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!

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

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.

After the transformations

From the nineteenth century onwards, new industrial activity replaced the forges. Now, the buildings stretch along both sides of the canal. On the left bank you can still see sawtooth roofs and a tall chimney and on the right bank the homes of pre-nineteenth century workers, with tiled roofs.

In 1897, at the Aisy forges

Léa meets the Marquis Louis-Henri-Casimir de la Guiche

“Dear young lady, I am really annoyed! Along with Count de Chastenay-Lanty, we own this establishment, and the route of the canal is forcing us to reconstruct the blast furnace! What a cheek, the forge has been here since the sixteenth century, long before the canal! The Count of Buffon even came here to do his experiments on iron! And now we have to demolish the farm as well as the fuel store. And to cap it all, this new water crane in the Armançon has poached a lot of our workforce! Excuse my bad mood, my dear young lady, these changes are causing me a lot of work, but we’ll cope with it! And now, please let me accompany you back home.”

The Marquis

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.

The Great Buffon Forge

Where did the forge master live and what accommodation was provided for the workers and managers? The way the workshops are organised, the beauty of the furnaces and the hydraulic system required for metal manufacture helps us imagine how this masterpiece of industrial heritage worked. It was designed and built by the Count of Buffon in the eighteenth century

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. 


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!