Sunday, 25 February 2018

A post went missing: Goodbye Canal Des Vosges, Hello Petite Saône – Fontenoy le Chateau to Corre.

9 – 11 June 2017.

22.3 kilometers, 12 locks, 1 swing bridge

Friday 9 June: Fontenoy le Chateau to PK141.4. 16.2 kilometers, 8 locks, 1 swing bridge.

Our navigation guide recommended a visit to the glass factory at Passavant-la-Rochère so in showery, cool weather we departed Fontenoy

and set off south through pretty countryside,

eventually exiting the Des Voges ‘department’ and entering the Franche-Comté region where we tied up at a quarter to one at a long wall with adequately spaced bollards in the middle of nowhere – lovely!

On Saturday the weather had improved into a magnificent day so the bikes were off-loaded and we set of for Passavant-la-Rochère and the glass factory about four kilometres away – but there is always a catch, isn’t there! Passavant-la-Rochère is actually two towns; Passavant is the one four kilometres from our mooring and Rochère is the one another two kilometres further on – thank goodness my laziness had prompted me to take the eBike as the route was pretty hilly. Passavant is a pretty little town but with not much to offer apart from a tiny ‘tabac’, an interesting square, an imposing but locked church and some medieval and 18thC buildings.


Tour de France country.

The glass blowing at Rochère is nothing to write home about but they make low quality glassware and were exporting it to Japan, Georgia and China according to the stacked pallets in the yard. The salesroom holds mainly cheap, mass production pieces but there were some good quality crystalline items for sale – we bought two Martini glasses.

The tiny village nearby is delightful.

On a whim we decided not to stop at Elle on our way back but to have a quick look at the town of Corre which was five kilometres in the other direction. There is not much to Corre at all (apparently it was a hub for the French Resistance in WWII) apart from the huge marina so it was back to Elle but this time along the tow-path which starts just out of town and does not extend to the marina – quicker and more comfortable.

Our view across the canal.

Sunday 11 June 2017: PK141.4 to Corre. 7 kilometers, 4 locks.

Leaving at quarter to nine so that we could get to the Intermarche in Corre before it closed at midday, we cruised leisurely past Demangevelle, the signpost for which is almost bigger than the town itself,


past the invisible long mooring wall as shown in the Fluviacarte just before Corre; just after the big bridge is a small marina, followed by the municipal mooring (rusted shuttering)

The small marina.

Quai Payant!

then it was into our last lock on the Canal Des Voges where we handed back our telecommand and when the doors opened we were ejected into the part river, part canal, Petite Saône. After a sharp right turn we arrived at the very smart, short-term visitors pontoon of the very large marina.

Visitors pontoon, Corre

The main marina.

Shopping done, we headed off to the restaurant which overlooks the moorings, the most memorable part of which was sympathising with a couple of tables over slow service – one couple had not even had their drinks order taken after fifty minutes! It’s crazy – the French really ‘do’ Sunday lunch so having one chef, one server and one ‘other’ doing the drinks, helping in the kitchen and helping with service in a 50 seater restaurant is just not going to work.

The rushed staff.

Back aboard we had a quick chat with a British couple on their smart and fairly new Linsson 40 Aura before retiring to our books and eventually to bed.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Vermenton Embranchement & Canal du Nivernais: Vermenton to Auxerre – Closing Cruise

Tuesday 26 September 2017. 21 kilometers, 13 locks, 8 hours.

Going 'downhill' is always relaxing and for the first part down the Embranchment we had it all to ourselves

Vermenton Embranchement

Crevant port - not a great mooring wall.

and then just after Crevant we joined up with an Australian crewed Le Boat, one of the newer ‘Vision’ models which I had read have problems with the electronics. And sure enough, approaching a lock, the boat suddenly did a right angled turn and went into full forward and then into full reverse until they hit the bank where they managed to turn off the electrics. This happened once again before we left then just before Escolives-Sainte-Camille and must have been very scary for a person who had never driven a boat and who was on his second day out but he handled the situation very well indeed.

The Vision is on the right and five minutes later it  did the 90 degree turn.

At Vaux we were joined by the tourist boat Hirondelle 2 and locked through with them to Auxerre

Sharing a lock with Hirondelle

where we tied up on the wall for the night and sat out the rain until morning when we moved across to the Aquarelle marina where Elle will spend the winter. We have decided against going on the hard and will brest up - after a discussion with port manager Mike about security we are satisfied that no harm will come to Elle over the winter months.

Taking a break.

With final winterising done on the Thursday we moved our luggage over to the nearby Ibis hotel where we had booked a room for our final night and then wandered over the bridge ending up for sundowners at the restaurant Le Quai which is opposite our wall-side mooring place;

Elle from Le Quai

by six o’clock we were starving and as I had not yet managed a ‘Boeuf Bourguignon’ meal on this trip, we ordered for service as soon as the restaurant opened at six thirty. And what a delight it was! A huge portion of absolutely delicious (a tad salty however), rich, dark Burgundy stew accompanied by a couple of glasses of very good Irancy red really made for a fitting foodie end to our 2017 summer cruise.

The Irancy red was on its way.

Friday morning we went exploring Auxerre and Lynn has revised her opinion of the town – we now both agree that it is beautiful, interesting, buzzy and well worth spending a good few days in.

The military hospital.

The Abbey of Saint-Germain now home to the city's museum.

The Cathedral of St Etienne

Stunning stone masonry.

Some of the finest stained glass windows in France.

Our hotel room with a view.

Then it was off to the station for the three hour (which turned out to be five hours because our TGV fast train broke down and we had to catch an all-stations SNCF slow coach) ride to Paris and then half an hour to Charles De Gaulle and finally the eighteen hour Emirates experience to Durban.

Season summary: Over 151 days we traveled 1,220 kilometers, locked through 504 locks, two lifting basins, passed through 11 tunnels, and operated 4 lifting bridges. Water usage was about 10,000 liters and we used 950 liters of fuel doing 236 engine hours at 4 liters per hour (two liters per hour per engine) or 1.28 kilometers per liter.

We also consumed some wine…

Roll on 2018!