Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Friday, May 20, 2016

Heading Down

It’s so much easier to handle locks going down. The bollards are easy to lasso when you enter a full lock and since there is so much less turbulence, we only need to use one line on a midships bit. Also, when it’s raining, which it has been off and on, that bit is right beside the door into the cabin so the line tender doesn’t have to stand out in it. We’ve actually found that when it’s raining we like to just keep moving along. No fun bike riding or exploring small villages in the wet!
After a night in the Montceau le Mines marina we passed through the town’s three opening bridges, a novelty on the French canals, and proceeded to our next stop, Genelard.
We arrived early in the day, about 1:30 pm and it wasn’t raining so we managed to do a couple loads of laundry to catch up. Unfortunately the drying of the last load would have to be inside as it started to sprinkle again later in the day.

Genelard has several claims to fame. About one third of Paris cobblestones were shipped from here as it was a very important port on the Canal du Centre. 
Entering the town you pass through the Genelard cut, a very deep trench through a hill. The sign said they used 188,000 paving stones to line the sides.

Genelard was also right on the “Line of Demarcation” separating “free” France from the German controlled Vichy territory causing lots of complications in travel back and forth.
They have a great halte nautic, lots of good deep bank with some bollards and free water and electricity. 

Both nights there was somebody tied up right behind us but they came late in the day and moved on in the morning. The second night the British barge Millie was tied up in from of us.

Thursday it was raining pretty hard do we just stayed put, doing a bunch of housework (or is it boatwork?) and dodging raindrops to take a walk around town and the countryside in the afternoon.
Friday we were underway again, this time heading for Paray le Monial, a major Christian pilgrimage center. We wandered into town to take more pictures of the basilica and discovered that the convenient waterside supermarket we’d visited in 2009 was now closed and it was a pretty good bike ride to the closest one. But the wine supplies were getting dangerously thin so we saddled up and made the trek.

The aforementioned basilica.

Friday night was an interesting dining experience. We were tied up just down the canal from C’est si Bon, an old peniche barge converted to a fondue restaurant. We’ll just say Jeff has some work to do on the menu and service. The fondue, though edible, was not remotely like what we got in Annecy some years back (but then nothing probably ever will be) and we had to figure out the bill for him. Ah, well.
Saturday morning it was off down the canal through Digoin and, shortly after, new water! The Canal de Roanne a Digoin parallels the Loire River down to the city of Roanne. We had skipped this out-and-back navigation with Odysseus. This time we’d make the trip.

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