Sunday, 2 December 2018

End of cruising and Quercy goes to new owners

A few photos from the time of our final cruise along the loveliest part of the Canal du Centre from Saint Leger sur Dheune towards Santenay, Remigny, Chagny, Rully and on to the end of the Canal at Chalon Sur Saone. 

Near windmill at Santenay


Hotel barge at Santenay mooring

Interesting gate near Chateau Chamilly

Although the town of Chagny is uninspiring, we got around the whole area on foot and saw a lot of the rugged beautiful countryside.  Hillforts, quarries, caves and vineyards.

Wine estate Chateau Chamilly.  This does not do it justice.

Jo, Mark, Julian and Me after our wine tasting st Chateau  Chamirey

Impressively woven Willow Chagny
Rully Square

Walk near Chagny

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Paray le Monial - twinned with Wells

Here we are in Paral le Monial again, and Julian always corrects me on how to pronounce the name of this town.  He believes that he knows how to pronounce it as he came here about 30 years ago as part of a twinning group. 

I'm afraid that I have little confidence in either Julian's ability to pronounce French words or his memory going back 30 years, and I seem incapable of saying it in he insists is he correct way!

The Basilica is a fantastic building from all angles.  It does not look 800 years old.  I think a lot has been rebuilt as it says her from Wikipedia.  But still very impressive.

Basilica of Paray-le-Monial.
View of the nave.
The Basilica of Paray-le-Monial is a Romanesque church in Paray-le-MonialBourgogne, eastern France. Built from the 12th century, on the site of a 10th-century monastery founded by count Lambert of Chalon, it was a small-scale version of the Abbey of Cluny. It was completed in the 14th century, although some sections were added in the 18th century or renovated in the 19th century. As a priory, it was  the authority of Cluny and was a popular pilgrimage site.

The town of Paray is another of those whose shopping area has contracted and the shops are staggered amongst the old streets between many vacant properties.  Some km East of Paray le Monial we enter an interesting section of the Canal du Centre where the former scale of industry, and working people in this area, especially ceramic tile making is evident by the number of huge derelict factories, almost as big as cathedrals themselves.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

South Nivernais and a bit of the Loire

It's mid September and a few trees are beginning to turn to their Autumn colours.   The sun glows clear orange gold rather than the faded hazy yellows and scorched earth that we have been used to.

We have been travelling through the Nivernais where we saw many cyclists but not that many boats.

We then turned right and cruised a few miles up the Loire Canal before turning back and beginning our cruise along the Canal du Centre. The first time we did this route, we explored just about every side road, town and village that we came to.  This time, we spent more time alongside the canal, and just revisited some of our favourite spots.  The coutryside is beautiful in the remote area and there are plenty of small chateau, fortified manoires and ruined castles to see (if you are prepared to leave the canal!)

Cafe at Fleury sur Yonne

The bridges on the Nivernais are a great topic of conversation amongst boaters, especially those whose air draft is borderline for going under some of these bridges. Quercy just squeezed through, and I noted that the bridges South of Chatillon en Bazios were the ones that cause the problem.  These are beautiful stone structures built I think in the 1830's.  To make things extra difficult, you have to go through them slightly off centre as the path runs along the inside of some of them.

After a while the arches on these same bridges have been removed and replaced with horizontal metal structures, keeping the stone sides.  So although low, there is no problem in navigating under them if you have managed to get through the ones further North.

Very occasionally one comes across a lively cafe just near the canal and we found the best of places at Fleury sur Yonne, on the Nivernais.  Popular with local and boaters is served good food from a limited menu in a former lock keepers cottage, the tables and chairs spilling out onto the tow path and a quirky marquee outside.

Other notable rural or unexpected cafe spots are Chitry Les Mines on the Nivernais, also worth a mention is the lock keepers bar/cafe at Marigny sure Yonne.   Lovely mooring and cafe at Pont d'Ouch, pizzeria at Tanlay on the Bourgogne, and Samois-sur-Seine on the Haute Seine near Fontenbleau.

Martigny near Cercy la Tour

Water meadows of the Loire near Decize

Dipping my toes in La Loire on evening after cycling a few km down a fisherman's track near Avril sur Loire

The Ruined Chateau of Luthenay-Uxeloup with a working farm inside the walls.
Not open to the public unfortunately, not even to peek in through the archway.

Outside the Chateau on our fold up bikes.  Fine for going up to 10km on fairly flat.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Back on the Nivernais. (We were here Sept/Oct 2015 see more photos of this lovely area on those previous posts)

Here we are on our last cruise in France, and I'm actually loving it! This is because I'm doing my two favourite activities (pottery and cycling) as well as boating.
Fish, just finished on an upturned measuring jug - I am forced to improvise.

Yes, I'm doing pottery on the boat, and Julian is coping well with being ignored whilst I'm concentrating, plus we are surrounded by basically wet mud.

So he is working the boat single handed as I'm far to busy to be bothering with ropes every time we get to a lock, but he loves the challenge of coping smoothly with manouvering in and out of the many many locks and lock staircases and when you get into a routine it usually goes like clockwork.
Fish vessel unfired

Bird vessel.  Unfired

We have brought our car here this time, as we usually go by train, this is in preparation for clearing out the boat on our return.  So with our trusty fold up bike, I am frog hopping the car and cycling back to the boat every day which is about 20km, just about right as the fold up bike is not made for distance that's for sure.

The Nivernais is a great canal to cruise on or cycle along.  Such beautiful suroundings and interesting locks.  We went up the Sardy staircase of 16 locks yesterday, through a wooded valley.  Today bigger gaps between locks but sometimes up to 5 clustered or connected in some way.

Chateau Ratilly,  Treigny, Nievre.

Pottery on display at Chateau Ratilly.  One of my favourite chateau

Lock with VNF van.

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