Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Auxonne to Langres, August 11-16

We’ve traveled almost all of the canals in northern France but we’ve never been on the canal that connects the Saone and Marne Rivers. This year we wanted to make it part of our “Great Wines of France” circle, the Loire Valley, Burgundy and Champagne, then back to the Loire.
Not completed as a through route until 1907, the waterway is much different than others we’ve traveled. Because it really doesn’t follow closely an already developed river valley, it doesn’t run through villages like the Bourgogne. In fact, Hugh McNight wrote in his guidebook “Only one sizeable town lies directly on the canal and a degree of careful planning is required to ensure that adequate food and fuel supplies are in reserve.” We think that’s something of an exaggeration but we did without fresh bread for long stretches of the waterway. All of the locks are automated with a “superpower”, the usual garage door opener device, there are several lift bridges and one very long tunnel, the Balesmes, nearly 5 k long.

A typical stretch of the canal.

Still both feeling a little sluggish, we made our first stop at the first place you can stop after entering the canal, Maxilly, just a kilometer past the first of the 114 locks in the canal’s 224 kilometers.
It is just a bank with bollards outside some kind of industrial facility but we needed to stop.
Friday and Saturday were both 20+ k days with 13 locks each day, stopping for the night at the waiting moorings by a lock. We were surprised at the lack of other boat traffic. We had thought that with all of the canal closures in Burgundy there would be more people about but that was not the case although we did see a number of Scandanavian flagged sailboats, masts lashed to their roofs, heading down the canal for the Mediterranean.
Sunday took us to below one of the four big reservoirs that supply the canal, the Reservoir de la Vingeanne, above the village of Villegusien-le-Lac.

We cycled up to the 500 acre lake and checked out sailing club and holiday resort.
In the village we visited the church which featured this unique chapel, erected in 1855 to thank The Virgin Mary for her protection of the village during the cholera epidemic in 1854.

Monday morning it was tunnel time. Luckily, the tunnel is well lit, has a tow path on one side to aid in steering and was a little wider than usual. It took us almost an hour to clear it and just before 1:30 pm we were tied up near the first “big” city on the canal, Langres.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All of a sudden I'm getting comment spam. I'll have to use Captcha until it gets under control. Sorry...