Four little-known facts about the canals of Valencia

On the occasion of the Valence Canal Festival this Sunday, May 26 in Châteauvert, discover five little-known information about these little Valence waterways.

We flow under your feet, a little out in the open but often hidden, who are we? The canals of Valencia, of course! Known to everyone, they are home to a rich fauna and flora that can be observed every day during a walk. Each district has one or more and represents a water network of nearly 40 kilometers, including 17 kilometers open air. In total, the city has 10 canals.

The canals have not always flowed in Valencia

It is said that the name of Valencia comes from three words: val (water) len (plain) and ty (habitation) and means “inhabited place rich in water”. Close to the Rhône, it is also known for having an abundance of water in its territory. However, canals have not always been present within the city. Until the 19the century, they were located outside the city of Valentinoise. “At the time, they transported waste or stagnant water and the physical obstacle they could represent to urban development put them in danger. Some canals have even been covered”, underlines Christiane Tarrisse, president of the association Les canals de Valence and biodiversity along the water. It was not until the 1960s that the municipality then decided to create pedestrian paths and places for walks. The first section was built in 1980 on the Malcontents canal.

Protected species inhabit the canals

Other little-known information is that the canals are classified as remarkable natural and cultural heritage. “Many species of insects can be observed throughout the year. We particularly noticed the presence of a protected species in France: the Mercury Agrion, a dragonfly recognizable by its blue and black stripes. Its presence indicates that the water is fresh, pure, calcareous and rich in plants., specifies the president of the association. To protect this species, the association invites dog owners not to let them swim in the canals for a simple reason: the swelling of the water and the paws kill the eggs and larvae. In addition to ducks and moorhens, other species are also visible: the webbed newt and the midwife toad (two protected species, editor’s note) or even brown trout. On the plant side, various flowers and aquatic plants also grow in the canals.

A hidden waterfall in the canals

The third rather unusual piece of information that is little known to the general public is the presence of a waterfall. To discover it, you have to climb the stairs which are next to the Impasse de la Comète located right next to Jouvet Park. “Here, it is the water from the Malcontents Nord canal which flows into that of the Trinitaires”, punctuates Christiane Tarrisse. A haven of exotic freshness that never runs dry.

The Canal des Malcontents, a story behind the name

Charran, du Moulin, du Thon, de la Flavie, des Iles… Although we still don’t know why certain canals were called that, thanks to the archives, the association Les canals de Valence et biodiversity along the water knows the story behind the Canal des Malcontents. In a brochure named Let yourself be told about the canals of Valencia, Valence Romans tourism indicates that the Malcontents canal was called the Contents district at the time. But its name changed at the end of the 19th centurye century following a nauseating story. “The untimely discharge of the waters of the Charran into the Thon canal then into the Contents canal […] hinders the flow of water which regularly floods neighboring neighborhoods. The stagnation of water in the meadows transforms them into foul-smelling swamps. The marshes of Faventines and Charran regularly feed local chronicles with their pestilential emanations. The district of the Contents then gradually becomes that of the Mal-contents”.

To go further, it is possible to take part in guided tours of the canals led by the association’s volunteers. This Sunday, May 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the traditional canal festival will take place at Parc de la Marquise in Châteauvert. On the program: free family activities (canoe rides, observation stands, workshops, etc.).



Do you know where this waterfall is? © Photo: Christiane Tarrisse
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