France 2017, Saône, (Day 26)

St-Jean-de-Losne (and bejond)

Monday, 28.08.2017

lots of km

Today the lad and myself set off to retrieve the car and trailer from Corre. We get up less bright but very early to catch the train from St-Jean to Dijon.
Its a lovely walk along the river to the train station.

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The TER regional train arrives in time, we hop on and soon we reached Dijon. Definitely a place that would justify a visit. But we have only minutes to spare to change to the TGV to Besançon. And what an amazing train that is. 380 clicks and no rattle nor shake. Much too soon we reach Besançon Franche-Comté. A brand new train station in the middle of nowhere, built just for the TGV. A very interesting building, but again we have to rush to catch the bus to Vesoul. This is a much more rustic affair. But after a long winded trip through the French countryside the bus arrives at Vesoul.

Here we have to spend almost 3 hours to wait for the bus to Jussey-Gare. To cut the short story even shorter: There is not much wrong with Vesoul. Mostly because there isn’t much. After about 5 minutes we have walked through the town center.  Found the statue of an old geezer.

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At least the Jardain Anglais is really nice and offers some retreat.
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Finally we board the bus to Jussey-Gare. Time to ring a up a taxi to get us to Corre. But one of the two numbers I looked up from the web rings out. The other one reaches a friendly gentleman, who insists I shall ring back after 4 o’clock, as then his daughter would be around. And she would speak better English…
I would not mind to make the acquaintance of his daughter, but I need a taxi now. I approach a teenager who is the only other passenger in the bus. He must know the daughter, as he also speaks English. He rings the taxi gentleman on my behalf and things are sorted.

At Jussey-Gare we find this vehicle. The lad is all cars at the moment, so he is very much delighted.

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20€ later the taxi drops us of at Corre. Of course the marina staff enjoy their well deserved lunch break. So we have to wait another hour, to get our car keys back and the compound unlooked. And then we are finally under way back to St-Jean. The trip is rather adventurous . Especially when the Garmin decides to guide me down a lane that is exactly 2inches wider than the trailer.  At the end of the lane I cannot get out as there is no space to turn with the trailer hitched to the car. So we have to unhitch the trailer, drive the Landy out to the “main road” and then manhandle the trailer behind. I do hate satnavs. With a passion.

Eventually we reach St-Jean. We ring The IO to bring the boat up to the rowing club jetty, next to the slipway. There is plenty of space to leave car and trailer for the night.
We set of out to a last swim in the river. Much needed in the heat. Back to St-Jean we tie to Pete’s boat, as the quay is full with boats.

Another evening finds us boozing with Pete and a couple from an English narrowboat. All very nice with music in the background, as there a concert in the Salon de The next door. When they close the intoxicated crowd moves out to continue their party next to the boat.  Usually I wouldn’t mind and join in, but we need to get up early tomorrow.  Thus we set up for a little cruise up the river to the rowing club. Nice and quiet.

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France 2017, Saône, (Day 25)

Saône pk 209 – St-Jean-de-Losne

Sunday, 27.08.2017

15 km 0 locks

This is our last day on the river. Tomorrow the Lad and myself will retrieve the rig from Corre. And on Tuesday we will tow up to Normandy and the river Seine. Before there is the matter of sorting out tickets for rail and bus to get there. And also I have printed out a connection to get us there most of the way, it is not quite consistent.
The IO lets me of at the derelict stepped quay next to the railway bridge. I walk to the station in hope of some clarification. But all there is, is a machine that sells me tickets at least for the first two legs of the trip.

Back at the boat the IO has bought breakfast from the baker and we attend to that first. Then we walk to the tourist office. And the friendly lady here can shed some light on it. There are two stations at Besançon. And the right station is called Besanon Franche-Comté, which really is confusing, because yes, Besançon is in the Franche-Comté……

At least we are sorted and do not have much to do for the rest oft he day. As it is really, really hot we cruise up the river a bit, past the ship yard.

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Basically the whole day is about frolicking  about in and on the water. Then we go to an expedition onto the Île des Maillys. There are the ruins of some sheds, even small hoses. All a bit haunted and myriads of flies. Back to the water, more swimming.

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Back at St-Jean-de-Losne, which has become our home port somehow, we moor up to the tough looking cruiser of Pete. Pete has been cruising in France for several years. We invite him round for a glass or five. The good news spreads and his mate Keith joins us as well. So we all have a pleasant evening with maybe a wee bit too much.

France 2017, Saône, (Day 24)

Doubs pk 66 – Saône pk 209

Saturday, 26.08.2017

50 km 2 locks

We pull the pins, down the Doubs for half an hour, round the islands at Verdun and then up the Saône again.

Another flawless day lies ahead.
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Another redundant lock near Seurre. Together with lock cut and access bridge.
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The lock keeper’s cottage and some interesting maintenance craft.
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We stop at Seurre just behind the supermarket at the little yellow crane.  The last time for this trip to get some petrol. And some food for the weekend.
Coming back from shopping, we hear very loud engine noise, loudspeakers, general racket. We have no idea what that is, but it soon becomes clear.
Around the bridge at Seurre, there is a Formula 2 speed boat race in full swing.

We get flagged down by a security boat that stops all traffic on the river. After a bit of confusion we drop anchor. And have got the absolute pole position to watch the races.

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The lad is all cars and petrol at the moment, so he is totally thrilled. Between the legs we go for swims, have a bit of food and a cold beer. A day at the races. Who would have expected that?

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The boats themselves seem to be very fragile, and thus are lifted in and out by cranes. No crude trailers…
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The original plan was to reach St-Jean-de-Losne, but with all the excitement much time has passed and we probably won’t make it in daylight. We look out for another spot for bank mooring. We find a very idyllic space near pk 209.
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And while we are slap bang in the middle of nowhere, we get some entertainment thrown in.
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France 2017, Saône, (Day 23)

pk 128 Saône – Doubs pk 66

Friday, 25.08.2017

35 km 1 locks

As we arrive at Chalon-sur-Saone, the morning rush hour is in full swing.

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The Andre Michel I is loading grain. Vesselfinder says, that it is a proper coaster. Its amazing to meet a seagoing vessel 380 km inland, as the crow flies.
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Being still early in the day we get a mooring at the marina, under the strict understanding, that we piss off no later than 15.00. That should be no problem, as all we want to do is actually visiting the Musée Denon.  All kinds of prehistoric, Gallo Roman, medieval and general old stuff.
Archaeologists have found this boat from the Gallo Roman period.

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This piece was part of a caisson that was used to build the pillars of the 15th century Pont-Saint-Laurent.

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After the museum visit, we have light lunch at a restaurant opposite the Hotel-de-Ville. Then its back to the boat. Or rather back to the shoe shop at the Gigantomarché behind the marina. For some reason that eludes me, the last shoe haul was not successful. Or not successful enough. I refuse to join, as that clearly would be too much fun for me. I retire to the boat and wait for a few hours. About 30 seconds before 15.00 the crew returns.

Being suspiciously watched by the harbourmaster we leave rather hastily. Further up the river we meet some nicely maintained peniches. Also Bounty always seems to be a bit of a dodgy name for a boat.

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Summer has definitely arrived and it has got increasingly hotter over the last few days. Thus more swimming is in order.
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Looking for a place for the night we pass Verdun-sur-le-Doubs again.
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We decide to go up the navigable stretch of the Doubs in order to find a nice spot for bank mooring. Not such a clever decision. The banks are high, steep and uncombed.  So it  takes a good while before we find a piece of Armco we can tie up to. Not much of a room with a view. But definitely the most quiet and remote mooring of the whole trip.

France 2017, Seille, Saône (Day 22)

Cuisery – pk 128 Saône

Thursday, 24.08.2017

36 km 2 locks

Today we will leave the Seille for the Saône. After a light breakfast we get the last few kilometres under our belt. Soon La Truchère is getting into sight.

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We lock down the last lock with a couple from Munich who we have met on and off for the last few days. But once out on the big river we loose sight of them soon. We trundle on to Tournus, which we gave a miss on the the downstream leg. Apparently there are a good few things to see.

At least the jetty is choc-a-bloc with boats.
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First stop is the abbey and its church. Most of it being from the 11th century, it is all decidedly Romanesque. I really like Romanesque architecture, as it is quite purposeful, much more modern and clean than all that gothic fancy bragging.

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It is all very much like Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose”. Just before they start burning the place to the ground.

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But this being a practical rather than a show-of-church, they also have a proper basement. Here they store their Frescos that got out of fashion. The ones they were given by their grandmother, but don’t want to display in the front room.
Gothic:

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Roman, like real Roman, from some car boot sale around  52 AD.

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From the outside the church is very much fortified. Religion of peace, my ass.

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This couldn’t stop the Lad from nicking a few candles. He clearly is at peace with himself.
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The next attraction is the Hotel Dieu, an ancient hospital. It was in operation until the 1960s. It consists of three yards, one for soldiers, one for men and one for women.
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There was no real medical treatment in a modern sense administered. But on top of praying all day, there was a very nice room for some serious quackery.
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The town itself sports quiet a few picturesque streets and lanes.

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But any town is best seen from the water:
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Ecluse Ormes with its huge weir follows in due course.
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Getting locked through takes ages. We wait for another cruiser. When they finally arrive they spend about 15 minutes to tie their brand new just bought half a million piece of plastic to one of the lock ladders.
The lockie shouts at them through the intercom. They ignore him. The lockie comes down all the way from his tower and is not very pleased. He demands them to put on life jackets. They have one between the two of them.
From here on it gets very interesting and I renew my resolution to improve my French.

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Further on, the river is just beautiful.
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A spell of ground net fishing.
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It is getting late and we still haven’t found a good mooring.
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Chalon is too far away and most likely will be full at this time of the day anyways. So we settle for some bank mooring. Which on an evening like this is definitely the best kind of mooring.

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France 2017, Seille (Day 21)

Louhans – Cuisery

Wednesday, 23.08.2017

25 km 3 locks

Louhans certainly is a dynamic and flourishing town. Its main attractions are the arcades that line the main street. The arcades shelter a lot of independent shops. Money could be spent big time.

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The wallet a good bit lighter I use the chance to refill the petrol cans at a nearby filling station. Then it is off onto the water again. Just in time, as it is going to be another hot day.
We stop at Loisy, which has got a nice floating jetty. According to one of my guide books, the Mont Blanc can be seen from the castle’s garden.
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But it seems that too many tourist got hold of this secret information and so the castle and its garden were hermetically cordoned of. The Bistrot looks nice, but is of course closed.

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On the way back to the boat we walk by the church…
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… and a traditional Bresse house.
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Having seen all there is to see we retreat to the boat. Further down the river we pass more of all that social housing that is so prevalent in rural France.
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We moor up at Cuisery. The harbor master/ campsite manager / pool supervisor takes our order for some bread tomorrow and also sells us cold beer and ice cream. I think we can survive here for the night.

France 2017, Seille (Day 20)

Truchère – Louhans

Tuesday, 22.08.2017

37 km 3 locks

The Seille is navigable over 39 km from its confluence with the Saône to the country town of Louhans. A drop of only 10,10 meters is compensated with four manual locks. The gates and gear are brand new. Very little current, hardly any markers. All very easy.

Our first stop is Cuisery. It is one of France’s four book village (read: Hay-on-Wey with more sun).
Which fits rather well. The lad has finally discovered, that reading is not a chore, but a rather pleasant way to spent your time. Thus he has totally run out of any reading material. If we can find something to help him out, it would be here.

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And indeed, in one of the shops we are lucky, they do English books. The lad got a whole pile of Beano comics from the 70s. And he is well delighted. It is really amazing how the antiquated humour, those jokes you heard a gazillion times, still work with kids who read them for the first time.

Then we realize that it is market day. But we are just 5 precious  minutes too late to finally get our first poulet roti this year. All the ones the roti man has left are reservee.

Instead we settle for a little something in the café at the square. From here we have a commanding view of the non-book-related infrastructure of Cuisery.

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Upstream of Cuisery the river starts meandering wildly and in very tight bends. Cruising along one looses his feeling for space and time. The only reference to the outside world is the mill at the small village of Loisy.

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This area is called the Bresse. It is famous for its chicken and the quality of its cattle.  The reason for the good farming is the fertile loess soil. Glorified mud that the Saône and the Seille have deposited here over geological time scales.  As a result there are practicaly no stones available in the area. Thus the typical house of the Bresse is build of loees soil, with a low roof and is rather long to allow space for the animals.

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It is hot, with hardly any wind. So we spend  a good part of the time in, rather than on the water. The Seille with its clean water is well suited for it. Eventually we arrive at Louhans. The end of navigation und the capital of the Bresse region.
It is already late when we arrive and so we have a rather quiet evening on the boat.