Information about the 67km of canal from Epernay to Vitry le Francois that connects the River Marne navigation with the Marne-Saone canal.
The canal was opened in 1845 and rises (or falls) 34m through 15 locks. The canal is relatively short and is straight in parts but passes through some pretty villages most of which have opportunities to moor even if there is not a dedicated pontoon available. It also passes through one of the A.C Champagne areas, with Chalons as its focus. The canal does still carry some commercial traffic (about 10 peniches per day at each lock) that can be slow-moving and difficult to overtake – there’s often little point in trying, since peniches have priority at locks and are allowed to start their day earlier than plaisanciers. Better to slow down, leave a comfortable distance and enjoy. The advantage of there still being some peniche traffic is that (by ‘ploughing’ through) they keep the depth maintained.
See also general notes (foot of page).
- Approximate minimum depth 1.80m, headroom 3.5m, width 5m. These are the ‘book’ values and may vary according to conditions. Navigating the canal should not present any difficulties to normal pleasure craft and it is one of the recommended routes from the Channel to the Mediterranean. It is usually reliably and well supplied with water.
- Speed limit 8kph. Opening hours during the season 08:00 to 18:00. All ecluses are mechanised, all except two (that have radar sensors) are operated by means of ‘perches’ – rods that hang down over the water before the ecluse; twist to set it working. See lock operation.
- Using a pilot-guide book is strongly recommended: Breil Guides or Fluviacarte (Navicarte) Guides.
Epernay, the ‘capital of Champagne’ lies 5km beyond the western end of the canal, on the River Marne. See information here.
Port de Plaisance with all facilities. It is also possible to moor bank-side at the village of Ay PK62.
A really nice little village. Making for Mareuil, we arrived at the pont tournant here after 18:00 and got ‘stranded’, which was no hardship, quite the reverse.
Pretty village – and ecluse. Mooring on the village quay, no services.
Halte with pontoons (and water and electricity when we moored there in 2003). Junction with the Canal de l’Aisne a la Marne.
PK32 Chalons-en-Champagne (sur Marne)
Chalonsis the centre of the eastern A.C Champagne area, it is also the capital of the Champagne-Ardennes region. The city is historic and well-resourced. It is possible to moor in the canal branch just below the ecluse (lock) and indeed to take a small dinghy (or a pleasure craft trip) from there along the channel that passes in a circular route through the historic heart of the city. The ecluse is manned. The most usual mooring is immediately above the lock and part way into the island inlet – beware, though, this rapidly becomes very shallow further in. Very pleasant, but no services.
A quiet Halte by grassland at the small village of Soulanges. No services. No shops that we could find, but a pleasant overnight or lunchtime stop.Between here and Chalons there are a number of pleasant village quays and other places to moor.
Junction with the Canal Marne au Rhin.