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Sur les canaux autour de La Louvière

On the canals around La Louvière, the RAVeL along the Canal du Centre and the Canal du Centre historique.

Length (in km)
17,5 km

Imagine five boat lifts, the most recent of which is also the largest in the world, a swing bridge, a 500-metre canal bridge, a floodgate and more.

All this along a loop stretching just under twenty kilometres. This is the loop to which you are invited. On our RAVeL, of course. 

Having seen the Strépy-Thieu boat lift, you start off along the right bank of the Canal du Centre RAVeL. In Thieu, you cross the pretty place Hardat which is dedicated to the canal and its activities. You cross the Canal du Centre towards boat lift No 4, which marked its centenary in 2017.
In a quiet, rural atmosphere, you then take the Canal du Centre historique RAVeL which will lead you to the other three lifts, the first of which was inaugurated in 1888. Some of the buildings, particularly in Bracquegnies, are open to visitors and explain the technicality of these structures without electricity. It then becomes clear why they were included on the UNESCO Heritage of Humanity list in 1998.
At Houdeng-Aimeries, a swing bridge awaits you while in La Louvière, you can see the famous Cantine des Italiens (Italians’ Canteen), built in 1947 by the Usines Gustave Boël company for the Italian workers arriving to work in the region’s mines and steelworks. Be sure to make a gourmet stop here.
You will then join the new canal through the Blanc-pain floodgate. Don’t be surprised: you will probably have the chance to see a flock of sheep grazing along the banks before you cross the Sart canal bridge, which is almost 500 metres long. This takes you gently towards the huge Strépy-Thieu boat lift.


The route:
This stage follows its own path, alternating between the Canal du Centre RAVeL and the Canal du Centre historique RAVeL.
Smooth (alternately asphalt and concrete).
Height difference: 
Apart from crossing the lifts, flat or imperceptible incline.
Directional signs and plates identifying the RAVeL of the Canal du Centre and of the Canal du Centre historique can be found along the entire route.

Useful info

Access by train: La Louvière or Mons Belgian railway station. Stop possible in Thieu (near lift No 4).
Easy parking at the starting point.
Rest areas:

Numerous opportunities for picnics along the route.


  • RAVeL map of the Province of Hainaut published by the SPW. This map, called ‘More RAVeL, more pleasure’, can be ordered free of charge  by clicking here.

Around the route by bike:

Stage map