Marne–Rhine Canal

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Canal de la Marne au Rhin
The Marne-Rhine Canal at Niderviller, Moselle
Length313 km (194 mi)
Locks154 (originally 178)
Construction began1838
Date completed1853
Start pointCanal latéral à la Marne in Vitry-le-François
End pointRhine in Strasbourg
Beginning coordinates48°43′48″N 4°36′24″E / 48.730123°N 4.606670°E / 48.730123; 4.606670
Ending coordinates48°35′26″N 7°47′16″E / 48.590661°N 7.787779°E / 48.590661; 7.787779
Connects toCanal latéral à la Marne, Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne, Canal de la Meuse, Moselle, Canal de la Sarre, Rhine

The Canal de la Marne au Rhin (Marne–Rhine Canal) is a canal in north-eastern France. It connects the river Marne and the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne in Vitry-le-François with the port of Strasbourg on the Rhine. The original objective of the canal was to connect Paris and the north of France with Alsace and Lorraine, the Rhine, and Germany.[1] The 313 km (194 mi) long canal was the longest in France when it opened in 1853.[2]


The canal is suited for small barges (péniches), with a maximum size of 38.50 metres (126.3 ft) in length and 5.05 metres (16.6 ft) in width. It has 154 locks, including two in the Moselle. There are four tunnels. The Saint-Louis-Arzviller inclined plane is located between Arzviller and Saint-Louis and its construction replaced 17 locks.[1]

In 1979, a 23 kilometres (14 mi) section along the Moselle valley was closed following the completion of the Moselle canalisation works between Frouard and Neuves-Maisons. The route is now made up as follows:

  • Canal de la Marne au Rhin, western section (PK 0-131), connecting with the Canal de la Meuse at Troussey (PK 111), and with a branch to Houdelaincourt (PK 85),
  • the navigable river Moselle from Toul to Pompey and the Frouard branch from Pompey to Frouard (a distance of 25 km, slightly longer than by the original canal),
  • the eastern section, from Frouard to Strasbourg (PK 154-313); this section connects with the Nancy branch at Laneuveville-devant-Nancy (PK 169), the Canal de la Sarre at Gondrexange (PK 228), and the river Ill in Strasbourg (PK 311).[2]

The western section, 131.4 km (81.6 mi) has 97 locks, 70 rising to the summit level and 27 down to the Moselle at Toul. The Moselle section has three locks of high-capacity Rhine dimensions on the river and one on the Frouard branch, and an additional Freycinet size lock connecting to the original canal in Frouard. The eastern section, 159 km (99 mi), has 56 locks, 21 rising to the summit level crossing the Vosges watershed and 35 down to Strasbourg.[2]

Its course crosses the following départements and towns:

Tunnel near Arzviller

En Route[edit]

The end in Strasbourg
PK 0 Vitry-le-François 48°43′48″N 4°36′24″E / 48.730123°N 4.606670°E / 48.730123; 4.606670 (Vitry-le-François)
PK 47 Bar-le-Duc 48°46′27″N 5°10′08″E / 48.774198°N 5.168792°E / 48.774198; 5.168792 (Bar-le-Duc)
PK 62 Ligny-en-Barrois 48°41′16″N 5°19′05″E / 48.687829°N 5.317922°E / 48.687829; 5.317922 (Ligny-en-Barrois)
PK 86.5 Mauvages tunnel 48°35′04″N 5°31′08″E / 48.584403°N 5.518899°E / 48.584403; 5.518899 (Mauvages tunnel)
PK 111 junction with Canal de la Meuse 48°42′52″N 5°41′24″E / 48.714472°N 5.690103°E / 48.714472; 5.690103 (junction of Marne–Rhine Canal and Meuse Canal)
PK 130 Toul 48°40′40″N 5°53′02″E / 48.677837°N 5.883757°E / 48.677837; 5.883757 (Toul)
PK 131.5 junction with Moselle 48°40′59″N 5°54′21″E / 48.683188°N 5.905906°E / 48.683188; 5.905906 (junction of Marne–Rhine Canal and Moselle)
PK 154.5 entrance to canal from Frouard branch of Moselle
PK 164 Nancy 48°41′38″N 6°11′34″E / 48.693756°N 6.192840°E / 48.693756; 6.192840 (Nancy)
PK 178 Dombasle 48°37′41″N 6°20′42″E / 48.628095°N 6.344928°E / 48.628095; 6.344928 (Dombasle)
PK 222 Réchicourt 48°41′32″N 6°50′42″E / 48.692202°N 6.845136°E / 48.692202; 6.845136 (Réchicourt)
PK 255 Saint-Louis-Arzviller inclined plane 48°42′57″N 7°13′06″E / 48.715911°N 7.218292°E / 48.715911; 7.218292 (Saint-Louis-Arzviller inclined plane)
PK 259 Lutzelbourg 48°44′09″N 7°15′23″E / 48.735872°N 7.256384°E / 48.735872; 7.256384 (Lutzelbourg)
PK 269 Saverne 48°44′34″N 7°21′59″E / 48.742677°N 7.366299°E / 48.742677; 7.366299 (Saverne)
PK 286 Hochfelden 48°44′56″N 7°34′10″E / 48.748809°N 7.569442°E / 48.748809; 7.569442 (Hochfelden)
PK 307 Souffelweyersheim 48°38′03″N 7°45′10″E / 48.634203°N 7.752879°E / 48.634203; 7.752879 (Souffelweyersheim)
PK 313 Strasbourg 48°35′26″N 7°47′16″E / 48.590661°N 7.787779°E / 48.590661; 7.787779 (Strasbourg)
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McKnight, Hugh (2005). Cruising French Waterways, 4th Edition. Sheridan House. ISBN 978-1574092103.
  2. ^ a b c Edwards-May, David (2010). Inland Waterways of France. St Ives, Cambs., UK: Imray. p. 137. ISBN 978-1-846230-14-1.

External links[edit]