June 2005 The Bourbonnais Route

From Chalon-sur-Saone to Paris.

A collection of four canals in the centre of France. Canal du Centre, Canal lateral a la Loire, Canal de Briare and Canal du Loing. The Bourbonnais route is recommended for those heading from the UK to the Mediterranean. (For Canal du Centre see last month)

Canal lateral a la Loire

We made only a brief stop in Decize, to stock up on food supplies just a gently stroll from the boat then a walk around the village. We departed the following morning with some stow away's who enjoyed my homemade goat's cheese pasty, John unfortunately got one less. Mr grasshopper then helped himself to water as you can see below. His new home in Cours-les-Barres he was delighted with and hopped off the boat to start afresh. I was feeling a little under the weather myself not able to put my finger on the problem.

New Moet-Chandon pet our grasshopper moving location, Decize to Cours-les-Barres.

Some excellent ports on our journey, not enough time to stop and investigate them all.

Sancerre what a magical place in the hills overlooking the Loire Valley.

We moored in Saint-Thibault, spent two nights here. Spent a whole day cycling up into the mountains and visiting some wonderful places, Saint-Satur, Fontenay, Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre, and the best place of all Sancerre with breath taking views of the Loire Valley, and all it's lakes, you could see the river meandering through large clumps of forests, there are over 220 species of birds (140 nesting). This very famous wine region is in a relatively temperate micro-climate. We had an awesome day, long lunch, sampled the wine, we also sampled the very famous Crottin de Chavignol goat's cheese, we will put Sancerre on our list to revisit.

For 260km between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire, the exceptional beauty of the Loire Valley has meant its being classed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

John & I in Sancerre, we loved this photo, of us in the window.

What a memorable day many photographs taken around this area, the beauty of the vineyards, oh my poor legs up those hill's, the ride down and those views it was worth the pain. It was wonderful to just chill and walk, lots of time away from the boat.

The Canal Lateral could do with some tender loving care in many parts, as the banks are also crumbling, some villages take great pride, offering free mooring, and a very warm welcome from the locals. Moet Chandon's name is repeated as we pass by, also she is photographed every few minutes, no matter what country people are from... ah champagne they say, have you any on aboard is the start of many conversation.

Canal de Briare

Magnificent Aqueduct & Canal Bridge over the River Loire at Briare, designed by Gustave Eiffel.

It was a stormy day here, when we crossed this flamboyant bridge the awful weather did not take away this wonderful crossing, this magnificent structure is 662 meters long and very impressive. We did not stop in Briare the canal sides were sloping and many boats were moored, we carried on further and found a wonderful mooring at Ouzouer-sur-Trezee, wonderful gardens and very clean indeed, free electric & water.

We might of explored more moorings along the canal arm in Briare had the weather not been so bad. After passing the bridge we were on the Canal de Briare now heading to the summit at Rogny. I was not feeling very well unable to put my finger on the problem. We moored up In Ouzouer-sur-Trezee wonderful mooring, with free electric and water, John visited the Mayor who said we could stay as long as is necessary no problem. Most frightening during our stay here being ill. and no telephone signal for any of our phones also the local telephone was out of order, the chemist was a great help to us as was the local Taxi service, the village people and everyone was so helpful.

Guess who was admitted to a French Hospital in Gien near Briare.

Fri 4th June

I was struck down with a nasty abscess which attached itself to my tonsil we went to the local GP he sent the district nurse to the Moet twice a day for painful injections, but they did not work, the abscess & poison went into my jaw and blood stream. I was rushed into hospital in Gien on the 9th June very ill indeed.

Within 4 minutes of getting into hospital I was in a room having my tonsil aspirated with a needle....so painful. I was admitted to the emergency ward for 36 hours observation then moved to a private room on Medicine B ward with my four drips. I stayed for a total of five days, yogurt and water only by mouth. IV infusions continued at a fast rate into my blood. The care was outstanding, very like when I trained as a nurse in 1970 but with today's knowledge.

French lessons were included in my stay by all the nurses and doctors, I think it helped my being a trained nurse, having an outstanding ENT specialist looking after me saved my life. Dr Robin took time every day to sit with me. he explained to me what was happening and why I was so ill and what would be happening to me, in his broken English. At the end of our stay E1. 11 was handed over, and we were told they would try to claim all expenses on our behalf from England and we were not to worry about cost. Poor John cycled 32 Km round trip every day visiting me, and getting good practice with his French, which improved no end.

Helping hands Water Magic & Bon Adventure to join us in Ouzouer-sur-Trezee.

We had dinner on Water Magic with Kay & Mike the night I came home from hospital, they left heading for Paris the following morning. Mike and Ursula cooked dinner for us night before we left, we were well taken care off bless them . It was wonderful to be reunited with our friends Ursula & Mike we had not seen them since their last visit to us in St Jean in Nov, we laughed we cried and we had a wonderful time together before we moved on heading for Paris they were heading for the Canal du Nivernais we planned to meet up in July or August.

My goodness their boat looked so good, such a lot of hard work has gone into Bon Adventure we saw a huge difference since we first met in Sept in Migennes. They have worked so hard for two years on the boat, they are delighted to be on the move now and with the results. We continued our journey, with me resting and John managing the boat alone. John wanted me safe and near medical help if I needed it. We will come back to do this canal again as we missed do much. It's been a worrying and stressful time.

Canal du Loing at Saint Mammès

Arrived in Saint-Mammes in time for Sunday Market free mooring too.

We were very lucky to pull up at this huge Sunday market in St Mammes and stock up the fridge and veg rack with all fresh wonderful produce and not far to carry goods, see steps right to the boat direct to the hatch in the kitchen

At Last on the River Seine, we had these water skiers following us.

Skiers struggled to keep up with us as we made our way to Paris Moet let lose on the Seine. We saw all kinds of water sports, ballooning, gliding, rave's, brass bands, funny flying contractions and wonderful air displays, people swimming, all waving to the Moet, any champaign on board they all shouted, in many different languages.

What an adventure our first lock was ..... huge, very friendly peniches to help us out.

Arrived in Paris for our 30th Wedding Anniversary & celebrations.