Both readers of this blog know that Laurie and I are fascinated by the canals of France. Honestly, we can’t say why but we like to walk along them and we like to watch boats go through the locks. Most of the canals in France are no longer used for commercial boats; the Canal du Loing, which is near our French home of Montigny-sur-Loing, sees maybe two or three commercial boats a day, and we’re not sure why there are that many. The canals now are almost exclusively for pleasure boats.
Anyway, today we saw an interesting canal sight: a canal bridge that crosses the Loire River: water crossing water. Pont du Canal (“Canal Bridge”) was built in the 1880’s; it was designed by Gustave Eiffel – he of the…well, you know.
We walked across the bridge, of course. The bridge was built for commercial traffic; there weren’t any pleasure boats on French Canals in the 1880’s. The bridge connected a canal network on the north side of the Loire with a canal network on the south side. Before the bridge, boats had to lock from one canal system into the Loire – which could be very fast and hard to navigate at times – and then lock into the other canal system on the opposite side. We saw those two locks, also, but as they haven’t been used since 1889, I think maybe no one really wants to see pictures of them.