Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Let’s Get Started, Toul to Nancy, April 28/29

This year’s trip, if it goes as planned (not guaranteed after our experiences the last two years) is to spend a month or so in the Moselle and Alsace regions, then head south to the Loire and Burgundy. That means initially we’ll be spending time in territory we first visited with Odysseus in 2010 and 2011. First we’ll be heading to Nancy where we’ll be joined by our friends Tim and Christine, who cruised with us in 2016. We’ll journey down the Moselle to Metz where we’ll spend several days and then they will head on to Paris by train and we’ll be back to Nancy and east on the Canal de la Marne au Rhine to Saverne, sampling those good Alsatian white wines along the way. Then we’ll retrace the canal back to Nancy and head south, potentially on the Canal des Vosges, one of the waterways we used to get up to The Netherlands in 2016.

Here is a link to a .pdf chart of the north eastern canals, helpfully provided by the waterways authorities, the VNF. Once downloaded and saved, you can follow along much more easily. Nord-Est et Rhin 

After a little delay getting through our first lock onto the river, we made the exhausting 18 k, 3 lock, 3 hour trip to Liverdun, the so called “Switzerland of Lorraine.” Perched on a hillside over a sharp bend in the Moselle, the site has been occupied since the Paleolithic era.  Archeological digs have yielded bronze implements from Celtic times.  The Romans called it Liberdunum, "Fortress on a Rock," and an act of the Merovingian king Dagobert gave the town to the bishopric of Toul in the 12th century, when it became fortified. Now it's just a picturesque village in France. And we can’t mention the name of the town without thinking of our barge mentor, John Hardman, who got a big kick out of pronouncing the name in his best “radio announcer” voice.

Last time we were here we tucked inside a small arm of the river and tied to a small landing with a hireboat. This year we decided to stay on one of the two landings right on the river. There is some big commercial traffic but because of the very sharp bend, the big guys have to go very slow, making little wash. In fact, about 5 am Sunday a large coal barge went by but, other than the huge spotlights used to see where they were going, we weren’t bothered at all.

We had a few sprinkles during the day but nothing too terrible. Overall, the weather had been pretty nice since our arrival. 
Sunday morning we made our usual 9 am departure and, after two big river locks, exited the Moselle onto the Marne au Rhine and it’s first two small locks. Just after noon we were tied up in a spot we had used twice before. The official Nancy marina is small, crowded and pretty expensive. Just east of it, across the canal from the big movie theater, is a row of bankside rings, some of which are spaced well for mooring a boat our size. There are no services (water and electricity) but since we’d just left Toul a couple of days before, we really didn’t need any. Tim and Christine would be arriving Wednesday so we settled in for an extended visit to the home of Art Nouveau. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great plan! I’m glad to hear you only had a few sprinkles. The weather has been kind yp here too this May. Happy faring!


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