Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Back to Fleury, Aug. 13-14

 Back we went through the curvy bits, arriving in Chatillon after about 15 k and 14 locks, early enough to visit the boulangerie, the butcher and the store featuring produits locaux for some honey and confiture de mirabelles to go on our morning bread.

Saturday morning it was a little less that three hours to Fleury, meaning we could be there before the lunch lock closure and have plenty of time for swimming. It was still pretty warm so this time we found some shade and staked to the bank above the lock. Then we watched the local youths do what local youths do all over the world when there’s a bridge over the swimming hole.

There will be jumping! 

No jumping for us but we did enjoy some swimming.

I mentioned in the last post about biking around. The French love to cycle. The bicycle is, after all, a French invention. In the early 1860’s, Pierre Michaux of Bar-le-Duc was repairing a draisienne, a sort of bicycle without pedals, when he decided to add a crank and, voilá, the bicycle was born.

When the Nivernais Canal was built in the 1880’s, the motive power for the barges was horses, oxen or, in some cases, people. That meant there had to be a path alongside the canal for the movers to walk on. Then barges got engines, freight moved to trucks and the commercial barge traffic declined. Pleasure boating became the primary use of the smaller canals and those tow paths were turned into paved bike paths. The EU is continuing to develop long distance connected paths. Parts of the canals we’ve been on this year are portions of the Scandiberique network; Scandinavia to Spain. Other crisscross France and there is La Loire à Vélo, a bike path that follows the Loire River 900 k from near Nevers to the Atlantic Ocean. The cycling on the Nivernais is epic! Since the path follows the canal it is basically flat and we see many cyclists; day trippers, people enjoying a couple hours on two wheels and many cyclists with all their gear, using some of the many bike-in campgrounds along the canal.

On the path.

We saw one family with a gear trailer, a child on a bike, one on a bike attached to the rear wheel of one of the adults being towed, and a child carrier on the back of the other adult bike.

Sunday morning the weather broke and the clouds and wind rolled in. It was off for the 23 k to Cercy-la-Tour.

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