Sunday, April 19, 2009

The canals

Taxes were levied on local farmers beginning in 1607 to begin construction of the Burgundy canal between Dijon and Saint Jean de Losne. It took until 1696 before enthusiasts figured out that they could connect the Saone and Yonne Rivers using the canal, but this connection wasn't begun until the reign of Louis XVI in 1765, working first upstream toward Tonnerre, and later from the Saone towards Dijon. Funding was erratic and the connection wasn't completed until 1808. Final construction wasn't begun until 1826, after the French Revolution, and was completed in 1832, with much loss of life. Local legend says that Napoleon collected British prisoners of war as slaves and dropped them through the ventilation shafts on the tunnel portion of the canal, telling them that if they were to dig the tunnel and reach the other side, they would be freed.

Our first stop was lock 62 at Petit Ouges:

The next day, we took a short drive from the barge to Beaune, one of the main towns in the Cote d'Or, to visit the premier institute for viticulture and winemaking.

You can learn anything you wish to know about wine-making here, up to and including cooperage:

No comments: