Thursday, 8 August 2019

Reminders of a Bygone Age

This may look like one of the world's most boring photos, but it tells an interesting story.

Between 1824 and 1828 a channel connecting the Cher to the Loire was dug, a distance of about 2.5km. It had  two locks (one at each end) and a port located at its northern end, close to the Loire. It replaced an earlier canal which followed the flood plain west of Tours (now the site of the botanical gardens).

The port can still be seen as it was in the mid-19th century (minus the water). The canal was abandoned due to the damage caused by bombing in 1940 and filled in piecemeal during the following years. In 1971, the A10 motorway followed the same route as the canal.

Which brings us to the above photo.

The boring stone wall you can see is one of the dykes of the canal, which can be seen in these two old postcards. The photo in the bottom postcard was taken from about the same place as our top photo, (although probably not at 90kmh)

Geoportail has an amazing page where you can compare maps. This is a comparison between a mid 19th century map and the recent IGN offering. Anyone driving the A10 Autoroute today might be forgiven for complaining about boring 1970's roadsides. Next time you pass that way you'll know better.

(Tim B asked about the canal when we wrote about Point Zero.)

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