The Montech Water Slope

The water slope is a rare type of canal lift. Instead of sitting in a moving caisson, boats float behind a gate that travels up and down a sloping channel. The principal was described by the German engineer Julius Greve in the nineteenth century and developed in France by Jean Aubert. The Montech water slope was the first in the world, completed in 1973, and worked until 2009. It bypassed five locks on the Canal Lateral à la Garonne. The gate and the water it held back were pushed up by a pair of diesel locomotives, one each side. It could carry boats of nearly 40 m by 5 m and up to 400 tons, taking 6 minutes to travel the 539-m slope at a gradient of 3 per cent. The world’s only other water slope, at Fonseranes on the Canal du Midi, closed in 2001.

The address is for the site information centre at the tourism office in a former paper mill at Montech. The water slope is 1 km along the canal. There is a small museum on a barge.

The Montech Water Slope
La Pente d’eau de Montech
21 Rue de l’usine
82700 Montech
+33 (0) 563 - 641632