Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Final Days, Aug 21-26

 We only had 90 k to cover before we returned to Briare and a week to do it so we were in no rush. 

Setting off from the basin below the Guétin lock at the usual 9 am we didn’t reach our first lock of the day until 9:45 and after just 3 more locks we were back to the moorings in Beffes right around noon. We had seen a flyer for some kind of fete in Marseilles-le-Aubigny, just 2k back from those moorings and, since we hadn’t really been to any of the small village celebrations this year, we thought we’d check it out.

There really haven’t been too many of the little fetes this year. We assume it’s because of the COVID restriction and we wonder what all those small town “rock” bands have been doing with their time off. 

We cycled back to Marseilles and found the event but it was really pretty small, even by small village standards. It was some kind of fundraiser for the association that supports the old Loire boats, like the one in the last Nivernais post. We had a beer, checked out the booths and then headed back to the boat.

The next day it was back to the vicinity of Sancerre. We didn’t want to moor in Ménétréol again; the sides of the quay slope and there’s a noisy road right on the other side of the hedge. Just before the last lock into town there is a farm that specializes in the local delicacy, crottins de chavignol (literally translated as goat droppings), a delicious goat cheese. We had first visited the farm in 2016 and it was really not much more that a little stand. Since then they have greatly expanded the facility and now offer tours and regional products in a greatly expanded store/exhibition hall. They have also placed some mooring posts conveniently on the bank right above the farm so we tied up there and spent a very quiet night, of course after a cheese purchase. More about the farm at The cheese pairs exceptionally well with the Pouilly Fumé we bought earlier in the summer.

Sancerre and Ménétréol viewed from the lock at Thauvenay.

Our next stop was just 15k away so, again, we were tied up before noon outside the village of le Gravereau. Just a couple of bollards on the bank but we had seen a sign for a Route du Lavoirs so we thought we’d see what we could see. There was a lavoir right below our mooring and we found another in the nearby village of Boulleret but we really couldn’t figure out the rest of the walk so it ended up just being a ramble though the countryside.

These folks were getting a ride around Boulleret.

Those crottins have to come from somewhere.

Tuesday we were off to our usual stop in Beaulieu. It was only 15k away but first we made a stop in Bellville to buy our daily bread (it was very good) and wander around the town. We’ve never spent any time there as it’s between our usual stopping places so we made use of an opportunity to check it out. It’s pretty prosperous looking as we suppose the pay for working at the nuclear power plant in town is pretty good.

Wednesday we used another decent weather day to bike ride on the banks of the Loire and visit the nearby “U-pick” vegetable stand. We came back with a bag full of haricort verts, the delicious little green beans, and a freshly cut head of lettuce, plus a couple other goodies.

Thursday it was off to Briare, although not until 11:30. There are no locks before the embranchment with its three locks that leads off the Lateral canal into Briare and we wanted to get there after the lunch closure. By about 2:30 we were back in our slip, this years abbreviated voyage complete. We still had a month to go before our flight back to California, though, so more adventures await.


  1. A lovely gentle return to your slip and with all the delightful stops it must have been very pleasant. Great that you've had no problems with water this year! Now I'll look forward to seeing what else you've been up to before returning home! I'm so pleased you've had some cruising, though!

    1. We were really glad to leave the dock! We're heading off in the car on Saturday for a week around the Midi. Maybe seeing about next year....

    2. Now that would be something...


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