Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Seine, August Aug. 8-11

The Seine is a big, busy river with lots of commercial traffic and locks to match, about 600 ft. long and 40 ft. wide, but since it was August when most of France is on vacation, commercial traffic was pretty light; we only had to share a lock with a bigger barge once and that barge was only about 120 ft. long. We would only spend a couple of days on the river. The best places to stop are the waiting areas for the locks, especially this time of year.

The waterways authorities have spent some money sprucing up the facilities. One good example was the Coudray lock. There is a passerelle, a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river at the lock and barrage. The sides were covered in a mirror surface so when the boat passed underneath we got a view of the top of the boat.

You can see the solar panes, the bicycles
and our outside table and chairs.

The barrage and walkway at the Vives-Eaux lock were elegantly designed.

We saw some amazing architecture as we motored up the river. Some very nice looking residences. I didn’t get a picture of the thatched roof house but some others were just as impressive.

Thursday night was spent at the waiting area for the Ablon-Vigneux lock and the plan was to stop briefly in Melun (where we had stayed in 2009) for a quick trip to the nearby grocery store and then move on. Just as we tied up at about 1:30, though, the rain started to come down hard so we decided to put off the shopping until the rain stopped and spend the night. Bad decision.
We knew it was a crummy tie-up. We’d noted that during our previous stop. The river is quite narrow as it goes through town and the commercial traffic doesn’t even pretend to slow down. Consequently you’re in a washing machine from 6 in the morning until sometime after 8 at night. At least in 2009 it was free. Sometime in the past 10 years they put in a post with water and power on it and are now charging a pretty penny for a lousy mooring. We have learned our lesson! (twice, now!)

The view out our wheelhouse window as 
a loaded commercial goes steaming down the river.

Picking up our email on Friday afternoon we got the news we had been dreading. The portion of the Canal du Loing above Nemours and the entire Canal de Briare were going to close at the end of the day August 18, about a week away, due to lack of water. We still had plenty of time to make it to our winter moorings but we were going to have a long stay in port before our flight home on Sept. 25. It was ironic that this was the year we decided to extend our stay later into September so we could get a little more cruising time. We’d be doing our cruising at the dock.

Saturday morning we set off for Samois-sur-Seine, another place we visited in 2009 (and a much nicer mooring!). The home of the gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, back then we enjoyed the music at the bar right next to the mooring, including an appearance by Django’s maybe 10 year old grandson who was an excellent guitarist, too. Sadly, when we pulled in just before noon, we found plenty of room at the moorings but the bar had just been sold and the new owners had not yet reopened it. A great disappointment.
Sunday morning we completed our 80 kilometers on the Seine, turning into the Canal du Loing at Saint Mamm├ęs. We made a brief stop to get some fresh vegetables at the Sunday market and then entered the canal headed south for Briare.


  1. 80kms in two days is a lot...and as I see it, you're heading back home tomorrow. You've had a long stationary stay this year. That's such a shame. I really hope the water levels will improve over the winter and that next year will be better for you.

  2. PS I would like to do the Seine. You two are such old hands now, but I like the way your posts always make these waterways seem new and exciting.


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