Vaches le long de la Saône et de la voie verte de La Voie Bleue © Guillaume Robert Famy

Along the waterways

Nature and discoveries along La Voie Bleue

La Voie Bleue cycle route allows you to explore at your own pace the banks of the Moselle, the towpaths beside the Canal des Vosges and the banks of the Saône. Enjoy drinking in all the varied waterside scenes as you cycle along!

River ports and activities on the water

Ports de plaisance Voie Bleue

Copyrights : ©Guillaume Robert-Famy

All along La Voie Bleue you’ll encounter a whole string of pretty marinas and nautical stops ideal for a refreshing rest.

Along the Moselle and the Canal des Vosges you’ll find calm river harbours at Basse-Ham, Metz, Pont-à-Mousson, Nancy and Fontenoy-le-Château.

Along the « Petite Saône », a paradise for river tourism, the choice is wide. In the county of Haute-Saône, try Corre, Port-sur-Saône, Scey-sur-Saône-et-Saint-Albin, Savoyeux or Gray. In Côte-d’Or choose between Pontailler-sur-Saône, Auxonne and Saint-Jean-de Losne, the last described as the leading inner waterways harbour in France. Consider the option of spending a half-day or a whole day renting out an electric boat. There are many possibilities for hiring a vessel.

On the Grande Saône, starting from Verdun-sur-le-Doubs (at the confluence of Saône and Doubs), in the county of Saône-et-Loire, the ports at Chalon-sur-Saône, Gigny-sur-Saône, Tournus and Mâcon stand out, as does the port of Trévoux in the county of Ain. At the last, the former Parcieux lock-keeper’s house has been converted into an exhibition space, plus you can enjoy a coffee or a drink beside the Saône there. Also consider a short boat cruise, for example at Pont-de-Vaux or Chalon-sur-Saône. 

Remarkable man-made structures along La Voie Bleue

Ouvrage remarquable sur La Voie Bleue

Copyrights : ©Guillaume Robert-Famy

Through history, humankind has worked tirelessly to develop waterways, be it to facilitate navigation, to produce energy, or simply to cross from one bank of a river to the other.

All along this route, enjoy discovering fine man-made structures, going from the most common (bridges, locks, ports, etc.) to the most unusual, veritable works of art. Expect to encounter many wondrous sights dotted along your route.

Remarkable man-made structures in Lorraine include the extra-wide Koenigsmacker Lock, Thionville’s lock-bridges, the Roman aqueduct linking Gorze to Metz, best seen at Jouy-aux-Arches, and the canal-bridge at Flavigny-sur-Moselle.

In the county of Vosges, you could book in for a day to enjoy the natural thermal baths and spa at Bains-les-Bains.

Reaching the county of Haute-Saône, following the green ribbon of the canal, you’ll come across the manual swing bridge at Selles, making it easy for boats to pass through here. Then follows the 681m-long Saint-Albin Tunnel constructed under Napoleon III’s reign in the mid 19th century.

In the county of Côte d’Or, between Saint-Jean-de-Losne and Seurre, along the route you’ll come upon the impressive Canal de Dérivation de la Saône before reaching the Saône River itself. At Verdun-sur-le-Doubs, make sure you visit the Ile du Château, reached via a footbridge located on the Doubs’s north bank.

More unusually, in the county of Saône-et-Loire, at the level of Gigny-sur-Saône, you can cross the riverside pastures negotiating four special cattle grids (known as passages canadiens).

Among extraordinary man-made works, we can’t forget the Canal de Pont-de-Vaux, in the county of Ain. Designed in the 18th century by Léonard Racle, architect to the celebrated writer Voltaire, it links Pont-de-Vaux to the Saône. The lock and the metal bridge here were made at the famed Schneider Works in Le Creusot, Burgundy.

Swimming and nautical activities

Baignade sur La Voie Bleue

Copyrights : ©Guillaume Robert-Famy

After cycling along for a few hours, what would you say to relaxing with a refreshing pause and an invigorating dip? La Voie Bleue provides a great range of bathing spots and outdoor leisure lakes suitable for canoeing or sailing, or simply pedalling around in a pédalo.

Why not consider a stop at Le Grand Bleu Lake at Pont-à-Mousson? Or at Bouzey Lake, the largest in the Vosges, offering you the option of swimming or of bird-watching, according to the season, or to the moment.

Following the Petite Saône, if you feel the urge to go swimming, then the sandy beaches at Autet, Velet and Pontailler-sur-Saône should fit the bill. At Auxonne, you can hire a canoe to explore the flora and fauna along the banks of the Saône, helped along by the signposted EcoPagayeur trail.

Along the Grande Saône, south from Mâcon, you could try your hand at wakeboarding at Totem Wave Park. For a complete package, what about stopping at Cormoranche-sur-Saône’s Outdoor Activities Centre, in the county of Ain? It offers swimming, water sports, a restaurant and a campsite. A bit further south, a stop at Les Cascades outdoor swimming pool in Trévoux can provide you with a final dip before taking on the city of Lyon.