Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Friday, October 5, 2018

End of the Voyage, August 26 to September 4

Dammarie sur Loing turned out to be as advertised. We arrived a little after noon on Sunday to find a grassy bank with bollards just outside of the village with free water and power. The only possible drawback was that it appeared the dirt towpath was being converted into a paved bicycle trail. Some digging had gone on and there was construction equipment scattered around. Painting would not happen if they were going to be digging up the bank. Luckily one of the workers happened by and told us the work wouldn’t begin in earnest for another week. Not entirely true as it turned out but it wasn’t enough to cause us any problems. We broke out the sanders, vacuum cleaner and paint supplies and got to work.
By Tuesday we had a coat of paint on the exterior of the front cabin and the varnish was all touched up. Since stays are supposed to be limited to 2 days and we were at a good stopping point we figured we’d move on. Besides, there was rain in the forecast for the next couple of days.
Wednesday morning we set out for Ouzouer sur Trézée, 15 k down the canal. 4 k along we passed through the village of Rogny les Sept Écluses, one of the wonders of the canal. When originally built, the canal climbed out the the Loing Valley to the valley of the Trézée River by a seven chamber lock staircase. Now, the canal passes around the hill the structure climbed with six conventional locks and pounds but the remains of the staircase are still there.

The doors are gone but the lock walls are still in place.

By 2 o’clock we had reached Ouzouer to find a very pleasant mooring in a park with the usual services and Guy and Jane on Hibou whom we’d met on the Nivernais. They were going in the opposite direction from us when we left Clamecy so we closed the circle.

The rain clouds are gathering.

Ouzouer is just a small village but very proud of their flowers. 

We’d really like to hear the story of this structure!

Wandering about the village during the day we saw what we thought was a pizza restaurant and since we hadn’t had a pie in awhile, decided to have a meal out. When we showed up at the place at dinner time, however, it turned out the restaurant wasn’t fully operational yet (no restroom facilities) so they were takeout only. We ordered our pizza and took it back to the boat. We had a better wine selection anyway.
Thursday morning we were off to our final stop for the year and more painting. After we visited Briare to drop off Ines for her taxi ride to Paris in The Flood Year (2016), we spent the next night at Beaulieu. Another long grassy bank with water and power outside a village. Time for more painting. The bonus was that it was just a couple of hours past Briare on the Canal Lateral a la Loire. Also, just a five minute bike ride down the road was a pick-your-own vegetable farm. We could have the fresh haricourt verts we’d been missing all summer.

The Beaulieu mooring in 2016.

On that road to the vegetables was a big poster advertising a Concours de Peche, a fishing contest, that would feature a friture lunch. Friture is a pile of little freshwater fish, like smelt, fried up an served with frites. Along with a glass of wine, it sounded like a great €10 lunch. We cycled off to the contest with another couple we had met at the moorings, bought our tickets and stood in line. When we got to the front, however, the last of the friture went to the people in front of us. Foiled! Apparently there were many more people for lunch than last year and they hadn’t bought enough fish. There was plenty of wine and potatoes, though, so we bought some frites and a bottle of the local rosé to drown our sorrows and cycled back to the boat for a pity lunch.
By Monday afternoon we’d managed to complete our painting tasks so Tuesday the 4th we headed back across the pont canal over the Loire and onto the branch canal that leads into the Briare marina. By 1:30 in the afternoon we were secured in our winter moorings. 

The entrance to the Pont Canal from it’s Wikipedia page.

Oldtimer in her winter home.
Briare is a "3 Flower" town.

Our flight back to the US wasn’t until the 18th so we had plenty of time to complete our end-of-season chores and do a little touring around the area by car.

1 comment:

  1. We would have been devastated! Missing out on the full friture lunch - sounds delicious. We had a tough time this year finding convenient sources of takeaway frites to add to certain meals that call for them. Towards the end, we started to find them in middle eastern restaurant/takeaway places. Painting spots noted.


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