Embark on the most unusual discovery of Alsace! Lulled by the lapping of water, take some time to discover the variety of our landscapes. Several circuits are available: from Saarbrücken in Germany to Gondrexange , you will go through the Alsace Bossue, punctuated by beautiful forests and countryside landscapes through the canal of the Sarre.
From Réchicourt to Strasbourg, cross the impressive inclined plane of Saint-Louis/Arzviller. You will be impressed with the boatlift built to replace 17 locks. The exit of the tunnel of Arzviller is the starting point of a bike path built on the towpath of the Marne-Rhine Canal, which goes all the way to Strasbourg.
From Strasbourg to Rhinau, the Rhone-Rhine Canal runs 38 km through the plain of the Ried, offering amateur sailors various landscapes ranging from meadows, groves and crops along with beautiful views of the Vosges and the Black Forest. Its towpath is used by the Véloroute Rhin-Eurovélo 15.
For 184 km, the Rhine forms a link between France and Germany. From Basle to Lauterbourg, pleasure boats go through ten locks busy with commercial traffic. Ranking as the top commercial route in Europe, the Rhine is also a major site for tourism, water sports and leisure activities between the Vosges and the Black Forest. Leisure boats, passenger boats and cruisers, jet skiing, water skiing, sailing, angling, rambling and bike rides are all on the agenda for those who fall in love with this internationally renowned symbol of Europe.
The Colmar Canal was inaugurated in 1864. It was built under the pressure of industrialists who suffered a set-back when the original path of the Rhone-Rhine Canal was diverted to the citadel of Neuf-Brisach by the Military Engineering corps. Today, it is used for leisure activities and, after crossing the river Ill, ends its journey in the charming river port of Colmar.
Visitors inevitably fall under the spell of the picturesque vineyards and renowned wines, half-timbered houses and traditional arts and crafts, not to mention taking a romantic stroll through „Little Venice“.
The canal was once used to carry coal from Lorraine to Alsace and Germany and was inaugurated in 1866. It was initially built to contribute to the development of mines in Lorraine and Saar, while cutting the cost of coal sent to the great industries in Mulhouse, which were voracious consumers of coal. From Sarreguemines, famous for its earthenware, the canal winds through the magnificent valley of the river Saar, crosses Alsace Bossue, which is the canal‘s gateway into Alsace and then the Lorraine Regional Nature park. You will discover the beautiful forests, countryside landscapes and vast reservoirs and lakes with many nautical leisure activities on off er, as well as an interesting wildlife park in Rhodes. Beyond Gondrexange you can opt for a boat trip to Nancy or Strasbourg and back, or continue by bike along the cycling track Eurovélo 5 by the Marne-Rhine Canal from Arzviller and the valley of locks.
The idea of linking the Marne to the Rhine, that is to say linking the navigable waterways of the Seine basin to the great Rhine navigation system dates back to the close of the 18th C. Built at the same period as the Paris-Strasbourg railway line, the Marne-Rhine canal was opened between Nancy and Strasbourg in 1853. After leaving Sarrebourg and the Lorraine plateau, it passes through the Niderviller and Arzviller tunnels before plunging down into the Zorn valley by the Saint Louis Arzviller inclined plane. Since 1969 this impressive structure enables the canal to bypass a set of 17 locks. At the exit of the Arzviller tunnel a cycle trail begins that leads along the towpath of the canal to reach Strasbourg. It goes past numerous ruined castles, such as Lutzelbourg, the picturesque town of Saverne, gateway to Alsace, with its impressive double lock, Hochfelden, famous for its brewing tradition and Brumath, formerly Brocomagus, the capital of Alsace in Roman times.
This 38-km stretch of the Rhone-Rhine Canal is navigable from Strasbourg to Rhinau. It off ers boaters a kaleidoscope of landscapes through the Ried plain, changing from meadows to copses, to fi elds, with the Vosges and Black Forest providing a beautiful backdrop. The century-old plane trees and their leafy boughs protect cyclists from the fierce Alsatian sun.
History tells us that the first idea to link the Rhine and the Rhône dates back to 55 A.D., but the project came to fruition thanks to Louis XVIII‘s interest in canals. It was therefore in 1834, that the 323 km of the Rhine-Rhône Canal connecting Alsace up to Burgundy via Franche-Comté, was completely opened. Now, the locks at Niffer, including one designed by Le Corbusier, interlock the Alsace Grand Canal to the Rhine-Rhone Canal, as well as in Mulhouse (via the large-scale Niff er-Mulhouse reach) where you will find many museums whose renown matches the town‘s prestigious industrial past. Champagney basin, the chain of locks at Valdieu, Belfort and its citadel, Altkirch and Sundgau are all worth a visit.