Address Tunnel Saint-Léonard 17139 Dompierre-sur-Mer, France

Located between Dompierre-sur-Mer and La Rochelle, the Marans Canal links Marans and the Marais Poitevin to La Rochelle.

Project launched under the impulse of Napoleon I in 1805, the canal was originally intended to link Niort to La Rochelle, that is 44 km of canal. Between 1806 and 1888, the canal was dug, but only the La Rochelle-Marans section was built.
The projected construction time was greatly exceeded due to numerous problems, including the boring of the Saint-Léonard tunnel, which was more complicated than expected due to the very hard limestone.
The canal was to be used as a commercial axis, but the forecasted freight traffic was a failure. In 1957 it was removed from the nomenclature of waterways. With the construction of fixed bridges in 1970, only small boats can navigate it today. A part of the canal is classified as a natural site, offering walkers equipped paths and preserved landscapes on 8,860 km of the total 24 km.

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