Canal de Montech and River Tarn
Information about the 11km long Canal de Montech (to Montauban) and River Tarn
The Canal de Montech is an important branch of the Canal de Garonne, 11km long from Montech to Montauban. It was opened at the same time as the rest of the canal in 1856. In Montauban it connects with a short but popular navigable length of the river Tarn, through the recently restored double staircase lock. The canal had to be closed in 1996 because of leakage through its embankments, but was restored and reopened in 2006, and now has a well-equipped boat harbour in the canal basin at Montauban. The river Tarn is navigable up to Corbarieu, a further 8km. Only this section of the river is described here, since there are no active plans to continue restoration downstream through Montauban to Moissac, opening up the Tarn loop (we recommended this is a a study in 1993), nor upstream towards Albi. The navigable section of the Tarn in Moissac is described as part of the Canal de Garonne.
Key Waterway Dimensions
- Max Beam: m
- Max Height: m
- Max Draught: m
Local Waterway Links
The canal is reliably supplied with water and easy to navigate, with its old 30m locks, and without the bypass channels of the main line. The canal does not see much traffic, and may be affected by weed growth. Navigability of the Tarn depends on the stage of the river, the outlet from the canal being situated just above the impressive and at times treacherous Sapiacou weir.
The speed limit is 8 km/h, 3 km/h past moored boats.
Locks – There are 10 easy locks on the canal, falling towards Montauban, maximum drop 3m. They are operated by a remote control that is available at the first lock at Lacourt-Saint-Pierre.
The last is a double staircase lock down to the Tarn. There are no locks on the currently navigable Tarn (those between Labastide-Saint-Pierre and Albi are disused).
Draught – The maximum authorised draught is 1.60m. Boats drawing more than 1.20m should proceed with all due caution on the Tarn, where there is no guaranteed depth.
Headroom – All bridges leave a minimum headroom of 3.70m above normal water level.
Authority – VNF – Direction territoriale Sud-Ouest
– Subdivision de Tarn-et-Garonne: Delbessous-Sud, 82200 Moissac
PK 0.0 Junction with Canal de Garonne at Montech (PK 43), bridge
The canal branches off from Montech just opposite the port de plaisance with its capitainerie, restaurant. Plans to restore the unique water slope are on hold.
PK 1.1 Bridge (Rat)
PK 2.5 Motorway bridge (A62)
PK 3.4 Lacourt-Saint-Pierre bridge, mooring for 5 boats, night €5, capitaine Jérôme Tressel, water, electricity, small village l/b
A small, pretty village with an excellent quayside mooring. Épicerie-bar in the village. Imposing 19th C château.
PK 4.5 Lock 1bis (Noalhac)
PK 4.7 Bridge (Noalhac)
PK 5.0 Lock 2bis (Lamothe)
PK 5.4 Lock 3bis (Fisset)
PK 6.2 Lock 4bis (Brétoille)
PK 6.6 Lock 5bis (Mortarieu), bridge
PK 6.9 Lock 6bis (Terrasse)
PK 7.3 Lock 7bis (Rabastens)
PK 7.6 Lock 8bis (Verlhaguet), bridge
PK 9.2 Lock 9bis (Bordebasse), bridge
PK 10.6 Montauban basin, moorings for 18 boats, night €3, water €2, electricity €1.50, showers €1, town centre 1 km
A historic and beautiful town, Montauban, the birthplace of Ingres, lies on the River Tarn, is prone to winter deluges. The Pont Vieux (completed 1335) has large arched openings above the bridge spans, to allow extreme flood waters to pass through. In the centre of the photo, the Museé Ingres has a huge number of his paintings and was originally the castle of the English Black Prince.
The port de plaisance is pleasantly located, public, but feels safe. The town is an easy 10-15min walk away, but one route is through a very low and smelly tunnel under the adjacent railway line. Alternatively take the rather vertiginous stone steps by the Descente au Tarn locks, under the railway and out by the gorgeous (but peeling) Art Déco rowing club. For the nearest boulangerie, take the side of the lock nearest the graffiti-covered lock-house, continue along the track by the river that then rejoins the road, and then turn right.
PK 10.7 Locks 10bis/11bis down to river Tarn
PK 10.9 Junction with river Tarn, turn right to head upstream
River Tarn section
PK 0.0 Junction with Canal de Montech at Montauban, Sapiacou mill and weir downstream
PK 1.6 Bridge (Montauban bypass)
PK 4.5 Bressols rowing club l/b, pontoon, slipway
PK 4.5 Bressols, pontoon mooring 50m long l/b, village with shops 400m
PK 7.9 Corbarieu, mooring 50m long r/b, village centre 600m
PK 8.8 Former lock and weir at Labastide-Saint-Pierre, disused, limit of navigation