Canal de Donzère-Mondragon

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Canal de Donzère-Mondragon
Der Canal de Donzère-Mondragon

The Canal de Donzère-Mondragon

Water body code FR: V—2002
Location France, regions Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
Length 29 km
Built 1947 until 1952
Class Va
Start Branch off the Rhône at Donzère
End Re-entry into the Rhône below Mondragon
Descent structures Bollène
Ports Tricastin
Used river Rhône
Outstanding buildings Hydroelectric power station André Blondel
Downhill downstream
Sluis Bollène.jpg

Bollène power station and lock

The Canal de Donzère-Mondragon (German Donzère-Mondragon Canal) is a navigation canal running in the French departments of Drôme and Vaucluse. It was built and is still operated by the Compagnie nationale du Rhône for power generation at the André Blondel hydroelectric power station and for navigation. Its water is also used to cool the Tricastin nuclear power station. In terms of type, it is a shortcut canal that straightens a section of the Rhône river in the greater area between Valence and Avignon.


It branches off to the left of the Rhône River at Donzère and rejoins the river after a stretch of 29 kilometres below Mondragon. The difference in altitude is around 22 metres and is overcome by a single lock next to the André Blondel hydroelectric power station at Bollène. The lock is designed for large barges (Grand Gabarit) and has dimensions of 190 × 11.40 metres. Until the completion of the Main-Danube Canal, it had the largest drop of all locks in Europe.


Places along the canal

  • Donzère
  • Pierrelatte
  • Bollène
  • Mondragon


The facility was the brainchild of the French physicist André-Eugène Blondel. It was built between 1947 and 1952. The hydroelectric power plant is still named after André Blondel today, and the façade of the power plant building and the control room at the time are listed and registered as a Monument historique.

Beginning in the 1960s, the Tricastin nuclear facility was built on the right bank of the canal, where, among other things, the Tricastin nuclear power plant with its four reactor units is located – the canal is used, among other things, for the supply and discharge of the cooling water for the power plant units.

Interesting buildings along the canal

  • Inlet weir with protective sluice at Donzère
  • Tricastin nuclear power plant near Pierrelatte
  • Hydroelectric power station André Blondel with ship lock at Bollène

Bridges over the canal

The following bridges or crossings lead over the canal:

  • Inlet weir at Donzère, passable
  • Railway bridge on the Montélimar – Pierrelatte line (steel truss bridge)
  • Road bridge N 7 Montélimar – Pierrelatte (concrete beam bridge)
  • Road bridge D 356 Pierrelatte – La Garde-Adhémar, the first modern cable-stayed bridge, built in 1952 by Albert Caquot
  • Viaduc de La Garde-Adhémar, railway bridge of the LGV Méditérranée (high-speed line PLM Paris, Lyon, Marseille) (steel arch)
  • Road bridge D 59 Pierrelatte – Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux (suspension bridge)
  • Road bridge D 204 to Bollène-Écluse (prestressed concrete bridge)
  • Promenade Léon Perrier, road over the André Blondel power station and the lock (part of the concrete structure)
  • Road bridge D 994 Pont-Saint-Esprit – Bollène (suspension bridge)
  • Pierrelatte – Mondragon railway bridge (steel truss bridge)
  • Road bridge N 7 Pierrelatte – Mondragon (concrete beam bridge by Albert Caquot)
  • Road bridge D 44 Pont-Saint-Esprit – Mondragon (suspension bridge)

Web links

Commons: Canal de Donzère-Mondragon– Collection of images, videos and audio files