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.
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.
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.