The canal from Chalon to Digoin

From one valley to the other

The Canal du Centre is a green haven gently meandering from the Saône river to the Loire river.

Val de Saône is a stone throw away from Val de Loire and in between runs the canal du Centre.

Follow the winding course of the canal in three stages to discover three different aspects of Southern Burgundy.

Chalon, the gateway to Burgundy’s vineyards

Start your trip up the canal in Chalon-sur-Saône, the birthplace of Émiland Gauthey, the designer of the Canal du Centre. Besides being the cradle of photography in the 19th century, this charming city expands its old town right down the banks of the river Saône. Take some time to stroll through the narrow streets of the Saint-Vincent district, around the cathedral, and treat your taste buds to a gourmet restaurant.

Head north-west first. You will soon find yourself surrounded by the famous vineyards of Burgundy, at the crossroads of three wine-growing regions: the Côte Chalonnaise, the Côte de Beaune and the Couchois. It’s an experience like no other – the perfect mix of fine locally-made wine tasting on a wine estate   in Mercurey, Rully, Santenay, and sampling regional gastronomy in Chagny. A delicious awakening of your taste buds! 

Sloping towards the south-west, the canal slowly flows away from the vineyards while following the small river Dheune.

Passing through Creusot Montceau

You’ll then arrive in Creusot Montceau, a particular place in history, once the showcase of industrial France. Near the village of Écuisses, you will cross the watershed and pass by the stunning facades of the Villa Perruson, the jewel of architecture of the Ceramic Valley.

Take a break at the marina of Montceau to discover the mining history of the Blanzy Bassin or stock up on colourful socks “Made in France” at the Manufacture Perrin. If you prefer the peace and tranquility of the countryside, stop along the river at Saint-Julien-sur-Dheune or Génelard.

In the heart of the Charolais

As you follow the course of the Bourbince river, the landscape gradually turns less hilly as you get closer to the Loire Valley. Near Palinges, you will discover the castle of Digoine, nicknamed the "pearl of the Charolais". Then you will reach Paray-le-Monial, featuring a magnificent Romanesque basilica. Shortly afterwards, you will arrive in Digoin, a fluvial town where 3 canals meet: the Canal du Centre, the Canal Latéral of the Loire and the Canal de Roanne in Digoin. All you have to do is cross the famous canal bridge over the Loire river before continuing your journey to the centre of France.

A beautiful invitation to travel...