France » Canal latéral à la Loire | French Canal

The side-canal of the Loire, a further stretch of the “Carpetians Route” between Paris and Lyon


Canal latéral à la Loire | French Canal: Characteristics & Overview

Rating of waterway

Length of waterway: 196 km
Number of locks: 37
Lock dimensions: 38.50 x 5.08
Max. depth: 1.80
Max. headroom: 3.45
Degree of difficulty: Some experience is an advantage
Requirements: No license asked for hired boats
Character of waterway: no rating
Profile of waterway: Commercial traffic and tourism
Facilities groundside: Good

Weitere Informationen

Waterway has access to:

Canal de Briare | Canal of France
Canal de Roanne à Digoin | French Canal
Canal du Centre | Canal of France
Canal du Nivernais | French Canal

Waterways in Burgundy:
Canal lateral à la Loire
The “Carpetians Route” from Paris to Lyon, part 4, Canal lateral à la Loire
Side-canal of the Loire
After the Aqueduct o Briare, the canal changes again its name and becomes a side canal to the Loire. It is following the river to the Aqueduct just before Digoin, where it becomes the Canal du Centre. It is a very interesting canal. It has a short branch to the very nice town of Nevers and at Dezise you reach the Loire over two locks and if you continue get onto the Canal du Nivernais. A bit further to the south is the branch to Dompierre en Bresbre and soon afterwards, just before the bridge to Digoin, comes another branch, the one to Roanne.

Information for your boating holiday in Nièvre, at the border between Burgundy and Centre
Advantages:
Very interesting side-canals and easy to navigate.
An ideal canal for families and friends.

Houseboat Holiday in France, Canal latéral à la Loire

Locaboat Holidays, Dompierre & Briare
Leboat, Dezices & Châtillon
Nicols, Plagny
Canalous, Digoin
Charmes Nautique, Briare

Tourism
There is a lot offered, visits to towns and castles, fishing in the Loire and the broad plain of the Loire valley. You can also plan a small roundtrip over Nivernais-Yonne-Loing-Briare-and lat. à la Loire. For this journey you should reserve a 3 weeks holiday.

Dompierre-sur-Besbre to Briare
This is a highly recommendable and comfortable trip for a one week boat hire. After the start in Dompierre-s.-B. the nice little town of Dezice is inviting next for a stop. It can be reached over a short side-canal. Since we are on the canal in April, we decide afterwards to use the wharf of the village Avril-sur-Loire and stay there for the night. There is a church, a big farm and another few houses (the Café is closed, as it seems for a while already) but the wharf has a playing ground for children next to tables and benches. We pass the side-canal to Nevers and stop at the port of Blagny since shopping is possible just 300 m further at the road to Nevers. We pass soon the old harbor of Gimouille. Even if it doesn’t look like it, navigation can continue at the far end of the basin where one turns into the entry of the Pont-canal du Guétin, bringing us over the Allier. Entry is regulated with signals, as soon as it gets green at the other end; the 3 locks of Guétin with their aslope lock walls are getting ready.
Right after the locks is the huge wharf of Guétin and the Auberge du Pont-canal can be reached easily from there. We continue and soon comes the turn off to the old harbor of La Grenouille. Locks are here still in the “Berichon-Gabarit” and an entry is therefore not possible anymore. Shortly before Cours-les-Barres is the lock to the side-canal of Givry. The second lock makes access to the Loire which is at this point not navigable anymore. But, over a bridge, one can reach the town of Fourchambault. It is not really a nice place to go to but it offers all infrastructures.

Cours-les-Barres
One shouldn’t miss this very beautiful wharf where one gets water and electricity free of charge. In the village is a Restaurant, a Bar-Tabac and a bakery.  Reason enough to stay for the night. We continue and come to Marseilles-les-Aubigny. At this time of the year, the port is still full of yachts and barges which stayed here over winter. Here used to be the access of canal du Berry to the Canal lateral à la Loire. At this point is unfortunately no sign of this once so well known canal. For first sights one has to go as far as Saint Amande and Bourges.
We continue and are very pleased about the many very well looked after wharfs along the canal. After a short shopping stop at Herry, we continue northwards, passing the first wine yards. After the lock of La Grange, the town of Sancerre, up on a hill, comes insight.

Saint-Thibault
After the lock of Thauvanay we have to decide for Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre or St. Thibault. We choose St. Thibault since it is at an old connecting stretch with an access lock to the Loire. One night with water and electricity costs € 15.00 which is rather much. The entire port is full of not very attractive barges which stayed here for the winter. There is a shopping center at St. Satur on the other side of the canal (it doesn’t open before 09.00 h). Finally, we are ready to continue and pass soon the Chateau de Peseau, the villages of Léré, Belleville-sur-Loire and Beaulieu, all of them with a nice wharf. But, we continue to Châtillon-sur-Loire and get one of the last places in the port. It is probably much less crowed during the season when the barges and the boats of the boat hirer here are navigating. The town has about 3’000 habitants but is not very interesting and culinary offers are limited.   

Briare
For this time, Briare is the end of the trip (the canal continues at Briare into the Canal de Briare and this one into the Canal de Loing, etc.)
The very famous bridge of Gustave Eiffel lies in front of us. It is really gorgeous. We pass the old bargain port and leave the Canal lateral à la Loire at lock no. 4, la Cognardière where we finally, after two automatic locks, reach the lovely water town of Briare. It is full of life and boats and feels a bit like the Côte d’Azur. Take your time for a meal at the “Petit Saint-Trop”, you’ll not regret it.

When the canal was changed into the new “Cabarit Freycinette” with lock dimensions of 5.08 x 38.80 m, one had to find a new solution to cross the Loire. In 1886, the canal bridge of Briare was inaugurated. It replaced the old Loire crossing between the locks 41 (Les Mantelots) and 42 (Des Combles).
Today the southern stretch is navigable again. At km 187, about 5 km before Châtillon-sur-Loire is the top lock (no 39, L’Étang) of the old Canal latéral which led down to the Loire from here. The following lock, “La Folie” with the bridge belonging to it, is probably one of the most beautiful of the country. Also the connecting lock to the Loire is very impressive. The locks “La Folie” and “L’Étang” are served by the lock keeper if you wish (telephone no 02 38 31 26 20). Take the time into the past with its extraordinary constructions.
At the other side of the Loire is the access lock no 42 “Des Combles”, this one is not working anymore. From there, the canal continues to the Bassin de Radoub at Briare, where it has access to the Loire and the Canal de Briare. This stretch is now already partially navigable and should be reopened one day.

Saint-Thibault
After the lock of Thauvanay we have to decide for Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre or St. Thibault. We choose St. Thibault since it is at an old connecting stretch with an access lock to the Loire. One night with water and electricity costs € 15.00 which is rather much. The entire port is full of not very attractive barges which stayed here for the winter. There is a shopping center at St. Satur on the other side of the canal (it doesn’t open before 09.00 h). Finally, we are ready to continue and pass soon the Chateau de Peseau, the villages of Léré, Belleville-sur-Loire and Beaulieu, all of them with a nice wharf. But, we continue to Châtillon-sur-Loire and get one of the last places in the port. It is probably much less crowed during the season when the barges and the boats of the boat hirer here are navigating. The town has about 3’000 habitants but is not very interesting and culinary offers are limited.   

Briare
For this time, Briare is the end of the trip (the canal continues at Briare into the Canal de Briare and this one into the Canal de Loing, etc.)
The very famous bridge of Gustave Eiffel lies in front of us. It is really gorgeous. We pass the old bargain port and leave the Canal lateral à la Loire at lock no. 4, la Cognardière where we finally, after two automatic locks, reach the lovely water town of Briare. It is full of life and boats and feels a bit like the Côte d’Azur. Take your time for a meal at the “Petit Saint-Trop”, you’ll not regret it.

When the canal was changed into the new “Cabarit Freycinette” with lock dimensions of 5.08 x 38.80 m, one had to find a new solution to cross the Loire. In 1886, the canal bridge of Briare was inaugurated. It replaced the old Loire crossing between the locks 41 (Les Mantelots) and 42 (Des Combles).
Today the southern stretch is navigable again. At km 187, about 5 km before Châtillon-sur-Loire is the top lock (no 39, L’Étang) of the old Canal latéral which led down to the Loire from here. The following lock, “La Folie” with the bridge belonging to it, is probably one of the most beautiful of the country. Also the connecting lock to the Loire is very impressive. The locks “La Folie” and “L’Étang” are served by the lock keeper if you wish (telephone no 02 38 31 26 20). Take the time into the past with its extraordinary constructions.
At the other side of the Loire is the access lock no 42 “Des Combles”, this one is not working anymore. From there, the canal continues to the Bassin de Radoub at Briare, where it has access to the Loire and the Canal de Briare. This stretch is now already partially navigable and should be reopened one day.