coal and a great 30-metre high chimney. But the barge, you have to load it by hand with a barrow and that takes two days! I’m off to supervise that right now! So good day to you!”

The Castle of Bussy Rabutin

This castle, finished in 1649, was the family home where Roger de Bussy-Rabutin came to live in forced exile. A troubled cousin of Madame de Sévigné, thrown out of Versailles by the King, he dissipated his resentment and regret by creating a unique interior decor. This incredible fantastical decor, made up of a gallery of paintings and caustic mottos, contrasts with the castle’s sober exterior.


Snuggling against the slope of Mont Auxois, the village still recalls the spirit of resistance, inspired by characters from the past. On the oppidum of Alesia, Vercingetorix faced up to Caesar’s armies; where the miraculous fountain springs forth, the young Queen was executed for refusing the advances of a Roman prefect. Félix Kir was born in the village, famous both for his charisma and his aperitif, as well as for his Resistance activities from 1940. You can follow in the footsteps of these three outstanding personalities as you wander through the alleyways of the village.

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. 

The tile factory museum in Grignon

Watched over by two high chimneys, the former tile factory has become a museum, preserving the manufacturing system: kilns, tools, machines, a press, potters’ wheels and a superb collection of tiles and stamped bricks. There are also memories, recounted by volunteers from the association and to see the link with the land, you just need to visit the nearby former clay pit.


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!