September - November





On our way back to St Jean de Losne from Paris via the Briare and Lateral a la Loire we visited Roanne.











And while in St Jean, managed to photograph Matthew and Caroline's magnificent Vixit - the oldest Peniche operating.













Friends Ian MacLean and Helen Jordin at Chez Giles - St Jean de Losne - before we left on our way south.  It was with sadness that we learned they had just sold Mea Vota - their 25m Luxemotor which had carried them and their three children through France in 2000 / 2001.












The sweep of the Saone River at Trevoux just north of Lyon where we farewelled John and Jan who were heading north to St Jean.







Lyon and at the top of the hill overlooking the canal and old town, a very pretty church that is more highly decorated inside than any others we have seen.  From this place there are great views of the city and surrounds and you are in walking distance to the Roman ruins - theatres - and the attendant museum.




















The Roman theatre complex - there are two theatres - this is the larger of the two.  In the south of France, almost every town of note has a theatre or arena, many in fine condition and many still being used for theatre, concerts and in the arenas - bullfights.












The Rhone river after Lyon is HUGE and flows at 4 - 7kmh when in flood.  While we were on it it was only flowing at 3-4kmh and thereby adding to our speed over the ground. (see below)








Top right you can see the GPS we use for speed and compass readings.  The speed shown here is 17.3kmh - pretty quick for a 50 tonne old girl.


















The red is plastic tape outlining the damage caused to a concrete bridge by an out-of-control boat (unknown) that obviously hit it a high speed.  It must have been on the wrong side of the channel.  The bridge is closed for major repairs.....  A big insurance claim !














While navigating the Rhone you pass by many fortified towns and villages, some with very impressive fortresses in very good condition.  The appearance of the architecture changes dramatically also, becoming very Spanish and in some areas Moorish.  Grey slate and enamelled burgundian roofs have been replaced by rust red clay tiles and earth tone stone walls.



Also seen on the Rhone, a large nuclear power plant.  Many signs nearby warning boats not to moor or anchor near the complex.







The red clay roofs seen from the old church at Viviers where the port is not big enough for Van Nelle and the huge hotel boats move you off the outer moorings.










The famous bridge at Avignon where the song was actually written as,  "Sous le pont, d'Avignon....". since the dancers performed  UNDER the bridge - the walkway being far to narrow and dangerous for dancing on.   The bridge was destroyed and rebuilt many times until the struggle against the river's anger was abandonned.  Avignon was the home of a number of Popes while the papacy was outlawed from Rome and the bridge linked the Holy Roman Empire's temporary capital to France.



Here's another view of the Pont d'Avignon













 In the background the Pope's palace at Avignon, taken from the Pont d'Avignon.  No the people are not all on their cell phones - they are listening to the recorded commentary of the Pont on their free headsets.





















The skipper gets some pleasurable tasks - here he has to instruct the new guest on the finer points of bike riding - and the guest has some fine points herself.


















Left - The church at Arles and (Below) Grace Piccardi (the new guest at Avignon) and Maureen in front of the arena at Arles on the day I went to a bullfight.
















Another of the ruins - NO - I don't mean the first mate in the foreground - I mean the ancient Roman temple in the background.






And to our right - an un-prepossessing hotel with a famous name - for those of you who know John.






















The next stop - Aigues Mortes - an ancient town created by Louis 9 as his port for crusades.  He bought the mosquito ridden area which was on the sea in 1200 but is now 5km from it due to floods carrying silt.  Here is one of those floods - just after we arrived it deluged and we were flooded in by the worst inundation in 50 years - 16 drowned.  Lucky we are on a boat.







Aigues Mortes from the battlement tower.  The town is completely surrounded by an impressive set of fortified walls and towers.  In the distance are the salt pans from where France derives much of it's table salt requirements.





The other side of town with the canal running down to the gates of the old city and then away to the left where it splits - one branch to the sea at Grau du Roi (the King's Port) and the other towards the Canal du Midi at Agde.






Grau du Roi - the King's Port - we are looking out to the Mediterranean from the canal in town.  This weekend was a festival weekend with water and land based activities.










Below left - water jousting.  Kids on the extension at the back of heavy, outboard powered boats, use jousting lances and shields to try to knock each other into the water.


Below right - bull fighting the non blood version - a couple of rosettes are tied between the bulls horns and the boys try to get them before being gored.















Grace having left after being flooded in for several days after her departure date, we were joined by Randy and Nancy from Canada.  The weather was alternating cool and cold but we planned to cruise anyway and after a couple of days exploring Aigues Mortes and Grau du Roi, headed off towards Agde.  We didn't get far.













Above - the flood gates 4 km from Aigues Mortes.  They were closed for 4 days just before we arrived.  So, we spent 4 days stuck out in the country - Oh well.  Randy and Nancy were very, very good sports about it considering how far they had come to see us and go cruising......  Sorry guys - next time ......


Our next guests were Sean (our eldest son) and his girlfriend Alisha.  We were able to get back to Aigues Mortes to rendezvous with them and show them the sights including the oyster bar and the Mediterranean - get the toes wet girls.

















And then we headed off (through the now open flood gates) to the CANAL du MIDI - with the top down.




















We even got Little Nellie out and sailing on the river just before Agde.  Note the RFBYC burgee !!!!!



Outport sailing - Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club's French connection !