The Rhine-Rhone canal
Built in the early nineteenth century, the canal initially had an important economic role in acting as a commercial link between the Mediterranean and the North Sea basin via the Rhine.
The general characteristics of the infrastructure have been improved over time. The locks have gradually been extended and now reach a length of 38.5 m. The anchorage was also increased to 2.20 m in 1922 on the southern section. The Valdieu canal watershed, which includes 12 locks over a distance of 3 km, was lowered and extended in 1927. Many structures were also built, including an aqueduct at Wolfersdorf to cross the Largue, a tributary of the river Ill.
The water supply is provided by numerous streams and via a supply ditch which draws the water required for the canal to function in the Largue at Friesen, cross 5 villages and flow into the highest point of the canal at Valdieu. Until 1870, the canal carried a large amount of merchant traffic, enabling industries such as GILARDONI tiles to develop in Retzwiller, Hagenbach, etc.
Today the canal is mostly a tourist destination with its heritage, an aquatic centre and the towpath used by cyclists.
Canal cycle path
The bike path was built on the towpath over a distance of 25km between Dannemarie and Mulhouse.
Cyclists can discover an amazing and immutable aspect of the Sundgau area through a frame of reeds sometimes dotted with yellow iris and fringed with alders, away from traffic (apart from VNF services). (see tourist map)
Porte d'Alsace marina
Aquatic centre in a green setting, ensuring peace and quiet in a typical Sundgau village. The Rhine-Rhone canal has become a destination for many German, Swiss and French boaters. The Porte d'Alsace marina offers 55 moorings in a leafy environment.
- marine technology moorings,
- sanitary and laundry facilities in a timbered house,
- access, car parking, large green areas, children's games,
- a launching ramp for small boats
A flight of twelve locks between Valdieu and Wolfersdorf allows boats to cross a height difference of 30 meters over a distance of 3 km and access the Valdieu threshold.
These locks have been gradually lengthened and today reach the length of 38.5 m. In 1922, the anchorage was also increased to 2.2 m on the southern section.
The Valdieu threshold is the crossing point of the watershed line between the Rhone basin and the Rhine basin.
The watershed line is the boundary between two geographical watersheds. Thus, precipitation falling west of this line will flow into the Saône and the Rhone while from the east it will flow into the Rhine.
The canal bridge
Built of stone in 1834, this canal bridge allows boats to cross the Largue.
35m in length, it has four piles connected together by vaulted arches. The theoretical load supported by a pile (the pile weight itself plus the weight of the bridge and the water-filled channel and the towing load) is 8150 kg/m.
Supply channel for the Rhine-Rhone canal
It was officially by Napoleonic decree of 1804, that "the Rhine-Rhone supply channel" (successively, Napoleon canal, Monsieur canal after the Restoration in 1815 and the definitive Rhine-Rhone canal after 1830) was proposed, an absolute necessity to ensure the canal had a sufficient water level throughout the year, in its highest stretch at 341.5 m, the watershed between the two hydrographic basins of the Rhone and the Rhine, on the Valdieu threshold.