2015 European waterway trip – Canal de la Marne a la Saone Part 2

Canal de la Marne a la Saone

Still ascending (locking up) on the Canal de la Marne a la Saone (Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne)

This part of the trip is a little bit of a blur, as we were a bit under pressure to get to St Jean de Losne, and one bit of the canal starts to look like another.

Mooring at Joinville

But the scenery was beautiful, and we stopped over at some lovely little towns.


At Joinville we tied up at a quay belonging to a small hotel on the outskirts of the village.

Mooring cost only 7 Euros, including water and electricity, ablutions at the hotel and wifi!

We only arrived quite late but Tuesday was late night shopping, till 19.00 hrs.

The town was decorated with brightly coloured flags and bunting.


The reason we arrived here late was we had been stuck behind a very large old Dutch barge which also over-nighted here.

Next morning we made a really early start
to make sure we were ahead of that barge.

Lock brochure

At the beginning of the canal we had been given a brochure all about the locks/bridges and their operation.

Some were manual, some operated by hanging pole, some by sensor detection and the rest by the hand held remote.
Except for one or two occasions everything worked okay.

Wild stop at Vieville

At two of the locks there were VNF people working on the locks, so the automation was turned off, but these guys were most helpful and operated the locks for us.

Next night we stopped at Vieville – a very peaceful almost wild stop.

We had hoped to get further but the weather deteriorated rapidly with strong winds and rain.
Not pleasant.

Morning mist at Foulain

Thankfully it calmed down quite quickly and we had a lovely restful night.

Next day, the first lock wouldn’t close behind us and we had to call out the VNF.

Have to say that they generally arrived within 20 – 30 mins.

This lockie also told us that in the strong winds of the day before a tree had blown down up ahead and the canal was blocked. He said we would only be able to get through 2 more locks.Turned out the tree had been cleared and all was well.


Following night our stop was at Foulain.

Definitely a bit rustic.

Free mooring as there was no town anywhere near. There  was only space for 2 boats to tie up at the jetty, so we moored in the reeds up against the canal bank.

The water was just deep enough.

Here we met a British couple in a traditional narrow boat who seemed to live on their boat all year round.

View from Langres

The highlight town on this stretch was Langres.
Gerard Morgan-Grenville in Barging into Burgundy gave it a favourable description.

The town was an ancient walled city, set on top of a hill.

It was a steep, long walk up the hill, but well worth it.

Some years back one could have taken the old track-tram up to the town.

Old track tram

Now there is a modern funicular from the car park up to the town.

Fantastic views over the landscape, and across to one of the 4 lakes that feed the canal.

Modern funicular

The mooring itself was a bit basic.

No charge but electricity was only available for about an hour each morning and evening.

View to lake at Langres

Anyway, we spent 2 nights here and made the trip up to the town twice, doing the tourist bit and walking around the city walls.

We took advantage of the wifi at the tourist office.

Information board on Langres

Next – through the Balesmes tunnel in the dark!

Have a read of Karen’s blog for her take on our trip.

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