Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Langres, Chaumont and Beyond, July 15-21

In 2007 when we were looking for our first barge, one of the boats we found on the internet was moored in Chaumont. Using it as an excuse to visit our friends John and Patti Harman near Dijon, we drove down from the Netherlands, staying overnight in Langres and then viewing the boat (it was not to be) the next day, then proceeding on to St. Symphorean. Odysseus blog

We pulled into the Langres moorings, just a long quay with posts for the water and electricity connections, a little after 1 pm. I saw other boats plugged into the power posts and we thought we might do a load of laundry so after getting tied up I got out my handy-dandy plug tester to make sure the power was ok. (I always do this. You never know…) There was no power on the two plugs on the post nearest the boat so I went to the next post where a boat was already plugged in. Still no power. Seeing the puzzled look on my face, the woman on the boat came out and, in very complicated French, tried to explain what what was going on. I finally figured out that she was trying to tell me that even though the utilities were free, the power was only on for an hour each in the morning, afternoon and evening. That was a new one on us. I guess it keeps people from moving in permanently but the laundry wasn’t going to get done that way.
Off we went to town, up a very steep hill, the town being built on a rocky cliff about 500 feet up from the Marne River which has it’s source just south of town.
Legends have the town site being occupied since the second century AD but archeology digs have revealed Gaulish and Roman artifacts so it was inhabited well before that.

The town still retains it’s surrounding defensive wall from the Middle Ages, now topped by a footpath, but since we’d already walked that when we were here before we gave it a pass, instead visiting the 12th century church. It had a beautiful high altar from the 1800’s.

It also has some (supposedly) beautiful tapestries but they were covered to prevent damage from the light so we couldn’t see them.
After the church visit we indulged in a barely edible pizza lunch and ventured out to the wall, looking out over the countryside.

Wednesday we were off to our next stop, Foulain, 25 k and 14 locks to the north. There was space there for two boats and there were already two boats there but the bank was ok so we managed to tie ourselves to some bushes. Cathy Jo walked into the village and there wasn’t much. She was looking for bread but when the boulangerie did open after a few minutes wait, the baker only had one baguette and there was no telling how old it was. Pass. She did find something new, though, an egg vending machine. You put in your euros and out comes a half dozen eggs. We already had eggs.
Chaumont was our next stop, 8 locks and 15 k away. Another long quay with water and electricity. This time we had to pay (a whole €12 ) but at least the power was on the whole time we were plugged in. Again, another town at the top of the hill. Luckily for us, the grocery store was at the bottom of the hill so we were able to stock up.
Off on Saturday morning, 20 k, 10 locks, 2 lift bridges and one short tunnel later we were tied up in Vou├ęcourt. Our canal guide book talked about an interesting church at a nearby village (this is turning into the Old Church Tour!) and the one boat mooring was empty so about 2 pm we tied up, offloaded the bicycles and headed off for Vignory.

Built in the 11th century, the church features a Carolingian nave (look it up!) that’s an extension of the choir.

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