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La Nouvelle branch

Canal de Jonction at Sallèles d'Aude

The La Nouvelle branch (French: embranchement de La Nouvelle)[n 1] is a 37.3-kilometre (23.2 mi) branch of the Canal du Midi in Aude, southern France which runs from the Canal du Midi through Narbonne and on to the Mediterranean. It is made up of three waterways: the first 5.1 kilometres (3.2 mi) is the Canal de Jonction from the Canal du Midi to the Aude, the second section is 800 metres (2,625 ft) of the Aude itself and the third is the 31.6 kilometres (19.6 mi) Canal de la Robine which enters the Mediterranean at Port-la-Nouvelle.[1] The La Nouvelle branch is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Canal du Midi and is managed by the French navigation authority, Voies navigables de France.

Canal de JonctionEdit

Canal de Jonction
Canal du Midi
Cesse Footbridge
Cesse Lock
Truilhas Lock
Empare Lock
Argeliers Lock
Saint Cyr Lock
Sallèles-d'Aude Footbridge
Sallèles Lock
Sallèles Bridge
Gailhousty Bridge
Gailhousty Lock
River Aude
Canal de la Robine

The Canal de Jonction runs in a dead straight line and was built in 1776 to provide access to Narbonne from the Canal du Midi via the Canal de la Robine.[2] The Canal de Jonction enters the Aude some 800 m upstream from where the Canal de la Robine leaves it. Prior to 1776 the Canal du Midi port for Narbonne was Le Somail, 13.8 kilometres (8.6 mi) by road from the city centre.[1]

Locks on the Canal de JonctionEdit

PK 0.3 Lock 1 - Cesse 43°16′55″N 2°55′26″E / 43.281825°N 2.923963°E / 43.281825; 2.923963 (Cesse Lock). elevation 31.54 m

PK 1.0 Lock 2 - Truilhas 43°16′38″N 2°55′44″E / 43.277101°N 2.929015°E / 43.277101; 2.929015 (Truilhas Lock). elevation 29.00 m

PK 1.6 Lock 3 - Empare 43°16′20″N 2°56′03″E / 43.272307°N 2.934109°E / 43.272307; 2.934109 (Empare Lock). elevation 25.89 m

PK 2.3 Lock 4 - Argeliers 43°16′03″N 2°56′21″E / 43.267613°N 2.939171°E / 43.267613; 2.939171 (Argeliers Lock). elevation 22.94 m

PK 3.0. Lock 5 - Saint-Cyr 43°16′03″N 2°56′21″E / 43.267613°N 2.939171°E / 43.267613; 2.939171 (Argeliers Lock). elevation 19.95 m

PK 3.7. Lock 6 - Sallèles 43°15′26″N 2°56′59″E / 43.257163°N 2.949848°E / 43.257163; 2.949848 (Sallèles Lock). elevation 17.16 m

PK 4.9 Lock 7 - Gailhousty 43°14′52″N 2°57′21″E / 43.247839°N 2.955702°E / 43.247839; 2.955702 (Gailhousty Lock). elevation 11.76 m

The AudeEdit

The Canal de Jonction enters the Aude downstream of Gailhousty lock

Navigation is in the river Aude for a distance of only 800 metres (870 yd) between the two canals. However, on leaving the Canal de Jonction it is necessary first to head upstream before turning and coming back downstream against the opposite bank to the Canal de la Robine in order to avoid shallows caused by silt banks in the middle of the channel.[1]

Canal de la RobineEdit

Canal de la Robine
Canal de Jonction
River Aude
Moussoulens Lock
Pont Vieux, Moussoulens
Raonel Lock
Gua Lock
Railway Bridge
Escoute Bridge
Carmes Bridge
Voltaire Bridge
Narbonne Lock
Merchants' Bridge, Narbonne
Sainte Catherine Bridge
Mandirac Lock
Road Bridge
A9 motorway
Sainte-Lucie Lock
Railway Bridge
Mediterranean Sea

Following its opening in 1681, the commercial success of the Canal du Midi was such that Narbonne traders demanded improved access to it, so in 1686 the Canal de la Robine was constructed by Vauban as a lockless open cut following an abandoned course of the Aude.[1] The northern end of the canal is at the Aude at Moussoulens just south of Sallèles-d'Aude from where goods were transported by land to the Canal du Midi at Le Somail — a journey of approximately 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). A century later, when the Canal de Jonction was constructed, the Canal de la Robine was straightened and six single locks were built to deal with the more severe gradients, Narbonne finally had direct waterway access to the Canal du Midi.

From the Aude the canal passes through the centre of Narbonne and under the Merchants' Bridge (fr: le pont des Marchands) which is one of the few bridges in France which is still lined with houses. From there it runs through Bages and the Ile Sainte Lucie nature reserve before meeting the Mediterranean at Port-la-Nouvelle.

Locks on the Canal de la RobineEdit

PK 5.8 Lock 8 - Moussoulens 43°14′42″N 2°57′39″E / 43.244865°N 2.960728°E / 43.244865; 2.960728 (Moussoulens Lock) elevation 9.30 m (depending on Aude river level)

PK 9.8 Lock 9 - Raonel 43°13′41″N 3°00′13″E / 43.228013°N 3.003509°E / 43.228013; 3.003509 (Raonel Lock). elevation 8.30 m

PK 14.2 Lock 10 - Gua 43°11′29″N 3°00′04″E / 43.191271°N 3.001063°E / 43.191271; 3.001063 (Gua Lock). elevation 6.34 m

PK 15.3 Lock 11 - Narbonne 43°11′03″N 3°00′06″E / 43.184116°N 3.001693°E / 43.184116; 3.001693 (Narbonne Lock). elevation 4.24 m

PK 24.1 Lock 12 - Mandirac 43°07′19″N 3°01′51″E / 43.122056°N 3.030913°E / 43.122056; 3.030913 (Mandirac Lock). elevation 2.30 m

PK 28.6 Lock 13 - Sainte-Lucie 43°02′50″N 3°03′21″E / 43.047141°N 3.055856°E / 43.047141; 3.055856 (Sainte-Lucie Lock). elevation 0.80 m


  1. ^ It is also sometimes referred to as branche de La Nouvelle or embranchement de Port-la-Nouvelle.


  1. ^ a b c Rolt, L. T. C. (1994). From Sea to Sea: An Illustrated History of the Canal du Midi. Grenoble, France: Euromapping (2nd ed.). p. 142. ISBN 9782910185022.
  2. ^ "Le Canal de Jonction et la Robine de Narbonne". (in French). Retrieved 2008-11-02.

See alsoEdit

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