Background information | other places to visit

Boat-trips from Douai

Short river trips in town
Longer trips along the canals


1. The canal in Douai - known for its flowers as well as its history.
2. Swanny carries up to 120 passengers

What a peaceful trip! You're on the "Swanny" canal passenger boat, on a 4 hour cruise from the historic town of Douai along the Scarpe Canal. The canal to Lille was built at the end of the 19th century when Douai's old ramparts were demolished.

You're looking forward to the cool of the river on a hot summer day, and seeing the lakes and woods of the Sensée Valley. Meanwhile, there's a bar serving beer, ices and patisserie (cakes); and lunch or dinner on-board to look forward to.

1. Little-known charms of the Sensée Valley - a favourite spot with local people for summer picnics.
2. You'll often see fishermen along the banks as well. Back to top

1. Boat trips set off from the Palais de Justice
2. Old 18th century grain merchants' warehouses along the river edge.

You had also enjoyed a half-hour boat trip along the old river through the heart of Douai. Setting off from the Palais de Justice, the small punt (seating 6-7 people + guide) took you past the old grain merchants houses. River trade was the source of Douai's wealth in the Middle Ages - this was the furthest upstream that ships from the North Sea could come. The Counts of Flanders charged a toll on all traders who took goods through Douai.

Your boat took you up to Augustin's Lock, past one of Douai's 16 watermills (the waterwheel is inside). Tunnels leading off the river used to allow river barges to unload in the houses of merchants who couldn't afford a river frontage. You saw the quayside markets where firewood was sold - then just outside the town walls (because the inhabitants of the old timber-built city were forbidden to store inflammable wood inside the walls). The trip was full of fascinating insights into Douai's history.Back to top

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Canal cruises: Tel: 00 33 3 27 96 39 25
River boats: Tel: 00 33 3 27 88 26 79
Information about both: (from Tourist Information Office):
Tel: 00 33 3 27 88 26 79
Fax: 00 33 3 27 99 38 78

Other Places to visit:
Belfry & Town Hall - hear Europe's biggest peal of bells
Chartreuse Museum - local museum & art gallery, Douai
"Les Gayantines" - sweets for giants from Douai
Palais de Justice - Douai's historic riverside
Centre Historique Minier - Mining Museum at nearby small town of Lewarde (8km from Douai)

Background information
Canal and River Trips

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Douai's giants © Copyright 2000 Invicta Media. Last updated 25th August 1999