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 defies gravity

The lock enables the canal to climb slopes and allows boats to move from one basin to another.

This group of constructions includes water crossings, sheds, and lock-keepers’ houses.

The lock-keeper’s house is the most imposing building

The canal has guardhouses and tax offices, originally used to provide security and the smooth running of the canal, but the best known buildings are the lock-keepers’ houses where the lock-keepers lived.

At least 5 types of houses can be identified, named after the engineers who designed them. The first wave of construction occurred at the end of the eighteenth century.

the Forey type are located between Dijon and Saint-Jean-de-Losne

the Montfeu type are located between Migennes and Saint-Florentin

The second wave of construction, from 1811, introduced a new model, the Foucherot type, widely used on the banks of the Saône.

The Foucherot houses were very popular because they were economical, easy to build and to enlarge, but the Montfeu houses were both utilitarian and decorative.

In 1850, at lock 69

Léa meets a Forey house, the neighbour of a Foucherot house

Good morning, young lady! I don’t have a first name but I bear the surname of the engineer who had me built around 1800: Charles Forey. And I am very grateful to him for designing me so beautifully! With my pyramid-style roof, I think I’m really elegant for a lock-keeper’s house! On the right bank is my neighbour, a Foucherot house. She arrived in 1848. You can see we don’t share the same architecture. She has a much simpler roof! She’s a guard house, even though she looks like a lock-keeper’s house! The activity of the canal has to be supervised, as do the hydraulic systems. In fact, we complement each other; but I was here before she was and even before the canal, which only opened in 1808. Everyone round here owes me some respect!

Longecourt-en-Plaine Castle

This former hunting lodge of the Dukes of Burgundy was a stronghold of the plain in the thirteenth century. In the fifteenth century it was rebuilt in brick, then made into a residence for leisure in the seventeenth. The castle is nevertheless still surrounded by ditches crossed by three bridges. Its kitchen, with its ribbed vault, also dates from the Middle Ages. Medieval humour can be found in the series of sculpted characters adorning the lower part of the arches, created in the spirit characteristic of grotesque figures!


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!