La Nouvelle branch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Canal de Jonction at Sallèles d'Aude

The La Nouvelle branch (French: embranchement de La Nouvelle)[n 1] is a 37.3-kilometre (23.2 mi) [1] lateral branch of the Canal du Midi in Aude, south-central France which runs from the Canal du Midi through Narbonne and on to the Mediterranean. It is composed of three waterways: the first 5.1 kilometres (3.2 mi) is the Canal de Jonction from the Canal du Midi to the Aude, the second section is 800 metres (2,625 ft) of the Aude itself and the third is the 31.6 kilometres (19.6 mi) Canal de la Robine which enters the Mediterranean at Port-la-Nouvelle.[2] The La Nouvelle branch is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Canal du Midi and is managed by the French navigation authority, Voies navigables de France.

Canal de Jonction[edit]

Canal de Jonction
Canal du Midi
Cesse Footbridge
Cesse Lock
Truilhas Lock
Empare Lock
Argeliers Lock
Saint Cyr Lock
Sallèles-d'Aude Footbridge
Sallèles Lock
Sallèles Bridge
Gailhousty Bridge
Gailhousty Lock
River Aude
Canal de la Robine

The Canal de Jonction runs in a dead straight line and was built in 1776 to provide access to Narbonne from the Canal du Midi via the Canal de la Robine.[3] The Canal de Jonction enters the Aude some 800 m upstream from where the Canal de la Robine leaves it. Prior to 1776 the Canal du Midi port for Narbonne was Le Somail, 13.8 kilometres (8.6 mi) by road from the city centre.[2]

Locks on the Canal de Jonction[edit]

Lock number[n 2] Lock name[2] Coordinates
(with links to maps and satellite images)
Number of chambers Distance from the Canal du Midi[2] Image Elevation
km mi ft m
1 Cesse Lock 43°16′55″N 2°55′26″E / 43.281825°N 2.923963°E / 43.281825; 2.923963 (Cesse Lock) 1 0.3 0.19
Cesse Lock on the Canal de Jonction (Nancy).jpg
106 32
2 Truilhas Lock 43°16′38″N 2°55′44″E / 43.277101°N 2.929015°E / 43.277101; 2.929015 (Truilhas Lock) 1 1.0 0.62 91 28
3 Empare Lock 43°16′20″N 2°56′03″E / 43.272307°N 2.934109°E / 43.272307; 2.934109 (Empare Lock) 1 1.6 0.99 85 26
4 Argeliers Lock 43°16′03″N 2°56′21″E / 43.267613°N 2.939171°E / 43.267613; 2.939171 (Argeliers Lock) 1 2.3 1.4 79 24
5 Saint-Cyr Lock 43°15′46″N 2°56′40″E / 43.262791°N 2.944323°E / 43.262791; 2.944323 (Saint-Cyr Lock) 1 3.0 1.9 72 22
6 Sallèles Lock 43°15′26″N 2°56′59″E / 43.257163°N 2.949848°E / 43.257163; 2.949848 (Sallèles Lock) 1 3.7 2.3
Salleles Lock on the Canal de Jonction (Nancy).JPG
66 20
7 Gailhousty Lock 43°14′52″N 2°57′21″E / 43.247839°N 2.955702°E / 43.247839; 2.955702 (Gailhousty Lock) 1 4.9 3.0
Gailhousty Lock on the Canal de Jonction (Nancy).JPG
50 15

The Aude[edit]

Canal de Jonction meets the Aude

The Aude is only traversed for 800 metres (870 yd) between the two canals however on leaving the Canal de Jonction it is necessary to navigate upstream first before turning and coming back downstream against the opposite bank to the Canal de la Robine in order to avoid shallows caused by silt banks in the middle of the channel.[2]

Canal de la Robine[edit]

Canal de la Robine
Canal de Jonction
River Aude
Moussoulens Lock
Pont Vieux, Moussoulens
Raonel Lock
Gua Lock
Railway Bridge
Escoute Bridge
Carmes Bridge
Voltaire Bridge
Narbonne Lock
Merchants' Bridge, Narbonne
Sainte Catherine Bridge
Mandirac Lock
Road Bridge
A9 motorway
Sainte-Lucie Lock
Railway Bridge
Mediterranean Sea

Following its opening in 1681, the commercial success of the Canal du Midi was such that Narbonne traders demanded improved access to it, so in 1686 the Canal de la Robine was constructed by Vauban as a lockless open cut following an abandoned course of the Aude.[2] The northern end of the canal is at the Aude at Moussoulens just south of Sallèles-d'Aude from where goods were transported by land to the Canal du Midi at Le Somail — a journey of approximately 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). A century later, when the Canal de Jonction was constructed, the Canal de la Robine was straightened and six single locks were built to deal with the more severe gradients, Narbonne finally had direct waterway access to the Canal du Midi.

From the Aude the canal passes through the centre of Narbonne and under the Merchants' Bridge (fr: le pont des Marchands) which is one of the few bridges in France which is still lined with houses. From there it runs through Bages and the Ile Sainte Lucie nature reserve before meeting the Mediterranean at Port-la-Nouvelle.

Locks on the Canal de la Robine[edit]

Lock number[n 2] Lock name[2] Coordinates
(with links to maps and satellite images)
Number of chambers Distance from the Canal du Midi [2] Image Elevation
km mi ft m
8 Moussoulens Lock 43°14′42″N 2°57′39″E / 43.244865°N 2.960728°E / 43.244865; 2.960728 (Moussoulens Lock) 1 5.8 3.6 44 13
9 Raonel Lock 43°13′41″N 3°00′13″E / 43.228013°N 3.003509°E / 43.228013; 3.003509 (Raonel Lock) 1 9.8 6.1
Raonel Lock on the Canal de la Robine (Nancy).JPG
26 7.9
10 Gua Lock 43°11′29″N 3°00′04″E / 43.191271°N 3.001063°E / 43.191271; 3.001063 (Gua Lock) 1 14.2 8.8
Gua Lock on the Canal de la Robine (Nancy).JPG
30 9.1
11 Narbonne Lock 43°11′03″N 3°00′06″E / 43.184116°N 3.001693°E / 43.184116; 3.001693 (Narbonne Lock) 1 15.3 9.5
Narbonne Lock on the Canal de la Robine (Nancy).JPG
24 7.3
12 Mandirac Lock 43°07′19″N 3°01′51″E / 43.122056°N 3.030913°E / 43.122056; 3.030913 (Mandirac Lock) 1 24.1 15.0 13 4.0
13 Sainte-Lucie Lock 43°02′50″N 3°03′21″E / 43.047141°N 3.055856°E / 43.047141; 3.055856 (Sainte-Lucie Lock) 1 34.3 21.3 9 2.7


  1. ^ It is also sometimes referred to as branche de La Nouvelle or embranchement de Port-la-Nouvelle.
  2. ^ a b Lock numbers are as given in the appendix of the 1994 edition From Sea to Sea by L. T. C. Rolt.


  1. ^ McKnight, Hugh (2005). Cruising French Waterways. Sheridan House. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-57409-210-3. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Rolt, L. T. C. (1973). From Sea to Sea: An Illustrated History of the Canal du Midi. Allen Lane. ISBN 9782910185022. 
  3. ^ "Le Canal de Jonction et la Robine de Narbonne". (in French). Retrieved 2008-11-02. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]