As part of our trip to the stunning Burgundy region, we took a trip on the Burgundy canal, part of the heritage of Burgundy and over recent years has become a tourist destination rather than a commercial activity. The canal flows into a 3,333km ‘la Voute de Pouilly’ which took 7 years to build between 1825 and 1832 and saw almost 200 deaths during it’s construction. Using 32 individual air shafts to evacuate the earth, it was perhaps just as well as if the hard workers had hollowed only from two sides, the work would have taken more than 50 years!!!! Apart from 12 air shafts that are maintained to aerate the tunnel, the rest have been filled in and you can see them along the cycle track that now exists above the tunnel.
Previously horses towed barges, however, as there isn’t any footpath in the tunnel it was impossible for the horses to continue pulling the barges through the tunnel. Sailors had to lie on their backs and push the boat along with their feet before the electric tow-boat was invented in 1893. It made it’s last journey in 1987 and now lies ‘in state’ at the harbour in Pouilly en Auxois.