Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Down the Saone, June 13-21

This was the second time in two years that we’d navigated the upper portion of the Petite Saone and, south of the plage at Autet, this would be the fifth time on that stretch so we knew the navigation pretty well and the places we wanted to stop. We were also interested in moving right along and, since it wasn’t very hot and the river was still a little chilly, there was no need for the usual shady spots for swimming. Also, since it’s river cruising, there are very few locks and we were traveling down current so 25 or 30 k days still left us tied up in the early afternoon with plenty of time for wandering about or “reading” (hard to do when your eyes are closed).

After an overnight stop at Corre, the town at the junction of the Canal des Voges and the Petite Saone for some grocery shopping, our first stop was Baulay. We had moored on the small pontoon on the way south in 2009 and, since the lawn and garden spot we wanted to use was now a private riverside area, we headed for it. After displacing a grumbling fisherman (why do they insist on using the few places available for mooring? At least he did move. We’ve seen them refuse.) We settled in for a couple of days. We’d topped up the water in Fontenoy and needed to get some laundry done.

Chores completed Thursday afternoon, we wandered into town to see if anything had changed in 10 years. Nope. We did find a woman with a small table outside her house selling sour cherry confiture. It was very good.
We also stumbled on a display near the train tracks that had been installed in 2014 describing the French resistance in 1944. I’ll let the poster (translated into English!) tell the story. (And Bâle is Basel.)

The railway line still runs through that trench.

Friday morning we were back underway, this time headed to Port sur Saone, just a couple of hours away.
Port sur Saone was a major shipping center in the early 1900 and freight barges lined the quay. Posters have been installed along the waterfront to show what the area was like then and the town’s plans for the future.

The quay now. Notice the church, just as it was in 1910 and it was old then!

Next stop was a pontoon on the river outside the village of Soing. A section of the river is cut off and canalized, taking out a big bend in the river. We had heard there was a mooring in town on that bend approached from the downstream end but we weren’t sure of the depth and we didn’t want to make the 5 k detour to find out. Since we were tied up about 1 pm we walked into town to find a very nice small pontoon in a park with power provided and an “honesty box” requesting a 3 euro donation for use of the facility. On the way we also saw this architectural landmark but we really have no idea of it’s significance.

Next stop was Savoyeaux where we finally caught up with Ted and Charlotte on their barge Ferrous. They had wintered in Nancy but left before we could visit, although they were visiting us on the day our new refrigerator was delivered. They used to own a B and B in the nearby village of Seveux and were spending several days in the port while Charlotte took her last class (she’s just retired as an elementary school teacher) on a trip to Brittany. We cleverly arranged to arrive just in time for Sunday lunch and they put on a great spread.
Monday it was off to Gray for the waterside grocery store (bring the cart right to the boat!) and Tuesday we made the grueling 50 minute trip to Mantoche to watch the hireboat circus. There was no angry fisherman this time so the rodeo was much more sedate. We did have to move from our preferred spot to make room for a late arriving rental, though.
Wednesday afternoon found us in Pontailler sur Saone and early Thursday afternoon found us once again on the step quay in Saint Jean de Losne. It was time for “Fete de Musique,” France’s celebration of the Solstice. We also had supplies to gather and we wanted to make our contribution to the fuel dock so we’d be around for a couple of days.


  1. What a staggering series of derailments! How they organised to keep engine after engine coming to add to the carnage is awesome.

  2. The Resistance was very persistent, I guess. Also fascinating was that they managed it all without killing anyone, including themselves due to reprisals from the Germans.


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