France » Canal de Calais / de Bourbourg / de Furnes / de Bergues & l'Aa
The French canal system in the south of Dunkirk and Calais
Canal de Calais / de Bourbourg / de Furnes / de Bergues & l'Aa: Characteristics & Overview
Rating of waterway
|Degree of difficulty:||Some experience is an advantage|
|Requirements:||Boating license essential|
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|Profile of waterway:||Commercial traffic and tourism|
Waterway has access to:Kanaal Nieuwpoort-Duinkerke / Nieuwpoort - Plassendale | Belgium
Liaison Dunkerque - Escaut, Grand Gabarit | Waterways in France
This short canal connects the canalized Aa with Calais and the Channel. Three side canals branch off; the Canal de Guïnes, Canal d’Ardres and the branch canal to Audruicq. Only the later is navigable. Canal de Guïnes is blocked by a solid bridge right after branching off and Canal d’Ardres after 4 km.
Length 29.5 km / locks 1 / headroom 3.47 m / depth 2.00 m / lock dimensions 38.80 x 5.05 m
River Aa is from its confluence with Canal de Neufossée at Saint Omer to the mouth into the North Sea at Graveline navigable. Between Saint Omer and Watten it is a stretch of the big gauche waterway Dunkirk – Escaut (Schelde), as from Watten to the North Sea it corresponds to the Gabarit Freycinettes (38.80 x 5.05 m).
Length 18.2 km / locks 1 / headroom 5 m / depth 1.80 m / lock dimensions 38.80 x 5.05 m
This is the short link between the port of Dunkirk and the underflow of River Aa.
Length 19.3 km / locks 3 / headroom 3.65 / depth 2.20 / lock dimensions 38.80 x 5.05 m
The canal from Dunkirk to the fortified town of Bergues is, since the closing of the Canal de la Haute Colme, unfortunately a dead end. But, the detour is well worth while.
Length 8.1 km / headroom 3.50 / depth 1.80 m / dimensions 38.80 x 5.05 m
The most northern canal link between France and Belgium.
It was built in 1638 already in order to connect the city of Dunkirk with the Belgian coasts.
The 13.5 km to the border pass mostly urban area of Dunkirk and go then past the huge dunes and Malo-les-Bains to the border.
At weekends locks and lift bridges are served if you applied for it only.
Length (to the Belgium border) 13.2 km / locks 1 / headroom 3.81 m / depth 1.80 m / lock dimensions 38.80 x 5.05 m
Boating and houseboat holidays in Pas de Calais
The canal crosses the “Parc regional de l’Audomarois” and the surrounding is rather charming. Unfortunately the necessary infrastructure for boaters is missing. First of all house boat hirers!