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Hybrid bicycle route

The Canal du Centre and its boat lifts | cycling routes in Wallonia

The Canal du Centre and its boat lifts | cycling routes in Wallonia
© WBT - Bruno D'Alimonte
  • Departing from
    La Cantine des Italiens le long du
    Canal du centre historique
    7100 LA LOUVIEREBelgium

  • MAPS: Google Maps
Difficulty: easy
20 km
2 h
Locality: La Louvière
Province : Hainaut

This circuit tours classic sections of the Canal du Centre, vital arteries of Wallonia’s industrial heartlands made possible by spectacular feats of engineering.

So we begin at La Louvière, capital of the Centre region famed in the past for its coal mining and heavy industries. But set aside any Black Country stereotypes: our RAVeL route will take us on a beautiful journey through time.

From the Cantine des Italiens, we glide along beside the old “Canal du Centre historique” to encounter four steel monsters: these late 19th century “ascenseurs hydrauliques” (hydraulic boat lifts) are the only ones in the world that still function.

All along the RAVel 1, swing bridges and metal bridges bear witness to unique skills and heritage. It's so nice to cycle along the canal!

From the “Canal historique” we move on to the new Canal du Centre, completed in 2002 to accommodate much larger barges. The first sign of this is the towering boat lift called the Ascenseur Funiculaire de Strepy-Thieu, unique in the world; lifts take visitors up to the colossal machine room and panoramic views.

Good to know!

If you like pedalling beside water, try the RAVeL 1, where it follows the old Brussels– Charleroi Canal between Ronquières and Seneffe – an excellent example of a canal towpath brought back to life.

In practice

Route surface

RAVeL only.

Bicycle type
Hybrid bike.


The almost complete absence of hills makes this circuit perfect for families. Do bring the children: they’ll love the boat lifts – unique in the world!

Around 8 years old.

From the Cantine des Italiens, along the Canal du Centre Historique.

Follow the RAVeL 1 and 1 Bis signs.

Next to the Cantine des Italiens.

Difficulty: easy
Length of the trail: 20 km.
Duration: 2 heures.



The Canals and the River Tourism...
Find out more
Place Mansart 21-22
Tel.+32 (0) 64 26 15 00

PLUSTourist information on the town LA LOUVIERE