Information about the 178km long river Marne

River Marne location map France

The Marne is navigable upstream its confluence with the Seine at Charenton to Épernay. The junction with the Canal latéral à la Marne (which extends navigation on the river) is made at Dizy, 5km downstream of the head of navigation, while the length of river up to Épernay is treated as a branch. From Charenton to Dizy, navigation extends over a distance of 178km.

The lower course of the river is bypassed in several places by lengths of canal which are still known by their separate names. The Canal de Meaux à Chalifert is entered at Meaux and rejoins the river at Chalifert. It is 12km long and has three locks. Between the last two, near Chalifert, there is a 290m long tunnel; passage is controlled by lights when heading downstream and by the lock-keeper at lock 14 when heading upstream. The Canal de Chelles extends 9km from Vaires-sur-Marne (PK 155) to Neuilly-sur-Marne (PK 164). It has a lock at each end. The Canal Saint-Maur cuts off a long loop of the river between Joinville-le-Pont and Maisons-Alfort. It is 1.2km in length, the first 600m being in tunnel. Passage through the tunnel is controlled by lights, situated 50m upstream of the tunnel on the right bank and at the downstream entrance. When both red and green lights are shown (side-by-side), prepare to enter.

Warning lights are situated at the upstream end of the Île Fanac (PK 173), to inform boats heading downstream of the situation likely to be found at the upstream entrance to the tunnel if navigating at normal speed. Green light only: ‘at normal speed you will find the green light at the tunnel entrance’. Red and green (vertical): ‘prepare to stop upstream of the tunnel entrance’. Downstream of the tunnel there is a large lock.

Apart from the Épernay branch mentioned above, the main branch is made up of the lower 5km of the loop bypassed by the Canal Saint-Maur, giving access to the second biggest port in the Paris region at Bonneuil-sur-Marne. There is a high-capacity lock in this section. The other branches, represented by short lengths of the bypassed river Marne, are indicated on the map and in the distance table.
In the section between Bry-sur-Marne (PK 168) and the entrance to the Canal Saint-Maur (PK 173), the river twice divides into two navigable channels. Past the Île d’Amour and the Île des Loups, the left bank channel is for downstream vessels and the right bank channel for upstream vessels. Past the Île Fanac (PK 173) the right bank channel is for vessels heading downstream and the left bank channel for vessels heading upstream. Nevertheless, when the gates at Joinville weir are opened on account of the high stage of the river, vessels heading upstream are allowed to use the right bank channel. No overtaking is the general rule in these channels, as well as when passing many of the other islands in the river, the restriction being indicated by the conventional navigation sign. When the level of the river shows 35.32m on the gauge at Joinville bridge the lock at Saint-Maur functions as a flood outlet and is no longer available to navigation.River Marne region location map

History – The Marne was a heavily navigated free-flowing river until the 19th century. However, it had one gated short cut, 500m long, the Canal de Cornillon in Meaux, which was built in 1235, possibly the oldest canal in France. The ‘modern’ canalisation was started in 1837, and inaugurated up to Épernay in 1867. It included a number of canals by-passing the more extravagant meanders. Locks are wider than the Freycinet gauge, but shorter than those of the Canal Saint-Denis in Paris, of similar width. The Marne remains in the national VNF network as a commercial navigation.


Key Waterway Dimensions

  • Max Beam: 8.60m
  • Max Height: 4.40m
  • Max Draught: 1.80m


Navigation

Locks – There are 18 locks, plus the lock at Créteil on the branch of the river leading to the port of Bonneuil. The first three are situated in short lock-cuts. Locks 4 to 11 are in the main river, set against one of the banks and level with the corresponding weir. The remaining locks are situated in the canals indicated above. The dimensions are 45.00 by 7.80m down to Neuilly-sur-Marne, while the last two locks (and the lock at Créteil) offer much larger dimensions: 125 by 12.00m. (It should be noted, however, that the available width in Saint-Maur tunnel is restricted to 8.60m).

Draught – The maximum authorised draught is 1.80m down to Neuilly-sur-Marne (PK 165), increased to 3.00m thereafter and on the branch to Bonneuil.

Headroom – The maximum authorised air draught is 4.40m from Épernay to Neuilly-sur-Marne, reduced to 4.10m above the highest navigable water level, and 6.40m on the remaining section, reduced to 4.70m above the highest navigable water level.

Towpath – There is no towpath.

Authority – VNF – Direction territoriale Bassin de la Seine
–    17 route de Château-Thierry, 02400 Mont-Saint-Père (PK 0-70)
–    Barrage de Meaux, BP 176, 77108 Meaux (PK  70-160)
–    Avenue Pierre Mendès-France, 94340 Joinville-le-Pont (PK 160-178).

Click to enlarge

River Marne waterway strip

Route description, west to east

PK 178.3     Confluence with Seine (PK 163.5)
(Paris Arsenal marina is 4.5km further downstream along the Seine – Fayolle Marine website)
PK 178.0     Footbridge (Alfortville)
PK 177.9     Railway bridge
PK 177.7     Metro bridge (line 8)
PK 177.6     Charenton bridge, town r/b, Alfortville l/b
PK 177.2     Lock (Saint-Maurice) r/b, footbridge, VHF 22, water, telephone, weir
PK 175.8     Footbridge (Charentonneau), Maisons-Alfort l/b
PK 175.4     Motorway interchange bridges (A4/A86)
PK 174.7     End of Canal Saint-Maur, junction with embranchement de BonneuilMarne
PK 174.5     Lock (Saint-Maur), VHF 18, water
PK 174.2     Saint-Maur tunnel, d/s entrance, basin r/b
PK 173.6     Entrance to Canal Saint-Maur and tunnel, r/b
PK 173.4     Joinville-le-Pont bridge, town l/b, boat harbour, 70 berths, night €15, water, electricity, showers €0.50, slipway, pump-out, wifi, d/s tip of island

A Joinville port de plaisance small but with good facilities and positive reports and an easy metro ride into Paris.Junction Plan Seine Marne Alfortville

PK 172.8 U/s tip of island (Île Fanac), follow navigation signs (u/s vessels keep to l/b, d/s vessels r/b)
PK 172.4 Motorway bridge (A4, Autoroute de l’Est)
PK 170.8 Nogent boat harbour r/b, 10 visitor berths, second biggest boat harbour in region after Paris-Arsenal, night €18, water, electricity, showers €1.50, slipway, pump-out, restaurant, wifi

This is a useful stopping place, about 12km from the Arsenal and central Paris. The Port de Nogent has good facilities, although getting to Nogent town itself involves a steep uphill walk.

PK 170.6     Nogent-sur-Marne bridge, d/s tip of islands, town r/b
PK 170.3     Nogent railway viaduct
PK 169.3     U/s tip of islands (Île d’Amour and Île aux Loups), follow navigation signs
PK 168.5     Bry-sur-Marne bridge, town centre l/b
PK 167.5     Footbridge (Bry)
PK 166.7     Railway viaduct (RER), commercial quays r/b, mooring possible but no services
PK 165.9     Railway viaduct
PK 165.3     Private bridge (water works), mooring d/s r/b
PK 165.1     Neuilly-sur-Marne bridge, town centre r/b
PK 164.9     End of Canal de Chelles, navigation re-enters Marne, Neuilly boat harbour on r/b side of river against lock, 50 berths, night €18, water, electricity, showers, slipway €15, restaurant
PK 164.8     Lock 16 (Neuilly-sur-Marne), VHF 22, bridge, water
PK 163.6     Bridge (Ville-Évrard)
PK 162.6     Bridge
PK 162.3     Bridge (Chétivet)
PK 161.6     Gournay-sur-Marne bridge, quay d/s r/b, town centre l/b
PK 160.6     Bridge (Moulin), Chelles r/b
PK 159.9     Bridge (Chelles)
PK 158.8     Industrial basin and quay r/b
PK 158.1     Bridge
PK 156.6     Vaires bridge, small quay u/s r/b, town centre r/b
PK 155.9     Lock 15 (Vaires), VHF 17, bridge, water
PK 155.8     Entrance to Canal de Chelles, r/b, Marne navigable 2.3km d/s to Noisiel
PK 154.3     Motorway bridge (A104)
PK 151.8     Bridge (Joffre), mooring rings in wall r/b
PK 151.5     Lagny bridge (Maunoury), quays, night €4, water, electricity, pump-out, town centre l/b

At PK151 Lagny-sur-Marne there is a small boat Port de plaisance but also a new long pontoon by the bridge (above left), with water and electricity. Looks good and has recently won an award.

PK 150.3     Touring Club de France harbour l/b, night €9.50, water, electricity, shower, crane 6t, slipwayJunction Plan Meaux Marne
PK 147.3     Footbridge (Dhuys)
PK 145.9     End of Canal de Meaux à Chalifert, navigation re-enters Marne (navigable u/s 6.6km to Annet-sur-Marne)
PK 145.7     Lock 14 (Chalifert), VHF 11, basin u/s
PK 145.6     Chalifert tunnel, d/s entrance
PK 145.3     Chalifert tunnel, u/s entrance, one-way traffic
PK 145.2     Railway bridge (TGV)
PK 145.1     Lock 13 (Lesches), VHF 11
PK 143.9     Coupvray bridge, village 500m l/b
PK 143.5     Footbridge
PK 142.9     Railway bridge, quay d/s r/b
PK 142.4     Esbly bridge (2) and footbridge, quay d/s r/b, village r/b
PK 142.2     Former Canal latéral au Grand-Morin enters l/b  (not navigable)
PK 141.9     Bridge (Esbly 1)
PK 141.8     Esbly aqueduct
PK 141.0     Condé aqueduct (one-way passage)
PK 140.8     Condé-Sainte-Libiaire bridge, village and château r/b
PK 139.0     Bridge (Roizes)
PK 138.0     Motorway bridge (A140)
PK 137.9     Bridge
PK 137.0     Bridge (Mareuil-les-Meaux 2)
PK 136.8     Mareuil-les-Meaux bridge (1), village 200m l/b
PK 133.6     Lock 12 (Meaux), VHF 14, bridge (Saints-Pères), water, mooring d/s l/b round corner
PK 133.5     Entrance to Canal de Meaux à Chalifert l/b, mooring u/s l/b to embankment, preferred mooring on grass bank d/s r/b, 17 berths, water, electricity, slipway, Meaux r/b
PK 131.6     Sand unloading quay r/b
PK 128.7     Former lock (Basses-Fermes) l/b
PK 127.0     Trilport bridge, quay u/s l/b, village 200m l/b
PK 126.7     Railway bridge
PK 125.1     Poincy boat harbour in r/b arm, mooring for 22 boats, night €12, water, electricity, shower, village 400m

Sheltered pontoons with water and electricity, tucked behind a small island. The site of France’s first hire boat base in 1958.

PK 121.5     New road bridge
PK 121.2     Germigny-l’Evêque quay l/b, small village l/b
PK 115.5     Sand conveyor bridge and quay r/b
PK 113.4     Bridge (Congis)
PK 113.1     Lock 11 (Isles-les-Meldeuses) l/b, water, waiting quay u/s l/b, weir
PK 111.8     Island (Île de Cornille), follow navigation signs
PK 110.9     Railway bridge, quay d/s r/b
PK 110.6     Mary-sur-Marne bridge, village 300m r/b (mooring d/s of railway bridge)
PK 109.1     Sand unloading quay l/b
PK 108.7     Island
PK 102.8     Railway bridge (Armentières)
PK 100.6     Lock 10 (Saint-Jean), l/b, water, waiting quay u/s l/b, weir
PK 99.8     Island
PK 99.4     Saint-Jean-les-Deux-Jumeaux bridge, new halte nautique d/s l/b, water, electricity, pump-out, boat club moorings u/s r/b, village 400m l/b
PK 98.0     Island
PK 97.3     Motorway bridge (A4, Autoroute de l’Est), quays d/s both banks
PK 96.0     Island (Île de la Fosse-Tournille), channel in r/b arm, quay, water and electricity, draught 1.2m
PK 95.2     Ussy-sur-Marne bridge, village 300m r/b
PK 93.0     Grain loading quay r/b
PK 91.3     Bridge (Europe)
PK 90.4     La Ferté-sous-Jouarre bridge (Charles de Gaulle), quays and pontoon moorings for 20 boats u/s r/b, water, electricity, slipway, town centre r/b

There are a number of possible places to moor, including on the town’s quays by the Leader supermarket PK91 which is also near a service station (west of the very large and salutory war memorial to 3,000 unknown soldiers killed there in WW1). The best place is behind the island at PK90 (watch for shallows immediately off the end of the island, buoyed marks; the channel inside the island is fully navigable). Good pontoons, water and electricity. The town (both sides of the river) is good, with a fine Hotel de Ville.

PK 87.1     Lock 9 (Courtaron), l/b, weir, very difficult access, no waiting quays
PK 85.7     Railway bridge (Saussoy)
PK 81.2     Railway bridge (Courcelles)
PK 80.1     Luzancy bridge, quay d/s l/b, village 300m l/b
PK 78.9     Private quay l/b (brick works)
PK 76.1     Saâcy-sur-Marne bridge, village 500m l/b
PK 75.7     Lock 8 (Méry) r/b, weir
PK 75.7     Méry-sur-Marne halte nautique r/b, water, electricity, village 500m rb
PK 74.7     Railway bridge
PK 74.2     Nanteuil-sur-Marne, bridge, quays u/s, village r/b

Village quayside – boulangerie, epicerie and restaurant. Pretty.

PK 69.0     Quay (Pisseloup) l/b
PK 66.6     Lock 7 (Charly) r/b, water, weir
PK 66.3     Charly bridge, extensive quay d/s r/b, water and electricity, village 1000m r/b
PK 63.3     Nogent-l’Artaud bridge, commercial quay and boat moorings u/s l/b, water, electricity, village 400m l/b
PK 62.3     Brick works, quay l/b
PK 56.8     Azy-sur-Marne bridge, moorings d/s r/b (campsite), slipway, village r/b

The bief immediately above Azy is a favourite water sports place and can be busy (but not at PK56 itself).

PK 56.2     Lock 6 (Azy), r/b, weir
PK 52.4     Bridge (D1003, Château-Thierry bypass)
PK 51.4     D/s entrance to Fausse Marne arm l/b
PK 50.4     Château-Thierry bridge, quay, 24 berths, slipway, restaurant, town 300m r/b

A small town with a full range of facilities. Service station nearby. The hire boat base has closed. Mooring is to a quay alongside a narrow park, north bank, west of the bridge. The quay has room for many boats, but no water or electricity or other facilities which for a town of this size is short-sighted. The park is popular and can become lively and noisy at weekends.

PK 49.8     Entrance to Fausse Marne arm l/b (forbidden to motor boats)
PK 42.5     Lock 5 (Mont-Saint-Père), r/b, weir, attractive holding quay u/s r/b
PK 42.2     Island (follow navigation signs)
PK 41.8     Mont-Saint-Père landing stage r/b, village 200m

Mont-St-Pere has various bankside moorings, including the quay pictured above right. The upper photograph is of the ecluse at PK30 Courcelles, showing the typical scenery. Lower left shows a typical riverside fallen branch.

PK 41.5     Bridge (Mont-Saint-Père)
PK 41.1     Mézy-Moulin pontoon l/b, slipway, village 400m
PK 37.5     Jaulgonne bridge, quay for 1 boat d/s r/b, night €3, water, electricity, slipway, restaurant with quay u/s r/b, village r/b
PK 32.1     Bridge (Passy)
PK 30.5     Lock 4 (Courcelles), r/b, weir
PK 28.5     Trélou-sur-Marne r/b
PK 26.3     Dormans bridge, short quay and pontoons for 7 boats u/s l/b, night (€2-7), water €3), electricity €3), shower, slipway, alternative mooring d/s at silo quay, village l/b

PK26 Dormans (left) has excellent pontoons with water and electricity by a (quiet, not too close) camp-site that has showers, etc.

PK 22.9     Bridge (Try), quay u/s r/b, Verneuil 1000m r/b
PK 17.7     Lock 3 (Vandières) sloping walls with pontoon, in short lock-cut, r/b
PK 15.2     Island (navigation in both arms)
PK 14.8     Port-à-Binson bridge, commercial quays u/s l/b, 3 floating pontoons, water, electricity, slipway, village l/b
PK 11.8     Reuil bridge, quay d/s r/b,  water, electricity, slipway, village r/b
PK 8.3     End of lock cut
PK 8.2     Lock 2 (Damery), sloping walls with pontoon
PK 7.8     Bridge (Port aux Vins)
PK 6.6     Entrance to lock-cut, r/b, bridge
PK 5.4     Damery bridge, quays and pontoons for 5 boats u/s r/b, water, electricity, village r/b
PK 3.3     End of lock-cut
PK 3.2     Lock 1 (Cumières), sloping walls with pontoon, bridge
PK 2.5     Entrance to Cumières lock-cut, r/b, bridge
PK 1.0     Cumières bridge, pontoons for 3 boats, water and electricity, trip boat, village d/s r/b
PK 0.0     Junction with Canal latéral à la Marne (d/s of Dizy lock) and junction with embranchement d’Épernay

Embranchement de Bonneuil
PK 10.4     Junction with Canal Saint-Maur, r/b
PK 10.0     Bridge (Maisons-Alfort)
PK 9.0     Footbridge (Créteil)
PK 8.7     Quay (Saint-Maur-Créteil) r/b
PK 8.4     Créteil bridge, town l/b
PK 8.2     Lock (Créteil), l/b, VHF 18, weir, footbridge, water
PK 7.2     Footbridge (Passerelle de la Pie)
PK 6.9     Entrance to basins of port of Bonneuil, l/b
PK 5.4     Bonneuil bridge, u/s limit of inland port of Bonneuil
PK 4.6     Railway bridge (RER)
PK 3.2     Bridge (Chennevières)
PK 3.1     D/s tip of Casenave island
PK 2.5     U/s tip of Casenave island, navigation in both arms
PK 0.5     Bridge (Champigny)
PK 0.0     Railway bridge, u/s limit of navigation

Embranchement d’Épernay
PK 5.0     Junction with Canal latéral à la Marne, r/b, origin of canalised River Marne
PK 3.1     Bridge (D951)
PK 1.4     Épernay bridge, mooring (halte nautique) r/b, town centre 500m l/b
PK 0.8     Épernay boat harbour l/b, 14 berths, night €19, water, electricity, shower, slipway, repairs, restaurant, wifi
PK 0.0     Railway bridge, limit of navigation