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WON / Quiz of Thursday November 10, 2022

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

My construction began in 1778. My opening took place in 1832. On your search..... :)

Beautiful walks !

The Burgundy Canal is a 242 km long narrow gauge waterway (Freycinet), located in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in France, which connects the Seine basin to the Rhône basin. The route follows a north-west - south-east axis with a significant hook to the north-east for about thirty kilometers before arriving in Dijon along the Ouche. Its starting point is in Migennes, a town on the Yonne, a tributary of the Seine; its point of arrival is at Saint-Jean-de-Losne on the Saône, a tributary of the Rhône. The canal, which has one hundred and eighty-nine locks and a long tunnel at Pouilly-en-Auxois, was inaugurated in 1832. The managing company was among the first listed on the Paris Stock Exchange. Competed from its opening by the high-traffic PLM railway line and crossing an essentially rural region, it never played an important role in the transport of goods. At the end of the 1960s, the canal, which faced increasing competition from road transport, was no longer used for goods traffic. It is now the almost exclusive domain of pleasure boating.

Geography The Burgundy Canal connects Migennes, located at an altitude of 83 meters on the Yonne, to Saint-Jean-de-Losne which is at an altitude of 182 meters on the Saône, crossing the watershed line between the Channel and the Mediterranean Sea. To connect the two basins, the canal crosses the north-eastern foothills of the Morvan. To reach it coming from the Yonne, it runs along the Armançon then the Brenne, its tributary, before following the Armançon again to Pouilly-en-Auxois: there it crosses the watershed line at a altitude of 378 meters by means of a 3.3 km long tunnel (the "vault of the Burgundy Canal") preceded and followed by a trench section. It then joins the Vandenesse valley, then that of the Ouche after their confluence. It follows this last river to Dijon. While the canal follows a general southeasterly direction, the Ouche and the canal thread their way through a sometimes very narrow valley whose general orientation is "northeast" except for the last kilometres. From Dijon, the canal follows a straight route through the plain of the Saône to Saint-Jean-de-Losne. Thus, the Burgundy Canal successively crosses the towns of Migennes, Saint-Florentin, Tonnerre and Montbard on the “Yonne” side, then Dijon on the “Saône” side.

Historical From the choice of the route to the start of the works (from around 1600 to 1773) The construction of the Burgundy Canal was envisaged from the reign of Henri IV around 1605. Of all the canals envisaged in France under the Ancien Régime, it appeared to be the most ambitious and the most necessary, linking the Channel to the Mediterranean, hence the name "Canal des Deux-Mers" that is sometimes attributed to it. But its realization came up against the problem of crossing the Auxois hills. In addition to the current route, many other routes were studied, all passing further north: Brenne valley (Yonne side) and Ouche valley (Saône side), Oze and Suzon, Seine and Ignon, Ource and Tille, Aube and Tille , Dawn and Vingeanne. Finally, the route passing through the Armançon, the Vandenesse and the Ouche was chosen. Several solutions were indeed considered until the middle of the 18th century. The best known is that of the Dijon engineer Thomassin who, at the request of Vauban in 1696, envisaged a junction of the Saône with the Loire by the Charolais.

Under the Regency appeared the project of the engineer La Jonchèren, who opted for the junction of the Saône to the Yonne by the Ouche and the Armançon. From 1724 to 1727, the Elected Representatives of Burgundy asked Jacques V Gabriel, first civil engineer and first architect to the king, to decide between the different proposals. He entrusted their examination to the engineer and entrepreneur of the Languedoc canal, Joseph Abeille, who opted for the solution of La Loge which proposed a sharing point at Pouilly-en-Auxois instead of Sombernon as proposed by La Jonchère. Against all odds, Abeille's project was preferred to that of Pierre-François Merchand d'Espinassy who obtained letters patent for the construction of the canal in 1729. D'Espinassy died before he could satisfy the conditions required in the letters . His heirs ceded the rights in 1763 to Pierre-Zacharie Idlinger d'Espuller, former captain of the infantry regiment of Viezey Etranger, knight of Saint-Louis. This transfer of rights intended to hinder the relaunch of the project by the Academy of Sciences, Art and Belles Letters of Dijon which had rewarded during a competition the project of Thomas Dumorey, ordinary engineer of the king and new chief engineer of the States of Burgundy .

To implement the project designed by D'Espinassy, ​​D'Espuller approached the ordinary architect of the province, Jacques Hardouin-Mansart de Sagonne, also the king's architect, who benefited from the protection of Louis Phélypeaux de Saint-Florentin , Duke of La Vrillière, Minister responsible for Burgundy. The heirs of Espinassy opposed this association so much so that the architect decided to engage in the battle in turn. Like La Jonchère, he favored passing through Sombernon. The two parties were sent back to back by a decree of the king's council of July 20, 1764. This same judgment sanctioned the claims of Louis-Félix Guynement de Kéralio, Abeille's son-in-law. The monarchy now intended to work alone on the project against any other claim. Louis XV signs an edict ordering the construction of the Burgundy Canal on September 7, 1773; in 1774 he specifies that the royal budget will finance the work on the Yonne side while the States of Burgundy will take charge of the construction of the section located on the Saône side. In 1775 the expenses are estimated at 7.179 million pounds.

Construction (1775-1832) The first works started in 1777 on the section from Laroche to Tonnerre. In 1781, the section between Dijon and the Saône were in turn started. The works were gradually stopped during the French Revolution between 1790 and 1795. They did not resume until 1808 under the reign of Napoleon; To finance the construction of the canals in progress, a decree announces the sale of the Canals du Midi, Loing, Orléans, Center and Saint-Quentin. A partial opening took place in 1808 between Dijon and Saint-Jean-de-Losne, thus providing access to the Saône, and, thereby, to the Rhone valley. At the time, how to cross the watershed line was still the subject of debate; it was not until 1812 that the solution of the tunnel and the location of the main reservoirs supplying water to the upper part of the canal were definitively fixed. In the aftermath of the Empire, work was relaunched within the framework of the inland navigation plan, known as the “Becquey plan”; the canal was built by the state with a loan from a group of financiers led by banker Jonas Hagerman. The Pouilly-en-Auxois tunnel was built between 1826 and 1832. The canal was fully opened to navigation in 1832, but the construction of the reservoirs continued until 1850. Between 1879 and 1882, the canal locks were adjusted Freycinet which allows the circulation of barges of 350 tons and 38.50 meters long.

Technical characteristics The Burgundy Canal, 242 km long, has had 189 locks (38.5 meters long and 5 meters wide) since it was upgraded to Freycinet gauge in 1882, 113 of which are located on the Yonne side and 76 on the of the Saone. The sharing reach located in Pouilly-en-Auxois at an altitude of 378 meters comprises a 3,350 meter long tunnel flanked by two sections of trenched canal. The maximum accepted draft for the entire canal is 1.3 metres: 1.4 meters on the Yonne side, 1.7 meters on the Saône side and 1.3 meters at the level of the dividing reach. The air draft is 3.4 meters but increases to 3.1 meters in the tunnel. The canal includes several remarkable engineering structures: the Pouilly-en-Auxois tunnel (which ends at Créancey), the Creusot trench and five canal bridges, the most important of which is located in Saint-Florentin and crosses the 'Armance, tributary of the Armançon.

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