Information about the 75km long Canal de la Sarre and canalised river Sarre


The Canal de la Sarre branches off from the Canal de la Marne au Rhin near Gondrexange (PK 227), and after cutting through a vast forest strewn with lakes, runs down the Sarre valley to enter the river at Sarreguemines. Navigation continues on the canal­ised river to the German border a short distance upstream of Saarbrücken. The canal is 63km long, and the French portion of the canalised river Sarre is 12km long, making a total of 75km. The canal was built to carry coal from the mines around Saarbrücken, hence its original name ‘Canal des Houillères de la Sarre’.  The canal is rural in character and charming throughout. Through navigation down to the Moselle near Trier, 90km beyond Saarbrücken, is possible, thanks to canalisation of the Saar in Germany, making the industrial centre accessible to Rhine barges. This through route offers attractive possibilities for cruising, and Le Boat offers one-way cruises between its bases in Saarbrücken and on the Canal de la Marne au Rhin.Sarre-reg

History – A private company was set up to build the canal in 1844, but was wound up before works could begin. The State took over the project and the works were started in 1861, to be completed in 1867. Although predating the ‘Freycinet’ programme by nearly 20 years, it was built directly to these generous dimensions, justified by the huge volume of coal to be exported from the Saar collieries in Germany, since the river Saar itself was unnavigable. (The Saar canalisation in Germany was completed in 1986.) Transfer from State to Region is under negotiation.

Key Waterway Dimensions

  • Max Beam: 5.15m
  • Max Height: 3.65m
  • Max Draught: 1.80m

Local Waterway Links


Locks – There are 27 locks on the canal, falling towards the Sarre, and 3 locks on the French portion of the canalised river Sarre. The least dimensions are 39.00 by 5.15m.

Draught – The maximum authorised draught is 1.80m.

Headroom – The fixed bridges on the canal leave a minimum headroom of 3.65m above normal water level. The least headroom on the canalised river is 4.17m, reduced to 3.42m above the highest navigable water level.

Towpath – There is a good towpath throughout.

Authority – VNF – Direction interrégionale de Strasbourg
–    35 rue de Dieuze, 57930 Mittersheim (PK 0-25)
–    1 rue de Steinbach, BP 122, 57216 Sarreguemines cedex (PK 25-76)

Click to enlarge

Route description

PK 0.0     Junction with Canal de la Marne au Rhin (PK 228), near Gondrexange
PK 0.1     Restricted passage
PK 2.2     Boat harbour (Port du Houillon) l/b, 50 berths, night €16, diesel, water, electricity, shower, crane, repairs, wifi
PK 2.3     Bridge
PK 3.1     Flood gate, bridge
PK 3.9     Diane-Capelle bridge, village 200m r/b
PK 5.5     Lock 1, bridge, water, auberge with pontoon u/s r/b
PK 6.7     Stock aqueduct, Étang du Stock extends beyond both banks
PK 8.7     Restricted passage
PK 10.4     Bridge (Albeschaux), quay u/s l/b
PK 11.0     Lock 2
PK 11.5     Lock 3
PK 11.9     Lock 4
PK 12.4     Lock 5
PK 12.8     Lock 6
PK 13.2     Lock 7
PK 13.6     Lock 8, bridge, quay (Vorbusch) d/s r/b, café
PK 14.3     Lock 9
PK 15.2     Lock 10
PK 16.1     Lock 11
PK 17.4     Lock 12Gondrexange
PK 18.1     Railway bridge
PK 19.5     Lock 13, bridge
PK 20.0     Junction with Canal des Salines (abandoned), l/b
PK 20.1     Mittersheim basin r/b, Canal Evasion hire base, 32 berths (free), water, electricity, showers, restaurant, village 400m
PK 20.3     Lock 14, bridge
PK 22.6     Lock 15, quay (Pont-Vert) u/s l/b
PK 22.7     Bridge (D39)
PK 23.9     Quay (Burlach) l/b
PK 27.1     Lock 16, bridge, private quays (Schlumberger) u/s and d/s l/b
PK 28.3     Bridge (Neuweyerhof)
PK 29.5     Bridge (Muller), restricted width
PK 32.1     Bridge (Freywald), restricted width, Harskirchen 500m r/b
PK 32.8     Lock 17, bridge
PK 33.0     Bissert-Harskirchen basin, quay l/b, 20 berths, night €9, water, electricity, shower, slipway, pump-out, village 300m l/b
PK 33.5     Lock 18, bridge, water
PK 37.4     Bridge (Haras)
PK 37.9     Skew railway bridge, turning basin and private quay d/s l/b
PK 38.8     Lock 19
PK 39.2     Bridge (Rech)
PK 39.8     Albe aqueduct
PK 40.8     Lock 20, bridge, water
PK 41.1     Sarralbe quay l/b, water, electricity, small town 300m r/b over bridge
PK 41.3     Towpath bridge (changes from r/b to l/b)
PK 41.5     Pipeline crossing and bridge
PK 41.6     Private footbridge
PK 41.7     Solvay works, private quay r/b
PK 42.0     Private bridge and pipeline crossing
PK 42.3     Railway bridge
PK 42.9     Pipeline crossing
PK 43.0     Bridge (Niederau), restricted width
PK 44.8     Motorway bridge (A4)
PK 45.2     Herbitzheim bridge, quay u/s r/b, village 800m r/b
PK 45.6     Lock 21, bridge
PK 46.6     Pipeline crossing
PK 48.6     Pipeline crossing
PK 51.4     Skew railway bridge
PK 51.9     Lock 22, bridge, boatyard u/s l/b
PK 52.0     Wittring quay for 5 boats, night €10, water, electricity, restaurant, village l/b
PK 53.6     Railway bridge (Dieding)
PK 57.2     Skew railway bridge (Zetting)
PK 57.6     Lock 23, bridge, Zetting l/b
PK 60.2     Lock 24, bridge, Sarreinsming 400m r/b
PK 60.4     Bridge
PK 61.1     Remelfing quay l/b, turning basin, village 500m d/s l/b
PK 61.5     Lock 25, bridge
PK 63.0     Lock 26, bridge and railway viaduct, moorings d/s r/b
PK 63.4     Lock 27, VHF 20, water
PK 63.4     Navigation enters canalised river Sarre
PK 63.5     Bridge (D662, Sarreguemines southern bypass)
PK 63.7     Quays l/b (Grand Port de Sarreguemines)
PK 64.4     Sarreguemines footbridge, boat harbour along quay r/b (former china works converted into casino), 13 berths, night €10, fuel, water, electricity, shower, slipway, pump-out, restaurant, town centre r/b
PK 64.6     Bridge (Pont des Alliés), quay d/s l/b,  town centre l/b
PK 64.8     Bridge (Pont de l’Europe)
PK 64.9     Lock 28 and weir
PK 65.0     Confluence of Blies r/b (r/b in Germany from  this point), moorings night €10, diesel, water, electricity, slipway, pump-out
PK 65.7     Skew railway bridge
PK 66.2     Entrance to Welferding lock-cut, l/b
PK 66.4     Welferding bridge, village l/b
PK 66.8     Lock 29
PK 66.9     Navigation re-enters Sarre
PK 69.5     Loading quay for Auersmacher quarries (Germany) r/b
PK 70.1     Bridge (N61a, expressway spur)
PK 70.6     Quay for former Grosbliederstroff power station l/b
PK 71.1     Entrance to Grosbliederstroff lock-cut, l/b
PK 71.6     Grosbliederstroff footbridge, village l/b
PK 72.3     Turning basin
PK 72.7     Lock 30, bridge
PK 72.7     Navigation re-enters Sarre
PK 75.6     French-German border l/b (Saarbrücken 6km d/s)

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