Monday 17th August
Santenay to St-Léger-sur-Dheune
7.5km 4 locks 2¼ hrs
We set off at 8.45am and we arrived at our first lock of the day around 9.30am. All the locks today were around 2.5m deep, and easy to operate. We were pleased to see our first lock ready for us and green lights showing, so we entered and all worked well. Our second lock had two red lights and we hung around for a short time, thinking maybe a boat was coming the other way…..and we were disappointed to see it was a large hotel boat. We backed away from the lock as the exit had a bit of a corner for the hotel boat to negotiate, and he passed by us, no problem at all. As the hotel boat went past he warned us of another hotel boat coming our way after the next lock……it was quite a twisty part of the canal, so we took it slowly…..its good to know a hotel boat is coming but its also nerve wracking…..wondering when you are going to meet it. Luckily it was just after a bend, and we passed each other ok.
|First hotel boat of the day|
We arrived in St-Léger-sur-Dheune around 11am, and our planned mooring spot was available. It had been a great couple of hours cruise, sunny and warm, but this afternoon the heavens have opened and we’ve had heavy rain for a few hours.
We’ve noticed a big lack of barges on the Canal du Centre, plenty of hire boats, a few cruisers, some motor sailboats, but not many barges our size. We are wondering if the warnings on the VNF website of lack of water this year, and the fact this canal closed early last year due low water levels has put people off coming this way. We haven’t noticed any problems with depth, so we hope to be able to continue to take our time along the canal du Centre.
When we were in Verdun, we had dinner in a restaurant that used a throw away pourer that was put into the wine bottle we had ordered. We kept it as a memento of our meal. It was advertising the name of a wine producer, (not the wine we were drinking) Antonin Rodet, a burgundian wine producer. This morning, eagle eyed Kev noticed a sign by the side of the canal advertising Antonin Rodet as we came into St Ledger. We looked online this afternoon and see that Antonin Rodet winery is 5 miles away in Mercurey, and they offer wine tasting tours….so we’ve booked a tour for tomorrow!!! I like to think that the effort they have made in marketing has paid off.
Tuesday 18th August
Cycle ride to Mercurey
We made a big mistake in not looking at the map properly to see that Mercurey, where we had booked our wine tour was up a very, very long hill. We also made the mistake in not taking with us our bottles off water and it turned out to be a very hot day. In spite of this we did enjoy our cycle trip to Mercurey, and the wine tour was pretty good. We did end up buying some more wine….so that’s it now, no more, we are full to the gunnels!!
|Beautiful view from the top of the hill we had just cycled up|
|Our mooring at St Leger|
Lots of Red Squirrels were running around the trees
Wedensday 19th August
St Leger to St Julien sur Dhuene
13.5km, 11 locks 3 hours 15mins
|Leaving St Léger on a lovely sunny morning|
We had a great trip to St Julien, all the locks worked well. The St Julien mooring is in the middle of two 5m deep locks and you certainly get lots of movement while you are moored up with the changing levels of water. We had heard that the restaurant here was pretty good, and we had a walk to look at it as it looked pretty quiet, to find a notice to say they had just gone on their annual holidays! We didn’t mind too much as we have had some brilliant meals out recently. We were the only boat moored up here over night, it does seem quiet on the canal.
|All on our own!|
Thursday 20th August
St Julien to Blanzy
16km 15 locks 4 hours 40 mins
We had a long day, with 8 locks going up, 5 of them the deep locks, but we did have quite a lot of support from VNF guys, especially in the deep locks, which meant we didn’t have to reach for the blue cord to activate the lock. We were also very lucky that we didn’t have to share a lock until the last 5 downward locks. We were pleased to find space for us at Blanzy and we stayed for two nights.
Kev did a fuel top up as there is a fuel station really close by and we also cycled 2km to the nearby supermarket. Its really good only being able to buy what you can carry on your bike, it stops you buying too much! There is free electric and water here at Blanzy.
Saturday 22nd August
Blanzy to Génelard
19km 9 locks, 3 lifting bridges 4.5 hours
We had a pretty good trip to Génelard, although at our first lock we made the mistake of entering too quickly after a boat had exited, you are supposed to wait for the green light to show before you enter, we forgot to check. Luckily there was a VNF man at the lock, and he managed to reset the lock so that it worked ok for us. Lesson learnt!
We were in two minds whether to stop at Monceau Les Mines, if there was a hammerhead mooring available we’d stop, but there wasn’t, so were carried on through the 3 lift bridges. The first lift bridge has a cord to pull. We had to wait a little while as there were lots of pedestrians crossing the bridge as it was market day in town.
We really like the Canal du Centre, it is a very pretty canal, nice locks when you are descending, a few twists and turns in the canal to make it interesting, and a few narrow bridges.
We arrived in Génelard at 1.30pm, with loads of moorings available. In the afternoon we had a walk around the small town, and visited the WW2 Demarcation Line museum by the port. Génelard was on the situated on the Demarcation Line between the Occupied Zone and the Free Zone and there was a German Check point in the town, where everyone had to have a pass to move from one side of the line to the other.
|There are information points all around the town giving |
the history of the town
We decided to stay two nights in Génelard as the forecast wasn’t brilliant for the next two days. There is a brilliant hardware shop in town, last year we were here, it was closed, I think it was a Sunday/Monday, this year it was closed due to their annual holidays....maybe it will be open next time we visit.
Free electric and water at Génelard.
|The moorings at Génelard got busier over the two days we were there.|
|I love the Art Deco look of this old industrial building in the town|
|An unusual 'boat' arrived into Génelard|
Tuesday 25th August
Génelard to Paray-le-Monial
20km 7 locks 3hours 40 mins
We left at 8.50am and arrived in Paray-le-Monial at 12.40pm. We shared the locks with a small cruiser that was travelling from Nice to Paris. All the locks worked perfectly, all green lights when we arrived and there was a nice mooring space available for us at Paray. We have decided to stay here till Monday, as its one of our favourite stops and the forecast is for hot and sunny weather. Photos of Paray to follow