Monday morning, the festival over, we joined the exodus out of Verdun. Since we’re in far northern France very close to Belgium and Germany, that’s where most of the boats are from and most of them are still headed south for their holidays. We, however, are headed north for Charleville-Mezier so we can tend to business. We do have all week to cover the 130 kilometers so we’re in no big hurry.
Our first stop was in the small village of Consenvoye. We’d stopped here twice in 2008, the second time to lick our wounds after the broken shifter cable resulted in a small incident with a lock door. This time it was pretty warm and since the halte is on a small arm off the river we felt some swimming was in order. That was until we stepped foot in the water. Much too cool for our taste so we spent some time wading around and then retreated to the shade at the boat and a cold pastis. It’s a nice quiet place, however, and we had good afternoon shade so we stayed an extra day.
Following the signs up into town to what was touted as a 24/7 boulangerie we came across something novel. Kind of puts the kitchen bread machine to shame.
That’s just a picture on the front
Put in your euro and a “freshly baked” baguette pokes out of the little silver door. No pain chocolat or croissants but at least the daily bread is available. We did see plenty of people from the nearby campground walking down the street with multiple loaves in their bread bags.
The next night we stopped bankside outside the town of Stenay. There really wasn’t room for us inside the very small port and we didn’t need electricity so we just staked to the bank on the canal.
The French authorities are busy converting waterside canal towpaths to nicely paved bicycle paths called voie verts, or greenways. A nearly brand new one starts in the village of Remilly-Avricourt and goes all the way to the French/Belgium border at Givet. Day three saw us staked to the bank near Remilly to do a little bicycle touring. We left the river to visit the nearby village of Bazeilles. They have a church!
And an old chateau! (That needs some renovation.)
Night four took us to the end of the Canal de Ardennes and the village of Pont a Bar where Odysseus spent the winter of 2008/9. We went through the first lock onto the canal and spent the night staked to the bank. The yard/marina is pretty much the same and the “head guy”, Cedric, even recognized us. The evening featured one of the more spectacular thunderstorms we’ve seen in the years we’ve traveled here; buckets of rain and continuous lightning and thunder for at least an hour.
Saturday morning it was off again onto the river. By 1 pm we were secure in the Charleville marina. The boat would be spending 10 days here but we’d only be on board a couple. First it was up to Holland for business and then down to Burgundy for party time!