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De Mons à La Louvière (stage 4)

On the RAVeL of the Canal du Centre and the Canal du Centre historique

Length (in km)
19 km

Starting from Mons, the Canal du Centre RAVeL takes you towards Thieu and La Louvière, where man’s genius finds expression in a historic canal where boats take lifts, recognised as an element of the Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 1998. These lifts offset a difference in height of 66 metres. Today they are used for pleasure. 

The world’s biggest boat lift can also be seen nearby. Stop for a moment to admire this remarkable structure, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It offsets a difference in height of 77 metres. It now replaces six structures, the four ‘old ones’ and two locks. In summer, you will see bateaux mouches here, riverboats that retrace the path of the glorious barges of bygone days. You will also see revolving infrastructures and the corresponding architecture of the period here.
In Thieu, you leave the Canal du Centre RAVeL and join that of the Canal du Centre historique, heading towards La Louvière, the end point of this short but astonishing stage. La Louvière is a city with an important industrial past. It remains proud of both this past and of its folklore. The Gilles carnival characters are to be found here, as well. It is an endearing city. Tip: If you have time, it is well worth stopping by the Cantine des Italiens, the Italians’ Canteen, which is brimming with history and the stories of people who arrived here one day, far from their native Italy.


The route:
This stage follows its own path on the Canal du Centre RAVeL and then the Canal du Centre historique RAVeL.

Mostly smooth (alternately asphalt and concrete).

Height difference: 
Flat or imperceptible incline.

Directional signs with W4 identification panels are in place. 


  • Between Thieu, La Louvière and Besonrieux, a long loop of about 30 kilometres is possible along the Canal du Centre RAVeL and the Canal du Centre historique RAVeL.
Useful info


Quai des Anglais, at Le Grand Large in Mons.

Coordinates Lambert 72 : X : 119802 m - Y : 128608 m

GPS coordinates: Latitude: 50°28'03.10" N - Longitude: 3°56'36.17" E

Easy parking at the starting point.



  • 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