Saturday, 17 September 2016

Canal Lateral continued; Menetreol sous Sancerre/Lere/Sury-pres Lere/Chatillion sur Loire/Briare

Canal Lateral á Loire continued; Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre/Lere/Sury-pres Lere/Chatillion sur Loire/Briare

Saturday 13th August

We stayed the weekend at Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre, which we thoroughly enjoyed.  It is a busy little mooring. We did have a group of young fishermen who turned up early evening, every evening and fished right by our stern, or more to the point fishing under our stern, hitting our boat occasionally with their weights and hooks which was rather annoying.

We decided to walk to Sancerre from the port.  Its not that far but it was a very hot day, and all up hill so we took it slowly.  The town was very busy as it was a holiday weekend.  We bought some wine from our favourite Sancerre wine producer, Vacheron and we arranged for it to be delivered to the boat later that evening.

A hot walk up the hill to Sancerre but the views of the vineyards was worth it.

The view from the hill at Sancerre

We had a great evening at the hotel restaurant joining in on the festivities.  There was a set menu for the dinner, all very nice, a disco played down the street near to where we were seated for our meal, luckily the music only got loud when the meal was finished.  There was a candlelit procession through the town with mainly young children followed by a very good firework display.

Hotel Le Floretine- just by our mooring at Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre
Our table was by the side of the restaurant, sort of in the road!! And very close to the disco

Sunday 14th August/Monday15th August
20km 3 locks

On Sunday we cruised to Lere and stayed there the night and then on Tuesday we cruised 1.6km to Sury Près Lere.  We preferred the mooring at Sury Près Lere.  Lere has a couple of hotel barges that moor there on a regular basis, the schedules for them are on display.  Quite a few of the bollards are wooden and broken, whereas Sury Près Lere the mooring has better bollards and a nicer feel, and no road noise.

I enjoy watching the House Martins skimming the water for insects
They are such skilled fliers.

Tuesday 16th August
16km 2 locks 2.5hrs

We moored easily at Chatillion sur Loire and had lunch at Le Vieux Port restaurant which is a popular restaurant with locals, cyclists and tourists.  Just a simple set menu, but very tasty.

We walked over the nearby footbridge over the canal after lunch to the old Loire lock that connected the river Loire to the  canal Lateral a Loire via the Châtillon Branch canal before the Briare Aquaduct was built.  Its a really lovely area to walk around, we missed seeing this when we travelled in the opposite direction 3 years ago.

There is a huge basin just before the old Mantelot Loire lock
There was only one barge moored up just out of the picture, what a waste of some very nice looking pontoons

We see so many heron by the canals in France

Wednesday 17th August
10km 2 locks 1 aqueduct

We left Châtillon at 8.15am and we were over the Briare Aqueduct by 9.10am.  It was a beautiful sunny morning.  We had a great trip to Briare port, we moored on the visitor pontoon for two nights. When we came through this was 3 years ago, it was our first year in France and we were nervous of going down the old Briare canal now called the Canal Henri IV incase there wasn't room enough to easily turn around, shows how much more confident we are now.

The visitor pontoon, we are moored just behind the hire boat.
There are beautiful flowers all over Briare

Our favourite restaurant in Briare, Le Petit St Trop......we ate here twice!

We had a successful stay in Briare.  Our black tank pump had stopped working, so we had ordered a new pump to be delivered to Briare port.  The parcel was there waiting for us when we arrived, and we had the lovely job of changing pumps, but what joy when we switched it on and it was working again!

This is as far as we are travelling this year, we are turning around to retrace our steps, taking it nice and slow.