A legacy of Napoleon’s great infrastructure projects, the Vallée des Eclusiers is a succession of 17 canal locks spread over a distance of 3 km, designed for barges to overcome the significant height difference between the Saar Basin and the Rhine basin.
Since 1969, the Arzviller inclined plane, a boat lift using a transverse system, the only one of its kind in Europe, replaced the 17-lock canal set in this beautiful valley that has slowly faded from memory and that today the community of the Communes des Pays de Phalsbourg wishes to resurrect.
The project to enhance the old canal and its 17 lock houses, some of which are still inhabited, goes hand in hand with the development of a green cycle path running the length of the site.
The itinerary will be upgraded along both the old towpath and in the canal bed, which can be discovered through a series of overhanging footbridges. Visitors will be taken through natural areas of the valley rich in flowers and then enter the canal, using the footbridges to walk around the sections filled with water, so as to more closely observe the lock mechanisms and get a stronger sense of the steep incline.
At the widest point of the canal, a mesh of aquatic plant life covers the surface of the water, which the visitor can observe up close thanks to an extended viewing deck.
The project includes the construction of two access points with car parks, located in the east and west ends of the valley and whose use of plants turn them into transitional spaces between the road and the natural environment of the site, which is exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists.