Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Time to head home

The time has come to put Antiope to bed for the winter. This season has been 'one out of the book'.
The sun has shone down on us all summer, often dictating our choice of mooring spots preferably in the shade of trees. A season of slow cruising, spending more time in towns and villages that we liked the feel of, meeting other boaters, putting the world to rights over a wine or two, sharing Antiope with guests, and family.
Antiope is hauled out at Simon Evans boatyard.
 We have returned Antiope to Migennes for the winter, and she is blocked up back in her old spot.

Covers on, Antiope is snug for the winter.
Plans for next seasons' cruise? Nope. Another summer like this one would be great!

Cheers Charles and Annie.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

In Paris

It is always a delight to arrive in Paris by boat, however we are late in the season this year and our favourite mooring place 'The Arsenal' is filling up with boats booked in for the Winter, we take our chances and get lucky with a very short term berth.

 'Pont Neuf' ,we have arrived
My Son Toby and Grand daughters, Holly and Charlotte.

It was great to be able to cruise through Paris with the family aboard, up from NZ in the School hols.
The view from the very top of Notre Dame looking up the Seine
A must see in Paris, The Opera 

Another must, is the Atrium in Gallerie Lafeyette

Two girls in a candy store

Sunday Market at the Arsenal

We take a cruise through the St Martin canal, the back door to Paris

Playing dodgems in the Basin de Villette, St Martin Canal 

The Stade de France, alongside the Canal st Martin

Marking time for a couple of days waiting for our slot in the Arsenal, we cruised downstream a few Kms to moor at Isle des impressionnistes. This was where Monet, Degas, Renoir and the like came to paint, drink wine and entertain their ladies. A magic tranquil place.
A wooden boat workshop at Chatou 

One of many restored craft in the boatshed.
Leaving Toby and the girls to visit Disneyland we head off on the last leg of our season's cruise back upstream to Migennes on the Yonne river. 
Moret-sur-Loing, home to the Impressionist artist Alfred Sisley

Moret-sur Loing, an artists paradise

Moret-sur- Loing


Monday, 8 October 2018

Briare to Paris

The great summer weather continues despite the days getting shorter. We head north along the Briare canal, last traveled by us in 2007 on our first French exploratory cruise. The Briare waterway linking the Loire and Seine rivers was commenced in 1604 and completed in 1640 and has been navigable ever since. Over the centuries the original waterway has been enlarged often leaving the the old stone lock chambers intact alongside the current canal. 
In Briare the the blooms thrive with daily watering
 The towns along the waterways compete with massive floral displays hung wherever possible.

Rogny les Sept Ecluses

The town owes its name and existence to the canal, an inland port and the site of a remarkable staircase of seven locks built in 1640 

Les Sept Ecluses. (The seven locks)

There seems to be a village in my beer!

Parts of the old canal abandoned but very scenic

Annie gets her daily workout
 While the locks are all manned along the Briare canal, boaters are welcome to help.

Near Montbouy, a Roman Amphitheatre. 
 This Roman 'stadium sized' Amphitheatre was uncovered in remote countryside when digging the canal, They dug round it.
The bar in Montargis where we watched Americas cup racing back in 2007
 We found the bar in Montargis where we watched the Kiwis racing Alingi in Valencia back in 2007.

The fortified town of Montargis

In Nemours 'Water Jousting' a French thing. 
In Namours we came across a festival weekend, and watched the sport of water jousting. Health and Safety, risk assessment???

Monday, 10 September 2018

The magic of the Loire

We hold our breath as this long summer continues. September has heralded autumn and a welcome drop in temperatures to the very comfortable high 20s. The Loire valley adds to the magic as we cruise slowly northwards.

A few of these shallow draft traditional Loire river boats have been preserved  
During our stay in Nevers we were exited to watch the World Boules championships being played out in front of a live audience of several hundred people.

A tense moment during the final match televised across France

Complete with cheerleaders

The round lock at Lorrains
Not far downstream from Nevers we find this curious round lock. It is no longer in use, but originally it permitted full length barges to swing round and drop down from the canal level to the Loire river, and slip into the flowing river, bow forward.

It is that time of year, when we scour the hedgerows for blackberries.
Add sugar, boil and bottle

 Ending up with this lot.

  Walnut trees line the canal, ripening just now and free for the taking. Crew Alan and Nicky help the harvest.
Antiope makes an ideal platform for the harvest

On a rare dull day we crossed high above the Loire on the aqueduct designed with the help of Gustave Eiffel and completed in 1896 to reach Briare. This aqueduct replaced a perilous river crossing involving locking down to the river level winching the barges across and locking back up on the other side.

We approach the kilometer long aqueduct

Safely across, without touching the sides!

These old locks once let barges out onto the Loire for the crossing to Briare  

 The river today is 1.5m below its normal level, but in times of flood (Crue) the waters have even submerged these locks.

Flood level markings on the bridge, high above the lock itself

Briare and the final lock into the old town basin 

The old town basin at Briare and part of the old canal system

We spend a few days in Briare before heading up along the Briare canal towards Paris.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Nevers and the Loire

We have reached Nevers, and find a very welcoming french town, a good mixture of old and new.
Taking a break from cruising we will stay a while, before heading North towards Paris and eventually Migennes where we will haul out for the winter and also complete the round trip. What we do need is a bit more rain to help raise water levels.
Nevers and the Loire river

Here we find the loire river is running much lower than normal, and we are hearing stories of commercial barges running aground in the Rhine river due to low level, fortunately the lateral canal runs alongside the river as we follow its route Northwards.
Not much water under the bridge

Ankle deep under the bridge !

The Ducal palace, Nevers. construction started in 1491,   

Nevers -The old gate dates from 1350, and NEW gateway restored in 1840.


Night time Street theatre, 
We booked onto a mystery tour and were treated to an experience as the cathedral gargoyles came to life and showed us around their old town.

A sad sight, the now derelict swimming pool
When we first visited Nevers 10 years ago in a hire boat the old boat lock leading down to the Loire had been coverted into a smart new public pool, and had just opened. 

Annie takes a spell on the helm