France » Canal de la Marne au Rhin | French Canals

A long canal from Champagne over the Mosel to the Rhine in Alsace

Canal de la Marne au Rhin | French Canals: Characteristics & Overview

Rating of waterway

Length of waterway: 289 km
Number of locks: 127
Lock dimensions: 38.50 x 5.08
Max. depth: 1.80
Max. headroom: 3.50
Degree of difficulty: Some experience is an advantage
Requirements: No license asked for hired boats
Character of waterway: old waterway, to be rediscovered
Profile of waterway: Commercial traffic and tourism
Facilities groundside: Sufficiant

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Waterway has access to:

Canal de la Marne au Rhin | French Canals
Canal du Rhône au Rhin, Branche Nord / Canal de Colmar / French canal
Canal latéral à la Marne | Canal in France
River Moselle | France

Canal de la Marne au Rhin
From Champagne over the Lorraine to Alsace

The navigable Marne leads from Paris to Epernay, there one changes into the side canal of the Marne and continues to Vitry le François. Then, it is followed by the westerly stretch of the Marne-Rhin until Toul on the Moselle.
The easterly stretch connects Toul and Strasbourg and is particularly suitable for a house boat holiday.

At Toul, one has two possibilities to get onto the easterly part of the canal
a) one navigates southwards, upstream on the Mosel until Richardmenil and then over the “Embranchement de Nancy” to get onto the Marne-Rhine again east of Nancy, at km 169, or
b) one goes to the north, down the Mosel, and has again a connection to the Marne-Rhin at Pompey.

The stretch, Vitry le François to Toul, has quite a lot to offer. But there is still hardly any tourism there. Shortly after Vitry one crosses the border to Lorraine and passes (or not) the nice towing places of Pargny, Sermaize les Bains, Revigny sur Ornain, Bar le Duc and Ligny en Barrois. Afterwards the canal gets lost in woody areas and passes soon through the tunnel of Mauvages (Souterrain de Maugaves) which is 4.7 kilometers long. After this, one crosses shortly the valley of the Maas and gets soon after to Toul on the Moselle.

The easterly stretch starts for both possibilities with the town of Nancy which offers everything to its visitors. It’s well worth taking this opportunity since the possibilities then are not really exuberant until Saverne. Soon, one has left the industrial suburbs behind and comes into a nice, hilly and mostly agricultural surrounding, passing pretty villages like Crévic, Maixe and Einville. The latter has a very nice port. Ignore the signs praising the Hotel there, at the moment you might get as much as a Pastis.
There is a very charming towing possibility at the Etang de Parroy. Followed by Lagarde, this village has first of all a big, nice church. But right next to it is the comfortable Restaurant de la Garde and a bit further down, the port with all amenities. Then the woods of Rechicourt and the Etang de Gondrexange follow, and with them, the branching off into the Huillères de la Sarre (Saar-Kohlekanal) which has nothing to do with coal anymore.

At the Auberge in Henning, you have the possibility to eat the first Sauerkraut Royal of Alsace, and then followed by the port of Hesse. The port of Arzviller is the last station before the tunnels and the ship lift. Having passed the tunnels, together with the railway, one stands soon after in front of the famous ship lift of Arzviller and has the chance to experience a unique travel downstream.
Happily arrived, one finds oneself in the wild valley of the Zorn; accompanying you over Lutzelbourg to Saverne. The Port of Saverne is really nice but a cheek really, it stands in the middle of the gardens of the Château des Duc de Rohan, lying just en face. The remaining narrow 50 km to Strasbourg offer towing at Waltenheim, Vendenheim and Souffelweyerheim.
Latter is very suitable for a visit to Strasbourg, since towing possibilities are rare in town and not easy to find.

House-Boat hire in France

Canal from the Marne to the Rhin.

Locanoat Holidays, Lutzelbourg

Le Boat, Heese & Toul

Nicols. Saverne

Navig France, Lagarde