Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

St Leger and Couches

The marina in St. Leger sur Dhuene (the Dheune is the river that runs alongside the canal. Thus all of the villages are “by the Dheune”) is where we first saw Oldtimer in August, 2011.  The previous American owners, the Bergs, had just put it up for sale and we had just signed the papers to sell Odysseus. We thought it would be a great boat for us but never imagined that 4 years later it would be available. Sometimes things just work out.

Sunday, Cathy Jo, Tim and I rode up (and I do mean up!) the road to the nearby village of Couches (coosh). We heard there was a big vide grenier, a kind of village wide garage sale, and there is a beautiful chateau that has been restored and is open for visits. 
As with many of these small villages, Couches history goes way back, to Roman times. There’s a stretch of the old road that connected Lyon and Boulogne sur Mer in the 1st century BC and nearby there was a big battle between the Romans and the Gauls in 21AD, the Roman victory beginning the Pax Romana. There’s also an ancient stone marker midway through town that identifies the border line that existed between the Kingdom of France and the Duchy of Burgundy from the 12th century until 1477. Couches was split in two with garrisons of soldiers from each government housed in town on either side of the line.

The Chateau de Couches was built by the Duke of Chalon beginning in the 12th century and them expanded and rebuilt by Claude de Montagu, a Chamberlain of the Dukes of Burgundy, in the 15th. We got a tour through the Justice Tower, the Medieval Chapel and the underground passages and storerooms. Then we retired for a glass of wine on the terrace before coasting the 6 kilometers down the hill to the boat.

The Justice Tower was the strongest and best protected building in the chateau. Note the lack of windows, just arrow slits.

The Chapel

 The residence portion of the chateau built later on.

The Ramparts with the back of the Justice Tower and the Chapel

Overnight it started to rain.  Remember that. Monday morning at the crack of 8:30 during a break in the showers, Tim and Christine lugged their bags down to the train station, heading for the last stop on their vacation this year, Paris. We spent the morning shopping for groceries and about 10:30 pushed off, headed for the last chain of 20 locks that would take us to the summit of the Canal du Centre. After 10 of them we stopped in the village of St. Julian sur Dheune for the night but didn’t see much of the village because of the rain. By about 11 am Tuesday morning we’d cleared the last up lock and it would be downhill for quite a while.  We just wish it would stop raining!

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