Where is the canal?

In central eastern France!

The Burgundy canal is located in central eastern France in the region of “Bourgogne-Franche-Comté”, the French call the canal “Le Canal de Bourgogne“.

The canal spans across the two eastern counties (departements) of the Yonne and the Cote d’Or for more than 200 kilometres, winding it’s way through small towns, villages and valleys. The most important city along the canal is Dijon which is also the capital of the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

Travel to to the canal via road is fairly easy, with nearby autoroutes from Mulhouse, Lyon, Paris, Reims. TGV access to Dijon and Montbard, from Paris, Lausanne, Geneva.

The map below outlines the region of Burgundy and shows the canal crossing the region from the north-west to the south-east.

France and the Burgundy canal
A map of France and the region of Burgundy

Click here for more maps of the region.

Other canals in Burgundy

There are also three other important canals in the region: the Canaux du Centre, Canal du Nivernais and Canal Marne à la Saône.

Canaux du Centre

The “Canaux du Centre” is actually five canals joined together connecting the river Seine at Sainte Mammes in the north to the river Saône at Chalon sur Saône in the south and crosses the centre of France, hence the name. The canal still has an important commercial traffic with barges up to 38 metres and the locks are built to the Freycinet standard. The names of the canals making the Canaux du Centre :

  • Canal du Loing
  • Canal du Briard
  • Canal lateral à la Loire
  • Canalde Roanne à Digoin
  • Canal du Centre

Canal du Nivernais

The Canal du Nivernais connects the river Yonne in the town of Auxerre in the north and then joins the Canal du Centre to the south at Decize, via a small navigable section of the river Loire. The canal is very pretty but reserved to barges of less than 30 metres in length.

Canal Marne à la Saône

The canal is still used by commercial barges and connects the river Marne at Vitry le François in the north to the river Saone in the south at Heuilly sur Saône. Built to Freycinet standards barges up to 38 metres can navigate the canal. The canal spans 224 kilometres with a total of 114 locks.

Navigable rivers of Burgundy

With all the canals there are of course rivers connected via the canals. In the north you have access to the river Seine, via the river Loing to the Canaux du Centre, the river Yonne via the Burgundy canal. In the south the canals join the river Saone with access to the beautiful river Doubs.

The Saône

The river connects the Alsace Canal (Canal de l’Est) at Corre to the river Rhone at Lyon. There is important commercial traffic with barges upto 185 metres long. Whilst the river is fairly narrow and curved upstream, as you approach Saint Jean de Losne the river becomes wide. Passing through important towns such as Chalon and Macon, there is much to see and explore.

The River Doubs

The river Doubs (Canal du Rhône au Rhin) connects the Saone at Saint Jean de Losne and Rhone to the the Rhine at Mulhouse. As you cruise you’ll be alternating between canal and river. There are two tunnels, one at Besançon and the other at Thoraise. The Doubs is famous for it’s instability and water level which can rise rapidly.

All of the waterways allow boats and barges to navigate, offering you hundreds of miles of water to explore.
Have fun.