Thursday, 29 August 2013

Montargis to Montbouy/Montbouy to Dammarie-sur-Loing/Dammarie to Ouzouer/Ouzouer to Chatillon-sur-Loire

Sunday 25th August
Canal du Briare
Montagris to Montbouy 8 locks, 19km
We had another lovely meal out last night this time at the restaurant linked with Hotel De La Poste.  The restaurant was very big, but very cosy as they had booths to sit in, so tables with lots of room and the restaurant was in a beautiful  art deco style.

Today we moved on from Montargis to Montbouy (pronounced Mont-booee as the first lock keeper told me after smiling at my very bad pronunciation.  The weather wasn’t great today, and it started to rain properly just as we turned up to Montbouy a lovely village with great moorings, with electric and water you pay 2.50 euros for 4 hours.  The local shop sells the tokens and was open even though it was Sunday.  The shop was really well stocked so we bought a few things as we thought it was good to support the village seeing as they had supplied such great moorings.  Again the flowers at the village were beautiful.

We did 7 locks today.  The first two at Montargis took a little time as we hadn’t let the lockkeeper know we were coming through so he was off doing jobs on the canal elsewhere. The first lock was automatic so we didn’t think we would need to let anyone know! We got sorted in the end.  The second lock was very deep. 4.8m deep.  The lock keeper collected my rope on a hook, which is just as well as I couldn’t see the bollard to throw to, even standing on the roof.

We didn’t see one boat on the canal today, and only one boat has passed us since we moored up, so all very quiet on the canal.

There is a village boules match going on today, they have been playing in the pouring rain.  They are playing all over the village on very scrapy bits of ground, but I suppose they are all playing with the same disadvantage so it’s not a problem.  The next lock we go in is here at Montbouy, its 5.10m deep, we went to have a look and to book when we will go through tomorrow with the lady lockkeeper.  The lock is full of water so you don’t get a feeling of the depth of it.

Monday 26th August (Bank Holiday at home!)
Montbouy to Dammarie-sur-Loing 12km 8 locks

We left Montbouy at 9.30am, we had already organized the time we would go through with the lock keeper yesterday so no problems today.  Also the lock was very easy, even though it was so deep, 5.10m.  The lock keeper helped by hooking up our ropes to the bollards, otherwise there would have been no chance.  The lock also filled very gently so all in all a very pleasant experience.

The locks are very pretty on the Canal de Briare, one was especially beautiful - lock 20 Picardie.  The grass leading up to the lock was all mown and the flowers at the lock were amazing.  As we entering an empty lock you don’t see the flowers until you come up, and what a nice surprise they were.

Lock 20 really beautiful flowers

Lock 20

We decided to stop at Dammarie-sur-Loing after lock 19 as the mooring looked great. (Water and electric is free.)
Dammarie mooring

After we moored we cycled to Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses, which is about 5km.  A pretty town, also with great moorings with lots of space but not free by the looks of it, The 7 old locks after which the town is named are replaced with 6 automatic locks but there looks like there is a lock keeper there to help you with the ropes as agan they are quite deep.    The locks are very close together so it should be fun tomorrow.  We cycled back along the canal, the heavens opened and we got absolutely soaked, the roads became rivers and just as we got back it a thunderstorm began. It was quite fun as once you are wet you are wet! I wish we’d had got a photo of us when we got back to the boat, we must have looked a sight.

Kev before we got soaked

The rain looks set to stay, its tipping down at the moment but we can’t complain as we have had some amazing weather since we’ve been here in France and also in UK before we left.  Quiet night in tonight, mailnly because of the rain, also nothing here in Dammaire!

Tuesday 27th August

Dammarie-sur-Loing to Ouzouer-sur-Trezee
15km 11 locks

What a lovely trip, so many locks but the lock keepers were a delight especially the lock keeper Eric who took us through the automatic locks at Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses.  There is a cruise hire company based at Rogny and we followed a lovely family who had just started their weeks holiday on a boat, they were fun to watch but they got the hang of it in the end.  We shared the last 6 locks with them, the locks were all descending so nice and easy.

Eric our friendly lock keeper
Rogny les Sept Ecluses
The old locks are on the left of the picture

Just before our first down lock we had to stop as it was 12noon and coming through this lock on their way up was another Piper boat called Tesserae.  Their boat was launched the same year as ours.  We had a cup of tea with them and a quick catch up.  They are going to be turning around and coming back and then following the same route as us up the Nivernais so I am sure we will see them again, which will be great.
Tesserae and Rangali

Our mooring here at Ouzouer is really good, the sun has started to shine so hopefully better weather is on its way. The town is very quiet though but we found a butchers open so its steak tonight!

Our mooring at Ouzouer-sur-Trezee

Wednesday 28th August
Briare by Bike!

We decided to cycle to Briare and leave Rangali at Ouzouer today.  We cycled there by road and came back on a track by the side of the canal.  Briare is lovely, full of flowers, we had a good wander around, saw a barge called Maximillon at the port du Plaisance. We recognized the barge from The Thames earlier in the year and at a DBA rally last year and we had a chat with the new Australian owner.  He recommended a restaurant called Le Petit Saint Trop and suggested we should book “as it was the only good restaurant in town” so we booked it for lunch and it was excellent.  We then walked around the town, had fun in a knitting and needlework shop, we bought some cotton, an extra long needle and some buttons to up grade some seat cushions we’d recently bought. The lady tried to give me lessons on what to call needles in French, and how to pronounce it correctly; it gave her a lot of amusement.  There are some French guttural sounds that I am incapable of making!

The weather is improving and we’ve had a lovely sunny day today.  We have really enjoyed Canal du Loing and Canal Du Briare, we are joining Canal lateral a la Loire tomorrow, crossing over the Loire via the Aqueduct at Briare. I wonder if the lock keepers will be as nice?


Briare Church of St Martin amazing mosaics

Thursday 29th August

Ouzouer-sur-Tezee to Chatillon-sur-Loire
12km 2 locks 1 aqueduct

We had a very easy trip to Briare, although we had to wait at the two locks for boats coming up.  We left Canal de  Briare and joined the Canal Lateral a la Loire.

When we got to the Briare Aqueduct, we knew we had to give way to boats coming over the bridge to Briare, there are no traffic lights controlling it.  We saw a boat on the aqueduct and it looked like it was going away from us, we checked with some tourists who had just come off the aqueduct and they confirmed its direction, going away from us so we thought “great, if we follow it nothing will be coming the other way so we thought we should go across too”  Big mistake….as we got onto the bridge we could see it was a big tour boat, it looked like it had stopped, so I warned Kev, then it looked like it was going backwards….we couldn’t believe this was happening but yes it was, and it wasn’t going to slow down, so after tooting our horn to warn him of our presence, Kev had to reverse back off the bridge to let the tour boat off.  Kev reversed brilliantly as boats aren’t great at going backwards.  After a few dirty looks from the tour boat skipper and from Kev we attempted another go and this time it went smoothly.  Its an amazing view from the aqueduct over The Loire, not sure if Kev saw it as he hates heights!

We are now moored at Chatillon-sur-Loire, we walked around the small town, we’d just missed the market which was a shame.  We had a really lovely lunch at a place near the port du plaisance.  The restaurant is called Le Vieux Port.

Briare Aqueduct,
tour boat going away from us before it started to reverse!

View of The Loire from the Aqueduct

We made across  eventually!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Nemours to Cepoy/Cepoy to Montargis

Wednesday 21st evening

Nemours was a lovely old town, we stayed just one night and we are glad we went to have a look around the town as it was very pretty.  We found a very well positioned restaurant, it was a Chinese, which wasn’t what we’d planned to eat but it wasn’t bad, the position made up for the average meal. We have a little restaurant book that translates French to English but it didn’t help at all at the Chinese, we asked if they had anything in English and we got given a folder of photographs of all the items of the menu, helped a great deal!
In our guide there is mention of moorings actually in the town, but when we had a look when we went for a walk, there was a small pontoon, but it was all closed off and looked out of use.


The Restaurant we went to had a prime position 
Our view of Nemours from the restaurant 

I have an idea for Kev Christmas present, he already has the flippers!

Thursday 22nd August

This is going to be a running theme of our trip always wondering if you have the best mooring!!   When we left Nemours in the morning not far around the corner from where we had moored was a lovely mooring, perfectly spaced bollards and grass!!!  Never mind, we were fine where we were last night.  We wouldn’t have been sure if it would have been free the evening before and we were hot and tired and needed to stop so took the first space we saw.

We had a fantastic trip to Cepoy, the canal du Loing is really beautiful.  We spent most of the day sharing locks with a French boat, a father and daughter onboard.  They were very friendly, lovely people, but very haphazard with their use of ropes, I am glad we were going up in the locks not down. 
Locks close from 12-1pm so this was a perfect place to have to stop
We saw quite a few nice moorings along the way, but all too soon after Nemours.  (For those taking notes for future trips we thought PK 25.8 just before lock 10, and PK 21 just after lock 9, PK 15.2 after lock 7 and PK 5 after lock 2 looked great places to stop.  Souppes sur Loing, we felt wasn’t a very pretty mooring next to a sugar beet factory.

Canal du Loing beautiful
Our mooring at Cepoy was good, just along from two commercials.  We could have moved a little further on for water and electric but we only saw this when we went for a walk along the canal to the small town.  The Bolangerie was open and so we bought a baguette.  We had a beer at the little bar and then spent a relaxing evening on the boat.  The lock at Cepoy is the last lock we have to get through for planned lock closures. They are automating all the locks on Canal du Loing, visible signs of work already started, bollards are being put in that will suit the pleasure boats as well as the commercials. 

Friday 23rd August

Canal du Briare

We went a short trip of 6km to Montargis.  We left a little late at 10.30am thinking we weren’t far away but it still took us 1 ½ hrs and we’d forgotten that the locks close at 12 noon for an hour so couldn’t get through the last two locks to get to the port du plaisance.  So we moored up at PK 54 and then walked along to look at the town.  On the way there was a big quay that looked great for mooring to and we ummed and ahhed about moving the boat just as a beautiful hotel boat Renaissance turned up.  There was a sign that was hidden that said that this quay was for pre booked boats.  Just as well we didn’t move ours there!  So we stayed put. 

Montargis is a beautiful town and well worth a visit, full of little rivers and lots of bridges covered in flowers.  We are staying 2-3 nights.  I used Trip advisor for recommendations for restaurants and we found Au Terroir.  We enjoyed our meal there, very busy with French, always a good sign.  I almost chose a starter without checking in my little book, luckily I checked and found I could have been eating Veal sweetbreads!! Lucky escape! 

Saturday 24th August

Montargis market day, and what a great market it was too.  There was one lady there. only selling melons, and we bought two.  She was very concerned that we should eat them today and tomorrow, and numbered which one we should eat first!  Nice that she knows her product so well. 

We visited a beautiful old shop that sells a Montargis specialty, Praline Chocolates, so we had to buy some of them.  We also treated ourselves to a small fancy dessert/cake each from a fantastic boulangerie/patisserie, the cakes they sold were works of art. 

We’ve spent the afternoon relaxing on the boat, bit of rain at the moment.  Kev enjoyed watching F1 qualifying.  Out for dinner again tonight.  Everything will be closed tomorrow evening and Monday so we are making the most of being in a big town with lots of choice of restaurants. 

Kev doing some exercise for a change!




We couldn't resist!

A work of art, too big for us!

Little boats anchored and filled with flowers

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Moret-sur-Loing and Nemours


Tuesday 20th August

We cycled a very short distance to get to Moret-sur-Loing.  It is a beautiful old town, really worth visiting, and all very pretty with amazing flowers.  We had a good wander around and then found a lovely restaurant by the river and had a fab meal, best fillet steak I’ve had for yonks.  They made a mistake with the bill and left Kev’s main course off, I think the waitress was very impressed with our honesty! The meal we thought was still good value especially compared to Paris.

We liked the mooring at St Mammes but there are some great moorings at Moret too.

Our pontoon mooring at St Mammes on The Seine


By the Loing River

There were other flowers that we even nicer

See below the view Sisley was painting

Wednesday 21st August

St Mammes to Nemours

After filling up with fuel at the station by the river opposite our mooring, We left St Mammes on the Seine to join the Canal du Liong,  What a beautiful canal, such a nice change from the massive river we’ve been on and the locks are a delight, so easy.  Most are manual, but looks like they will be automated by next year.

We travelled 18km, through 8 locks and took around 5 hours to get to Nemours.  We have moored up past lock 12, past the port du plaisance, which was full.  We are tied to a ladder going into the canal and we have banged some pins in, and tied up to them.  Once the locks have closed at 7pm we will feel happy to leave the boat unattended.  If a large, filled peniche goes past we may not stay attached, the suction and movement these large peniche create is amazing.  Another lovely sunny day, but its not been too hot at night which is perfect. 
Doesn't look like it will fit into the lock does it?!

Canal du Loing, really beautiful

These are nice locks, bollards in the right place, slow filling etc etc