Information about the 39km long river Seille (from the Saône to Louhans)
The Seille, one of the most charming cruising rivers in France, extends 39km from the Saône at La Truchère (downstream of Tournus) to the head of navigation at the picturesque town of Louhans. Canalised, with four locks, the river winds peacefully past lush meadows and wooded slopes, its banks providing ample opportunity to moor overnight while tied to a tree, and the constantly changing pastoral landscape contrasts with the relative monotony of the broad Saône valley. The river has become increasingly popular, thanks in part to the establishment of two hire bases, at Louhans and Branges. Excellent pontoon moorings for boats, with water and electricity, have been installed at Louhans, Cuisery and La Truchère.
There is no commercial traffic, but during the season a 30m trip boat occasionally operates between Chalon-sur-Saône or Tournus and La Truchère or Cuisery.
History – The river Seille was canalised in the late 18th century to provide access from the Saône to the important market town of Louhans. La Truchère lock was the only lock to be lengthened to Freycinet standards in the late 19th century.
Key Waterway Dimensions
- Max Beam: 5.20m
- Max Height: 3.50m
- Max Draught: 1.30m
Local Waterway Links
Maximum speed 10km/h, and 6km/h in the lock-cuts. The Seille has very little current and generally offers a good depth throughout its width, so there is no particular problem of navigation in the reaches. Cross-currents may present a difficulty on entering and leaving the lock-cuts in time of flood.
Locks – There are four locks, all situated in short lock-cuts on the left bank and overcoming a total difference in level of 7.20m. The first lock, at La Truchère, has standard barge dimensions of 38.50 by 5.20m. The other three are 30.40m long and 6.20m wide. There are no longer permanent lock-keepers at locks 2 (Brienne), 3 (Loisy) or 4 (Branges). However, during school holidays students are present to assist with these locks which use the conventional winding gear fitted to the gate sluices and the less common chain and capstan gear for the gates (the very greasy chain, best avoided at all times, sometimes catches, giving the impression that the gate is obstructed; do not be deceived!).
Draught – The maximum authorised draught is 1.30m.
Headroom – The maximum authorised air draught is 3.50m.
Navigation – Maximum speed 10km/h, and 6km/h in the lock-cuts. A canalised river, the Seille has very little current and generally offers a good depth throughout its width, so there is no particular problem of navigation in the reaches. Cross-currents may present a difficulty on entering and leaving the lock-cuts in time of flood.
Authority – VNF – Délégation locale de la Saône-et-Loire (under experimental management by Région Bourgogne)
– 9e écluse Océan, B.P. 180, 71307 Montceau-les-Mines cedex tel 03 85 67 90 50
PK 0.0 Junction with Saône opposite kp 106 (just upstream of wood on left bank), enter with caution from slightly d/s and proceed slowly, awkward approach to lock
PK 0.7 Lock 1 La Truchère, bridge
PK 1.1 La Truchère, quay r/b (two restaurants), pontoon moorings for 10 boats, night €8, water, electricity, boats for day hire
PK 3.7 Seille bridge (D933)
PK 8.6 Ratenelle, bridge, restaurant, shops in village 500m r/b
PK 9.0 Railway bridge (disused)
PK 13.2 Lock 2 (Brienne), unattended out of season
PK 13.6 Bridge (Cuisery)
PK 13.7 Cuisery pontoon moorings for 35 boats, night €9, water, electricity, showers, slipway, campsite r/b, village 500m
PK 17.8 Loisy, destroyed bridge (village 500m r/b), Locaboat hire base
PK 18.2 Lock 3 (Loisy), unattended out of season, kiosk (arts and crafts)
PK 23.4 Port de Chevreuse, bridge, water l/b
PK 27.7 Bantanges l/b
PK 32.7 Auberge and restaurant r/b
PK 34.8 Junction with weir stream, r/b, navigable 600m u/s to Branges, village with boat harbour and Le Boat hire base, 5 berths, night €10, diesel (on request), water, electricity, showers, slipway, restaurant
PK 35.5 Lock 4 (Branges), bridge, unattended out of season
PK 38.7 Louhans quay and pontoon moorings, capacity 25 boats, night €8, water, electricity, showers, slipway, pump-out, tourist office, town centre 300m
PK 38.8 Confluence of Solnan l/b
PK 38.8 Railway bridge and René Cassin bridge (Louhans town centre with all services l/b)
PK 39.0 Head of navigation