Information about the 48km long Canal de l’Oise à l’Aisne

Canal de l'oise a l'aisne location map France

The Canal de l’Oise à l’Aisne, opened to navigation in 1890, forms an important link between the Canal latéral à l’Oise at Abbécourt basin (PK 3) and the Canal latéral à l’Aisne at Bourg-et-Comin (PK 38). This 48km junction canal still carries regular commercial traffic (up to 20 barges a day), but is also on one of the main routes used by boats heading south from Calais, Dunkerque or Belgium. The route is regularly used by commercial traffic, which as always, takes priority at the locks, and at the tunnel.
There are short aqueducts at each end of the canal, over the rivers Oise and Aisne.
The summit level between the two valleys, at an altitude of 66m, includes a 2365m long tunnel at Braye-en-Laonnois. The tunnel’s width at water level is 6.50m, and the free headroom at least 3.50m. All vessels proceed through the tunnel under their own power, respecting the lights at each entrance. There may be delays of up to one hour.

Canal de l'oise a l'aisne region map

History – Part of the Freycinet plan, this link canal was one of the last to be built in France. It was opened in 1890, with locks 40.50 by 6 m and a depth of 2.20m. These dimensions still apply today. The canal provides a short cut between Champagne and the Canal de Saint-Quentin, crossing the Oise on a fine aqueduct.

Key Waterway Dimensions

  • Max Beam: 6m
  • Max Height: 3.50m
  • Max Draught: 2m


Navigation The canal is very attractive, almost entirely rural, deep in the countryside away from towns and even villages. It ascends slowly to a plateau, then through the Braye-en-Laonnois tunnel and then fairly quickly descends to Bourg-et-Comin. Traffic may be relatively dense until at least March 2017, while the river Aisne remains closed following partial failure of the weir at Vic-sur-Aisne.

Locks – There are 13 locks, of which 9 climb 24.96m from the Oise  to the summit level, while 4 drop the 14.25m differ­ence in level to the Aisne. They are of improved Freycinet dimensions, 40.50 by 6.00m.

Draught The maximum authorised draught is 2.00m.

Headroom The fixed bridges offer a headroom of not less than 3.50m.

Towpath There is a towpath throughout.

Authority VNF – Direction territoriale Bassin de la Seine
–    44, rue du Gouvernement, BP 616, 02321 Saint-Quentin cedex (PK 0-25)
–    quai Malmy, BP 5114, 08303 Rethel (PK 25-48)

Click to enlarge

Canal de l'oise a l'aisne waterway strip

Route description

PK 0.0     Junction with Canal latéral à l’Oise (PK 3), basin

PK 0.1     Bridge (Abbécourt)
PK 0.2     Lock 1 (Abbécourt)

This is the first of an easy sequence of 9 locks ascending to Pargny-Filan
PK 0.3     Oise aqueduct
PK 1.4     Bridge (Marizelle), quay u/s r/b
PK 2.8     Bridge (Bac)
PK 3.0     Ailette aqueduct
PK 3.4     Bridge (Manicamp)
PK 4.3     Bridge (Saint-Paul-aux-Bois), quay, turning basin d/s l/b
PK 7.7     Champs bridge, quay u/s l/b, small village 1200m r/b
PK 9.4     Bridge (Quincy)
PK 10.8     Guny bridge, quay d/s l/b, village 300m
PK 11.4     Bridge (Tempet)
PK 11.5     Lock 2 (Guny), water
PK 12.3     Pont-Saint-Mard bridge, quay and turning basin u/s l/b, village 1000m

PK 14.1     Bridge (Crécy-au-Mont)
PK 14.2     Lock 3 (Crécy-au-Mont)
PK 16.0     Bridges (Béthancourt), D1 (two carriageways)
PK 16.1     Basin (Crécy-au-Mont), quay l/b, Coucy-le-Château 3000m r/b
PK 17.1     Lock 4 (Leuilly)
PK 18.1     Bridge (Landricourt)
PK 19.3     Bridge (Courson), quay u/s l/b

Abbecourt aqueduct
Abbécourt aqueduct © Jacques Mossot/Structurae

PK 21.9     Railway bridge
PK 22.0     Lock 5 (Vauxaillon)
PK 22.4     Vauxaillon bridge, quay d/s l/b, village 2000m
PK 24.4     Bridge (Locq)
PK 25.4     Pinon bridge, quay d/s and basin u/s l/b, village 1300m, Anizy-le-Château 500m r/b
PK 25.9     Railway bridge
PK 26.0     Lock 6 (Pinon), water
PK 31.0     Bridge
PK 31.1     Lock 7 (Chaillevois), quay u/s l/b
PK 33.2     Bridge (main road N2)
PK 33.4     Chavignon basin, quay l/b, village 1500m
PK 33.6     Bridge (D23)
PK 33.7     Lock 8 (Chavignon)
PK 34.9     Bridge (D15)
PK 35.0     Lock 9 (Pargny-Filain), quay and turning basin u/s l/b, night €7, water, electricity, beginning of summit level

Small village Halte on pontoons, water. Near the Lac de Monampteuil bathing and water sports lake – with beach.

PK 37.8     Chevregny bridge, quay d/s r/b, village 1500m
PK 38.3     Braye tunnel, Oise portal
PK 40.7     Braye tunnel, Aisne portal

lluminated and controlled by lights. Followed by a close sequence of 4 locks descending to Bourg-et-Comin, including a pont-canal over the River Aisne. The location is close to the Chemin des Dames ridge where there were 430,000 French and German casualties (dead, wounded, unknown) during the second Battle of the Aisne in 1917.

PK 40.9     Braye-en-Laonnois bridge, village 500m l/b
PK 41.4     Bridge (Épinettes)
PK 41.9     Bridge (Mont-Saint-Aubeu), quay d/s r/b
PK 42.6     Lock 10 (Moulin Brûlé), end of summit level
PK 43.3     Lock 11 (Metz),
PK 43.4     Bridge
PK 43.6     Quay (Moussy-Soupir) r/b
PK 43.9     Lock 12 (Moussy-Soupir)
PK 44.0     Bridge
PK 44.8     Lock 13 (Verneuil-Courtonne)
PK 45.4     Bridge (Verneuil)
PK 46.3     Bridge (Bourg, 9)
PK 46.7     Bridge (Bourg, 10)
PK 47.2     Aisne aqueduct
PK 47.5     Bourg-et-Comin bridge (11), quay d/s r/b, village 700m l/b
PK 47.8     Junction with Canal latéral à l’Aisne (PK 38)