France » River Petit Rhône / Canal Arles - Port de Bouc | France
Waterways across the Camargue which has to a large extent remained natural
River Petit Rhône / Canal Arles - Port de Bouc | France: Characteristics & Overview
Rating of waterway
|Degree of difficulty:||Demanding|
|Requirements:||No license asked for hired boats|
|Character of waterway:||back to nature, old waterway, to be rediscovered|
|Profile of waterway:||Used by tourists only|
|Facilities groundside:||Not sufficiant|
Waterway has access to:Canal du Rhône à Sète | Canal of France
River Rhône | France
The Petit Rhône branches off the Rhône at Arles, passes a beautiful part of the Camargue and flows westerly of the “Gipsy-town”, Les Saintes Maries”, into the Mediterranean Sea. To the lock of St. Gilles, where it has access to the Canal Rhône à Sète, it is developed for Cargo ships; afterwards it becomes a small, romantic river, which can, under normal circumstances, be passed with boats up to a draught of one meter. The cable of the ferry at Sauvage allows a height of 2.70 m.
Advantage: A unique opportunity to visit the Camargue by boat, Saintes Maries can be reached over a short bit of the Mediterranean Sea.
Disadvantage: Unforeseen shallows.
This is a small river for friends of nature who don’t mind mosquitoes too much.
Houseboat Holiday in France, Camargue
The canal branches off the Rhone to the east at the southern edge of the gorgeous Roman town of Arles and goes more or less parallel to it across the Camargue to Port de Bouc, to Martique and the tunnel de Rove. Unfortunately it is not entirely navigable. After the old “Van Gogh” bridge of Langlois, is the next of it built, new bridge, navigable with canoes and dinghies and besides, there is a barrage short before the confluence with Canal du Rhône à Fos.
Purpose of the canal was, to connect the new harbour in the west of Marseille by an inland waterway with the underflow of the Rhone. In 1820 already, one thought about such a connection. 20 years later, the first project for a tunnel under the Massif de la Nerthe was ready.
In 1848, the project got stopped since railway was faster with their tunnel.
In 1979, “Ponts et Chaussées” looked into the project again and at the 24th December 1906, the necessity for the tunnel was declared by law! Building of the tunnel started in 1911. Until the beginning of the First World War, 3500 workers of different nationalities were employed. During the war then, employees were Belgium and German prisoners of war. Members of the Chamber of Commerce first crossed the tunnel on 23rd October 1926 and the tunnel was inaugurated on April, 25th, 1927.
On the 16th of June, 1963, there occurred a huge crater at the southern edge of the village of Gignac.
The tunnel ceiling had collapsed and was never repaired.