Monday, 25 September 2017

Canal du Nivernais & Vermenton Embranchement: Auxerre to Vermenton.

Tuesday 19 & Wednesday 20 September 2017. Auxerre to Vincelles – 14 kilometers, 8 locks.

A knock on the window heralded the arrival of Zoë from the France-Fluvial/France Afloat base in Vermenton where we had arranged to overwinter, with the tidings that the canal was being drained in November and that they would have to move Elle after she had been winterized, something we did not want to happen at all. The long and the short of it is that we will now be overwintering in Auxerre – we just hope the security is up to spec.

Deciding to get a jump start on the mob aiming for the crêperie at Vincelles we moved upstream a kilometre and moored for the night just above the lock above Auxerre

and started for Vincelles in thick fog, early the next morning.

It cleared up beautifully later - the end of the rain and wind at last!

There was ample space for us against the wall and the rest of the day was spent chatting to other boaters.

The main reason for returning to Vincelles was that we had booked a meal at a restaurant in nearby Irancy which had been recommended by the mate on Randle so in glorious weather we eBiked the three kilometres to the restaurant Le Soufflot where we enjoyed some fine cuisine. And Irancy is a really delightful French village and the center of fine pinot-noir wines bearing the same regional name – and the equally famous Chablis is just next door.

Locked unfortunately.

The restaurant is where the pink doors are.


Fine wining and dining - we had the house wine accompaniment.

Pretty Irancy

Back on board we were joined by hotel barges Art de Vivre and Luciole and, as evening approached, a duo set up and we were entertained by delightful music which we enjoyed over a glass of wine (or two) aboard a hire boat with its French-speaking Swiss hirers. And the music lullabied us to sleep.

Not all our meals consist of fine dining. Spanish boquerones from
Darrell and Tess - delicious! 

Friday 22 September. Vincelles to Vermenton – 10 kilometers, 5 locks, 2 hours 35 minutes.

Despite the change in overwintering plans we decided to head up the Vermenton Embranchement and visit the small town of Accolay which had been recommended, and to see what the Vermenton base was like as we might be back there next year. Maybe not such a good idea – the setting at the France-Fluvial/France Afloat base in Vermenton is stunning and we are now really sorry that we would be leaving Elle to the possible issues related to being in a big town like Auxerre but Vermenton is very much on the radar for 2018.

Our Vermenton mooring view.

A bike ride to Accolay resulted in lunch at Hostellerie de la Fontaine which had been recommended above the restaurant in Vermenton and which was excellent but both towns are cute with, in our opinion, Vermenton taking first prize for amenities especially as the big Atac supermarket has attached washing and drying machines.

Vermenton main street.

Our Accolay restaurant.

But our time was mainly spent starting the winterising process; fixing a leak in the bathroom extractor fan, cleaning the shower plumbing, removing the bimini, cleaning the die-hard Weber braai, washing bed linen, test-packing suitcases and generally dreading leaving our cruising lifestyle.

Cleaned extractor fan cover.

Makeshift bimini


Visited by the wooden fence boat.

We did however take a ride to Cravant which is a two thousand year old Gallic town which has been very tastefully restored and which is very picturesque. It also has an interesting Scottish/English history

The 'city' gate.

Good coffee at this cafe.

A very old vine.

The wash-house, 'keep'/tower and church (11thC tower for sale, church closed this morning)

Advertisement for Vermenton pottery.

Vermenton church door arch - 12thC?

Vive la France.

Tomorrow we head back to Auxerre, do the last bit of winterizing, lift out on Thursday, book into the local Ibis and train to Charles de Gaulle on Friday.

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