Two Tunnels, Lunch By Candlelight & A Vertical Drop Of 44 Meters

European Waterways Panache. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
On our first full day, the adventure started: Entering the first of two tunnels, 475 meters and 2,306 meters (nearly two miles combined). © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Our first two days on European Waterways’ Panache offered a couple of unusual experiences: 1) transiting two tunnels, combined length nearly 2,800 meters — or close to two miles; and 2) being let down by Le Plan incliné de Saint-Louis-Arzviller, a boat lift that I’ll describe in just a moment.

Into the abyss: A tight squeeze as Panache enters the tunnel. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
European Waterways Panache. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Our transit through the second tunnel was long enough for us to have a candle-light lunch. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Thankfully, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

The next morning we would stay on board Panache as she entered the boat elevator at Le Plan Incliné. The engineering marvel functions a bit like a bathtub. Boat floats in, gates close and down (or up in the other direction) we go.

European Waterways Panache. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Panache ready to drop 44 meters at Le Plan incliné de Saint-Louis-Arzviller. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

With a vertical drop of 44 meters, the boat elevator replaced 17 locks spanning 4 kilometers, saving a day of transiting the locks. The boat elevator takes only five minutes to go from top to bottom, though additional time is required for entering the lift and securing the vessel. Total time required is about 30 minutes.

After a successful transit, Panache sails on having skipped the 17 now-non-functional locks. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

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