|89,6 kilometers, 9 locks.|
Thursday 24 May – Morêt-sur-Loing to Melun. 30 kilometers, 2 locks, 4 hours 10 minutes.
On a cool and misty morning we set off for Samois-sur-Seine, sharing locks with commercials, passing stately residences until, with the mist having cleared and the weather warming up, we did an about turn on the river so as to approach the mooring, which is behind an island, from downstream.
|Château de la Rivière|
|The strangest named barge yet.|
|Njord following us into Samois-sur-Seine.|
|A space behind the grey boat at the end.|
Delighted to spot a space sufficient for our two boats, we were soon tied up but a man with a jackhammer who was repairing the water supply prompted a chat with Ian and after some twenty minutes we had cast off lines and were headed back downstream, leaving the racket and clouds of dust behind. A real pity as there was to be a strawberry degustation in the town square later in the day.
One large lock and a short cruise later we were tied up in Melun directly opposite the only electricity point – twelve Euro per night with water and electricity. We paid for two nights and never saw the man again so we had two nights free.
|A strange lock mechanism - the drum rolls around and|
brings up the gate.
|Entering Melun - behind the walls is a prison.|
A deserted barge was the only other occupant on the long quay but at one stage there were nine boats lined up with one of them borrowing our sixty meter cable to enable him to reach the plug.
This is a very bumpy mooring as the commercials come past at speed and we are left rocking and rolling in their wake – thank goodness the locks close at night!
[Added on Saturday: A biggie, Endurance, came past at lunchtime at top speed, snapped our one 12mm line, banged us into the pulpit of the boat behind taking paint down to steel and narrowly missing our cabin window, banging our scuppers on to the quay 40cms below deck level and doing damage to Njord’s newly and painstakingly repainted hull. The French cruiser behind was pushed into the barge behind him and had his stern thruster destroyed – expensive! We have had at least forty commercials go past us but it needed just one to sour a very good experience.
|The pulpit which narrowly missed our window.|
|His stern thruster - a couple of thousand Euros damage.|
|Just above one of the stern windows|
However…the Frenchman behind us had ‘phoned ‘someone’ and a while later the ‘cops’ (their nomenclature, not mine) arrived, smartly dressed for urban warfare, took details and copious photos of the damage to the various boats and, it would seem, issued insurance claim numbers to those who needed and departed in their bus with a comment that we should expect a call from their boss in the morning. Compared to where we live, the event was completely enervating – no sloth, no implied bribery, no ****. Well done the French police force!]
The next day it was bikes unloaded and we took a leisurely ride around the lovely town, stopped in one of the pretty squares for coffee, and then headed off to the Intermarche for much needed supplies (No tonic aboard? Deserves to be keelhauled!) followed by a braai with Ian and Sian aboard Elle.
|The church of Saint Aspais|
|The 10 ton St Jean fountain - the three women represent the Seine, the Marne and the Yonne rivers.|
|Beautifil Mairie (town hall).|
|Looking down the Seine on the opposite side|
of the island to where we are moored.
Saturday seems to be market day here and, apart from the somewhat docile ‘Printemps sur Seine’ festival market, the small pedestrian market had some good ‘stuff’ and the marché outside the Carrefour was huge but the fresh goods shopping highlight was the covered market, undoubtedly the best we have come across in France to date. The senses were agog…
Our last day in Melun entailed a ride into and around the huge park looking for an entrance to the gardens which we finally found after we had decided that it was time to take a break from the heat of the day and find a café. Sitting on the square we agreed that the closer one gets to Paris the less French the inhabitants seem to become; French people have a way about them and if twenty percent of the people passing through the square that midday were generational French I would be surprised – chisel faced Russian, slender North African, ebony Central African and robed Middle eastern stereotypes but not many ‘les Français’.
Monday 28 May – Melun to Paris. 58,8 kilometers, 6 locks, 8 hours 20 minutes.
The next morning lines were cast at twenty to seven (two Carters awake at that hour? Very unusual.) and, having decided not to spend a night in Viry Chatillon but to rather have an extra night in Paris, we set off on our fifty eight kilometre, six lock way in idyllic weather.
|The Vives Eaux lock.|
|We have never seen a sign like this in a lock.|
|This water skier was pretty good.|
|Spot the plane - passing Orly airport.|
|This barge has been impaled on a large mooring piling.|
|A public swimming pool on the Seine.|
|The famous Chinese restaurant.|
|Looking up the Marne river from the Seine.|
|A warm day.|
|The entrance to the port.|
|Locking into the port.|
|Njord leads us in.|
With most of the locks being in our favour and with no commercials accompanying us, we made it to the Port de l’Arsenal by three o’clock. Not very happy at being allocated a mooring alongside another boat but we will not be using the bikes in the city and Lynn, Joelle and Dave will be at the French Open for two of our days here anyway.
|Our view forward to the entrance.|
|And behind - that tall structure is July Column in the Place de la Bastille.|
The port is in the middle of the city right at the Place de la Bastille and a short cruise away from the famous Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris so lots of exploring to do.