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Jan Lennox and John Johnson on Van Nelle. They have a lovely custom built canal boat about 12 metres, spent most of winter in St Jean and headed off to Dijon a couple of weeks before us.
(Below) It was Jan's birthday just before they left !!!!! Pretty ...
(Below) Van Nelle in Dole at night under the church and the old town
There was a fun fair in Dole while we were there and we had to be a part of it. Especially since it was right next to the Port
(Below) We took a trip up the Bourgogne to check out the tunnel we have to go through. This is the lock that leads to it.
(Below) This is the canal that leads to the tunnel (underneath), pretty narrow and winding.
And this is the tunnel - it gets smaller inside ! We have to take our wheelhouse roof off to get through - see below.
This old drydock is in the pound (an open harbour area) at the entrance to the canal section that leads to the tunnel. I guess it was to repair the damage done by the tunnel. We will be very careful !
Another lock another day, same sunshine. Note - shorts and tee shirts. April spring weather - fabulous.
Australia Day Celebrations at L'Amiral
Someone had to sing 'Once a Jolly Swagman ".
Carnavale in Auxonne
Little Nellie - under sail for the first time - but no wind !
(Below) A wedding horse carriage seen in Beaune.
The Reeds (David, Judith and Jennifer with Jay in front of the Clos de Vogeot, now the centre of the Chevaliers du Tastevin, a group dedicated to promoting Burgundy and it's wines. It has 17,000 members but on this day the person in charge would not let us in to see the museum - along with some 20 French visitors. Tempers frayed. Not a good way to promote Burgundy !!!!!
The Reeds and us with Giles and Sylvie at L'Amiral Cafe in St Jean de Losne. A favourite cheap and cheerful restaurant / bar.
Restaurant night in Chalon on the cruise with the Reed family. La Gourmonde restaurant in Chalon - Very Good !
After winter we set sail, first to Besancon on the Canal du Rhone au Rhin, which heads up to Strasbourg and then into Germany. Besancon was originally a Spanish town but now is a big, impersonal and slightly overwhelming place.
We and another 27m barge over-nighted at this pretty stop at Ranchon. In the morning a loaded commercial barge wanted to pass - well why not, there's room isn't there ? Note: The sides of the canals are shallow and very rocky from fallen masonry from the walls.
Find a restaurant (white building centre distance) with a full car park (except this park is full of huge trucks (right) and you have found a good place to eat. This is a famous Cafe de la Marine at Ranchon where we stopped especially for the lunch. $46 for two, including 1 1/2 litres of wine.
Gill Ragus joined us at St Jean de Losne and is sitting on the lock gate that starts the Canal de Bourgogne.
We cruised with Gill from St Jean de Losne to Dijon, centre of wine and mustard, home of the Ducs de Bourgogne and what happens - shopping ! (see below)
Shop till you drop.
Gill's Chateau - in need of a bit of renov. We were confronted by a man with a chain saw on leaving - despite the fact the place is supposed to be a) a tourist attraction and b) a hotel.
At Dijon in the park with the bear and at Gille's restaurant in St Jean de Losne - This is what Australian elite athletes eat and drink !
After putting Gill on the train for Switzerland, we headed of on the Bourgogne to Pouilly where we had to take the top of the boat down for the tunnel.
This is before
And this is after !
The guy on the left is Vercingoretex, first real 'king' of the Gauls (forerunners to the French) as he brought many tribes together to try to fight the Romans (Julius Caesar) out of the French area. He was unsuccessful and surrendered his 80,000 men to Julius who took him to Rome before garrotting him.
On the spot of the defeat, Alesia, the Romans built a town, the foundations and some walls of which have been excavated for posterity.
The Fosse Dionne is a pool of very blue water which comes naturally from a spring.
Along the Bourgogne you come to amazing Chateaux - this is the fortified town of Chateauneuf which was taken from it's original owner by the King (Louis XI or XII) since she had poisoned her husband. It was given to a courtier who rebuilt the Chateau and lived happily ever after. This is one Chateau that actually still has the toilets - long drops out the side walls and en-suite to bedrooms in some cases.
So we cycled the three kilometres up the hill and found the place shut on Tuesdays, the day the guide said it was open. We went back the next day.
Joigny boasts many historic timber houses, many of which tell stories in the carvings on their pillars.
Further along at Ancy le Franc there is another Chateau with extensive gardens and parklands, now including a gold course. This chateau is still owned by the family who acquired it from the state during or after the Revolution. The matriarch was until recently an Ambassador of France and counted the Queen of the Netherlands as an occasional guest. The bedroom she occupied (next to the ballroom) has no plumbing but was furnished with a nice range of chamber pots !
Adjacent to the pretty moorings at Tonnerre, just up the canal, is a football field from which a balloon company was employed to take the guests of a hotel barge on a sunset flight. Here it is shown rising from just behind Van Nelle
The boudoir at Tonnerre - or was it Tanlay, the Chateau in the next village, even bigger and better than Tonnerre.
Roger Bussy-Rabutin, a nobleman and soldier close to Louis XIV wrote a scandalous novel called the Histoire Amoureuse des Gaules. While the characters were supposedly fictitious, they bore close resemblance to many courtiers and exposed their real liaisons. The king exiled Roger to his estate on the Bourgogne where he decorated his home with further scandalous depictions of the court. This picture on the ceiling of his study shows the main courtiers 'sans appareil'
(Below) This is the a view of the sort of country that Burgundy is.
(Above) The mooring at Sens. A picturesque sweep of river Yonne. We have now left the Canal de Bourgogne and have stopped here to pick up guests - Gary and Dianne Prattley - who cruise with us to Pont sur Yonne (below).
Quite often we have to cross a river while still on a canal. This is one of the short 'pont canals' that make it possible.
Arrival in Paris and our mooring for the first week was right on the Seine River, 5 minutes from the Notre Dame on the Left Bank near the Paris University.
Maureen with Sacre Coeur behind, and below, free saturday and sunday jazz concerts in the Parc Floral at Vincelles where there is a huge royal chateau and chapel surrounded by huge walls and fortifications.
The art at the Musee d'Orsay, once a railway station, is fabulous. The d'Orsay houses the contemporary collection that was for decades stored in warehouses since the Louvre could not find room for it.
The Paris skyline - enough said.
Below the night of my 53rd birthday. It started on the boat with Champagne, progressed to a restaurant in the Quartier Jeufs where the red and white flowed freely, then gravitated to a Mexican bar for Tequila shooters - sans worms. Jan and John from St Jean were there to assist and we followed them to Meaux for the Spectacular that the town puts on every Friday and Saturday with 500 actors and 3,600 costumes. Sorry - no pics.
We sadly had to leave Paris (after the water police had asked us to vacate the 'free mooring' we were not supposed to be at so we headed of to Conflans St Honorine, arriving there just in time to be part of the 43rd National Annual Blessing of the Fleet. Conflans is the centre of commercial barging and the Grand Pardon is the most important event in their year. We parked right in the middle and were blessed twice by the passing Padres.
The boats 'dress up' for the occasion with flags from fuel companies, insurance agents and loads of bunting from wherever they can acquire it.
Outside the town stands a huge memorial to the millions of French dead in the first world war. It was paid for by American friends of France and is known as the American Memorial. It stands about 50 feet high.
We headed back from Paris, Conflans and Meaux to St Mammes where the complex of canals head south and west to Briare and the Yonne River heads south and east to the Nivernais. It was at St Mammes we had arranged to pick up our next guests - Penny Hearne and Rob Grummet.
Like most of the guys who come aboard, Rob was keen to learn to drive Van Nelle and took the wheel for most of their few days aboard. Penny exercised her right to 'veg' out wherever and whenever possible.
And a final night at a restaurant with Penny and Rob never hurts......
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