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.

Everything started with the ports

With the canal, human activity began to boom. Quarries, cement works, lime kilns and forges were linked to the canal and it became essential to build ports. These were located near industrial sites. The most important were next to railways and became real ‘multimodal platforms’!

Boats were repaired there and the bargemen stocked up on their supplies

Goods were transferred there and raw materials were processed

For over a century thousands of tonnes of sand, tiles, wood from the forests of Othe and Chaource and many other types of merchandise passed through the port of Saint-Florentin. Thanks to the ports, the canal became a major commercial route both regionally and nationally.

Today the canal has 43 ports, including Saint-Florentin which now welcomes both local residents and people enjoying a holiday on the canal. 


Léa meets the canal bridge

I am quite proud of my looks, young lady. There are not many canal bridges of my quality around! I was designed by Jacques Foucherot, and they began to build me in 1811 at the same time as the lock, the lock-keeper’s house, and the guardhouse. It was a big site and the works were finished in 1817. I am 68m long and my job is to allow the canal to cross the Armance. So I have 5 beautiful arches to stride over the river. You might think I am made entirely of stone but I am actually full of bricks and just covered by stone on the outside! But I do have a certain style, rather like that of Vauban, the famous military engineer. My ends finish in a star shape, and the motifs in the form of an urn, directly above my piers, remind you of the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans. In 1840, I was given some concrete to reinforce me, so now I am as strong as ever!

Saint-Florentin Church

Built in the sixteenth century, on a hill where there used to be a fortified castle, this church looks just like an unfinished cathedral, very elegant, and rising to a height of 23 metres. Inside, a magnificent rood screen from 1600 opens onto the choir. Statues, sculptures and bas-reliefs make this a museum of art where you never tire of admiring the skill of the master craftsmen who produced a total of 24 stained-glass windows that filter the light in beams of colour.

The Priory hill

Climbing the hill, you will discover the site of an iconic priory.

In the ninth century, two countesses, Lemisse and Godeline, returned from a pilgrimage, bringing with them the remains of Saint Florentin. These remains soon began to perform miracles and the countesses had a monastery built. Later the Abbey of Saint-Germain-d’Auxerre established a priory here which was abandoned in the twelfth century. Now, looking at the magnificent view over the valley, memories and history seem to mingle with daydreams.

The museum of the Florentinois (the people of Saint Florentin)

This offers an interesting look back at the history and professions of the people of Saint Florentin.

With objects from the life of the old days, old musical instruments and 3D reconstructions of the Gallic oppidum and the fortified town, you can immerse yourself interactively in the history of the locality.


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!