Information about the 4km of the Canal de Pont-de-Vaux from the Grande Saône to Pont-de-Vaux

The short Canal de Pont-de-Vaux gives access from the Saône at Fleurville to the market town, a distance of less than 4 km. Since it was restored to navigation, it has become firmly established as a boating destination thanks to the marina developed in two phases at the head of navigation, close to the centre of the small town.

HistoryThis short canal could have been a significant waterway if it had been continued as initially planned to Bourg-en-Bresse and the river Ain. The canal was conceded to the local intendant Louis Auguste Bertin in 1779, and engineer Léonard Racle surveyed the route. Works began in 1783, but were interrupted by the Revolution. Napoleon revived the project in 1810, but State funds were diverted to the wars. The canal was conceded to the council of Pont-de-Vaux in 1835, but it too found it impossible to fund the construction, which was finally completed by the State in 1843. The canal was conceded to the Ain département in 1934 for 20 years, but traffic had ceased, and the canal was officially closed when the concession ended in 1954. The author canvassed the mayor recommending restoration in 1983, and the project was eventually taken up and implemented in 1994.

Key Waterway Dimensions

  • Max beam: 5:00m
  • Max height: 4.20m
  • Max draught: 1.20m

Local Waterway Links

Beware of shoals around the entrance lock from the Saône. Once in the canal navigation is straightforward, and no particular difficulties should be encountered, except when the river Reyssouze is in flood. Boats will be exposed to the river’s current on entering the harbour basins at the end of the canal section. Speed is limited to 6 km/h.
Locks The canal has one lock 38.50 by 5.00 m at its entrance from the Saône. It is a semi-automatic, do-it-yourself lock.

The maximum authorised draught is 1.20 m.

The fixed bridges offer a minimum headroom of 4.20 m above normal water level, but this is reduced when the Saône floods to higher than the canal’s normal level. Navigation is not authorised when this level has been reached.

Communauté de Communes du Canton de Pont-de-Vaux
–    66 rue Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 01190 Pont-de-Vaux

Click to enlarge

Route description
PK 0.0    Junction with Saône,  PK 267.7
PK 0.1    Lock, bridge
PK 2.1    Bridge (La Cornate)
PK 3.2    Canal enters river Reyssouze, bridge
PK 3.5    Pont-de-Vaux footbridge, head of navigation, port de plaisance managed by Scite Plaisance, 225 berths,, night €10.50, fuel, water, electricity, showers, crane, slipway, pump-out, repairs, town 400m
Excellent modern port de plaisance, highly recommended, also for over-wintering.

Entrance lock at Fleurville