This is the story of a lonely barge moored under the foliage of the Préau square. Several restaurants have served on board, succeeding each other.

But, what the hell is this barge doing there, settled in quite a surprising way on the huge basin of the prefecture, right by the city center? It is even hard to imagine how this unusual boat could arrive there, and through which needle’s eye it once passed…

Well, this immaculate white barge had simply come… by the road. More than thirty years ago, an exceptional convoy took the 19th national road from the Nogent-sur-Seine port to unload its precious cargo.

This was an extraordinary and even spectacular event, as the basin of the prefecture had not have received any boat since the beginning of World War II.

The way this barge was driven on a truck sums up quite symbolically the story of this canal, thwarted by a disastrous destiny. However, the history had started under promising imperial circumstances, as Napoléon 1er came to Troyes in 1805, and approved the municipality’s wish to build a navigable waterway, declaring: « Within six years, boats must be able to travel up the Seine from Paris to Bar-sur-Seine and beyond », in other words from downstream to upstream of the city.

The first section of the Haute Seine canal, between Troyes and Marcilly-sur-Seine , in the Marne department, downstream from Troyes, opened to boats in… 1846, twenty-five years after its initiator had died, probably after he had been a little too optimistic!

The first section of the Haute Seine canal, between Troyes and Marcilly-sur-Seine , in the Marne department, downstream from Troyes, opened to boats in… 1846, twenty-five years after its initiator had died, probably after he had been a little too optimistic!

The second section was meant to follow through to Châtillon-sur-Seine in the Côte d’Or department, upstream from Troyes. However, it did not ventured beyond Bar-sur-Seine.Even worse, no boat ever managed to navigate there, as it was noticed with much astonishment that the canal was leaking in places like a real bypass and that water was disappearing as soon as it was brought to the canal! This section of the Haute Seine canal then received the compassionate nickname of « canal without water ». Many remains can still be seen along its route.

Therefore, Troyes forever remained a terminus for river traffic. However, barges would make return trips twice a week between the capital and the Aube main city to transport goods.

A last ship full of sugar was unloaded in 1940 in the former port of Troyes. It is the current basin of the prefecture, a vast body of water much appreciated by fishermen, where the lonely barge is anchored. As it had become useless, the canal itself was filled in at the beginning of the 1960’s.

It was covered by new large avenues, even though water still circulates under the road in big underground pipes. A part of it was however preserved from concrete: this is the little portion of the canal which has become lately a leisure place for the locals and visitors.

This section marks the limit between the head and the body of the Champagne cork, even if it was rather aiming at being the thread stitching the two parts of the old city, the high suburb and the low suburb!