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 Pont-de-Pany

Léa meets canal reaches 38 and 39

Oh thank you, young lady! At last the canal reaches are in the spotlight. People talk about us but nobody really knows who we are. Well, we are the sections of canal between two locks! And we two are fortunate to have three houses built along our banks! Three houses built for the needs of the canal, all three from different eras but built next to each other. The first one, from before 1808, is a lock-keeper’s house. It bears the name of Forey, the engineer who designed it. In a way it represents the iconic image of the canal. The second is a tax office built around 1835, which houses the offices and lodgings of the tax collectors who collect tax on the merchandise. The third house is a Foucherot house; it has just been built and also bears the name of the engineer who designed it. It might look like a lock-keeper’s house but it’s actually a guard house. Yes, we have to keep a very close eye on the canal and make sure the rules are respected! Three houses for two canal reaches is quite something, don’t you think, young lady?

The village and cliffs of Baulme-la-Roche

From the little village with the picturesque old houses, you climb up an easy path, accessible to wheelchairs, towards the superb limestone cliffs that crown the village. This remarkable site, with its grottoes and wells, has been classified for its landscape and nature. Facilities that respect the environment have been provided, offering pleasant and safe walks.

The gardens of La Sérrée at Mesmont

The park, created at the end of the seventeenth century by Just Rameau, is made up of a garden spread over three terraces, four Carthusian vegetable gardens and a romantic wooded valley. As visitors stroll around they will come across the chapel, the dovecote, a grotto and its waterfall, magnificent trees and even, near a wash-house, a collection of ammonites. Enjoy a relaxing walk before you study the physiocratic theories that led to the design of the park!

The gardens of Barbirey-sur-Ouche Castle

Around the castle where Charles de Foucault lived, a magnificent landscaped garden, created in the nineteenth century, extends over 18 hectares. From the terraced vegetable garden overlooking the English-style park, you make your way down to the water features and the meadow. Further away, a quarry used in the construction of the canal is hidden in the forest. Times have changed but harmony, dreams and elegance are still much in evidence.

Mâlain Castle

On the rocky outcrop dominating the village, the old medieval fortress still retains memories of an eventful history. It was occupied from the eleventh to the seventeenth centuries, and has now been reborn thanks to a group of enthusiastic amateurs. It is not the only thing for the visitor to discover, as there is a mysterious prehistoric grotto at the foot of the castle and nearby you can find the remains of the Gallo-Roman villa of Mediolanum, showing the area has been inhabited since ancient times.


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!