Canal of Burgundy – Canal de Bourgogne

The Canal of Burgundy (Canal de Bourgogne) goes from the Saône river in the south to the Yonne in the north. The Saône joins the Rhône, which goes to the Mediterranean, while the Yonne flows into the Seine and then into the Atlantic Ocean, so the canal forms a navigable link between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Not that it is used as such now – the only boats that go along it are pleasure craft.

Walking in France: Lock-keeper's cottage

Lock-keeper’s cottage

Work began on the excavations in 1777, after much debate about the route. Then there was a pause of ten or fifteen years while people were otherwise occupied with the Revolution, and it was finally opened in 1832. Ironically, just a few years after that the railways arrived and put the bargemen out of business.

Nevertheless, the canal remains a national treasure, much used by cyclists, walkers and pleasure boats. We certainly appreciated its beauty as we wound our way through the green countryside under a canopy of trees.

Walking in France: Near Venarey-les-Laumes

Near Venarey-les-Laumes


We spent nine days on this canal, walking between St-Jean-de-Losne and Tonnerre, a distance of over 200 kms, but it was not continuous – we did the first section in 2017 and the rest two years earlier, in 2015.

Naturally it was very easy walking and on the whole there were plenty of bars, camping grounds and restaurants along the way, although occasionally we had to leave the canal in search of accommodation.


Our route for this walk

The account of this walk has been broken up into three sections:

St-Jean-de-Losne to Pont d’Ouche

Pont d’Ouche to Venarey-les-Laumes

Venarey-les-Laumes to Tonnerre

To see icons for each night’s accommodation on this map, press the full screen symbol at the top right and then tick the accommodation icon box at the top left. Zoom in on a particular icon to see its precise location. These accommodation icons are also shown on all section maps.

You can also see this map using Google Earth and take a virtual flight along our route.

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