Information about the 57km long canalised river Aisne and the 51km long Canal latéral à l’Aisne


The canalised river Aisne extends 57km from the confluence with the Oise at Bouche d’Aisne, a short distance upstream of Compiègne, to the entrance to the Canal latéral à l’Aisne at Celles, 15km east of the historic town of Soissons. The route east continues on the Canal latéral à l’Aisne, connecting with the Canal des Ardennes at Vieux-lès-Asfeld, a distance of 51km. The total length is 108km. The lateral canal also connects with the Canal de l’Aisne à la Marne at Berry-au-Bac and with the Canal de l’Oise à l’Aisne at Bourg-et-Comin. This makes it an important hub in the waterway network, carrying both north-south and east-west traffic.




History – The river Aisne was a commercial navigation as early as the Gallo-Roman period, and the river was navigated by rafts from a long distance above the present limit of navigation at Vailly-sur-Aisne until the mid-19th century. The large-scale canalisation works were begun in 1836, at the same time as construction of the lateral canal. The canal was completed first, in 1841, then two years later the river navigation. The waterway remains in the strategic national network. Commercial traffic in péniches carrying 220 tonnes is still several hundred thousand tonnes per year. Recreational traffic is mainly private boats. For many years there was discussion of the possibility of upgrading the river to high-capacity European standards, to serve the port of Reims or even as the first stage of a Seine-Moselle waterway.

Key Waterway Dimensions

  • Max Beam: 5.20m
  • Max Height: 3.50m
  • Max Draught: 1.80m


Navigation The Aisne and the canal are well-maintained waterways, used by Freycinet barges with their 220-tonne loads. Boaters should be wary of encounters with laden barges in blind bends, bridge holes, junctions and during poor weather.

Locks There are 7 locks on the river Aisne and 8 on the lateral canal. The locks on the river have dimensions larger than the Freycinet standard: 46.00 by 7.95m. Those on the lateral canal are the standard 38.90 by 5.20m. Clelles is a double staircase lock. Locks are numbered 1 to 15, working downstream. The eight on the lateral canal are all equipped for automatic operation.

Draught The maximum authorised draught is 2.00m at normal water level.

Headroom On the river, all fixed bridges leave a clear headroom of 4.70m above normal water levels, reduced to 3.70m above the highest navigable water level. Bridges on the canal offer a clear headroom of 3.50m.

Towpath There is a towpath throughout.

Authority – VNF – Direction territoriale Bassin de la Seine
UTI Seine-Nord Compiègne, 2 boulevard Gambetta, BP 20053, 60321 Compiègne cedex,

Click to enlarge

Route description

Route description
PK 108.3    Confluence with Oise  (PK 38.3)
PK 106.7    Bridge (D66 Choisy by-pass)
PK 105.8    Choisy-au-Bac bridge, quay 50m long d/s r/b, village 200m
PK 104.9    Lock 15 (Carandeau) in short lock-cut l/b, VHF 18, water
PK 102.9    Bridge (Francport), quay d/s l/b, Armistice clearing and memorial 700m l/b
PK 99.4    Rethondes bridge, quay downstream l/b, village 300m r/b
PK 97.9    Lock 14 (Hérant) in lock-cut l/b, VHF 22, water
PK 93.6    Berneuil-sur-Aisne bridge, quay l/b, village 800m r/b
PK 92.2    Lock 13 (Couloisy) in lock-cut l/b, VHF 18, water
PK 90.6    Attichy bridge, quay d/s r/b, water, village 500m r/b
PK 89.0    Jaulzy l/b
PK 86.1    Quays l/b
PK 85.7    Lock 12 (Vic-sur-Aisne) in short lock-cut l/b, water, bridge
PK 85.4    Vic-sur-Aisne bridge, silo, quay u/s r/b, water, electricity, showers, slipway, village r/b
PK 80.4    Fontenoy bridge, quay d/s l/b, village 1300m r/b
PK 78.6    Lock 11 (Fontenoy) in short lock-cut l/b,  footbridge, water
PK 77.5    Quay (Osly-Courtil) r/b, commercial barges only
PK 75.5    Island, navigation in l/b arm
PK 75.0    Quay (Pernant) l/b, commercial barges only
PK 72.7    Pommiers bridge, quay d/s r/b, village 400m r/b
PK 69.7    Bridge (Pasly)
PK 68.3    Footbridge (Passerelle de Cuffies), pedestrian and cycle path
PK 68.2    Lock 10 (Vauxrot) in short lock-cut l/b, water
PK 67.9    Navigation re-enters river
PK 67.0    Bridge (Pont du Mail), public quay with services r/b, private quays l/b
PK 66.8    Soissons quay r/b, town centre 400m l/b over bridge, water, electricity, showers €2, slipway
PK 66.6    Footbridge (Passerelle des Anglais)
PK 66.4    Bridge (Pont Gambetta)
PK 65.0    Railway bridge, private quays downstream l/b
PK 64.2    Entrance to lock-cut l/b, river navigable upstream 1.5 km to private quay r/b (Bucy arm)
PK 64.1    Lock 9 (Villeneuve-Saint-Germain), bridge, water
PK 63.5    End of lock-cut, navigation re-enters river
PK 62.9    Bridge (N2 Soissons bypass)
PK 61.1    Sand loading quay r/b
PK 59.1    Vénizel bridge, quay u/s r/b, village 300m l/b
PK 58.0    Footbridge, paper mill quay l/b, mooring, water
PK 55.0    Missy-sur-Aisne bridge, quay d/s r/b, village 700m r/b
PK 52.8    Confluence of Vesle l/b
PK 52.0    Condé-sur-Aisne bridge, quay d/s l/b, village 500m r/b
PK 51.4    Navigation enters river Aisne, navigable u/s 2km to Vailly-sur-Aisne for max draught 1.50m, small quay d/s of bridge, services in village r/b
PK 51.3    Connection with Canal latéral à l’Aisne (downstream of Celles double staircase lock)

Canal latéral (Aisne to Canal des Ardennes)

PK 51.3    Canal joins canalised river Aisne, r/b
PK 51.2    Double staircase lock 7/8 (Celles), bridge
PK 49.9    Bridge (Chassemy)
PK 48.9    Vailly-sur-Aisne bridge, pontoon mooring u/s l/b, small town 800m r/b
PK 48.5    Downstream end of Vailly basin
PK 48.2    Private quays l/b
PK 47.4    Upstream end of Vailly basin
PK 46.7    Lock 6 (Saint-Audebert), bridge, water
PK 45.3    Presles-et-Boves bridge, village 200m l/b
PK 44.5    Lock 5 (Cys-la-Commune), bridge, water
PK 43.6    Bridge (Saint-Mard)
PK 40.5    Pont-Arcy bridge, small village 300m r/b
PK 38.5    Lock 4 (Cendrière), bridge, water, quay d/s l/b
PK 38.4    Bourg-et-Comin quay r/b, pontoon mooring for 3 boats, water, electricity, village 800m r/b
PK 38.3    Junction with Canal de l’Oise à l’Aisne, r/b
PK 37.9    Bourg-et-Comin basin (500m long)
PK 37.5    Bridge (Bourg)
PK 36.7    Bridge (Moulin de Villers)
PK 35.9    Villers-en-Prayères bridge, private quays u/s, village 1km l/b, Œuilly 1km r/b
PK 34.5    Bridge (Aventure)
PK 32.7    Maizy bridge, quays u/s and d/s r/b, village l/b
PK 29.4    Footbridge
PK 28.1    Concevreux bridge, quay u/s r/b, village l/b
PK 25.8    Bridge (Canards)
PK 24.6    Pontavert bridge, quay d/s r/b, village 700m r/b
PK 23.4    Bridge (Cauries)
PK 21.0    Gernicourt bridge, small village 400m l/b
PK 19.0    Berry-au-Bac basin r/b
PK 18.7    Feeder enters r/b
PK 18.5    Lock 3 (Berry-au-Bac), bridge, water, village 600m r/b
PK 18.3    Junction with Canal de l’Aisne à la Marne, l/b
PK 17.7    Upstream end of Berry-au-Bac basin, quays l/b, limited services
Good mooring to banks, but often windy
PK 15.7    Bridge (A26 Autoroute des Anglais)
PK 15.5    Bridge
PK 13.9    Lock 2 (Condé-sur-Suippe), bridge, water, aqueduct u/s, village l/b, basin u/s for 300m
PK 12.9    Guignicourt bridge, silo and loading quay u/s l/b, village 1 km r/b
PK 12.7    Railway bridge
PK 11.8    Sand loading quay l/b
PK 10.5    Variscourt bridge, quay and small village d/s l/b, mooring for 4 boats, water
PK 7.2    Pignicourt quay, small village l/b
PK 6.9    Lock 1 (Pignicourt), water, bridge
PK 5.5    Neufchâtel-sur-Aisne bridge, quay u/s l/b, village 500m r/b
PK 4.2    Quay (Évergnicourt) r/b
PK 2.9    Bridge
PK 0.0    Junction with Canal des Ardennes (d/s of Vieux- lès-Asfeld)