Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Spring Has Sprung, April 20-28

 Wednesday the 20th was Take The Car Back To Paris Day. The drive north was much easier than the drive down; no rain or wind so the traffic was much more manageable.

We dropped off the car at the airport and proceeded to or least favorite chore, riding the RER, the suburban train, into Paris. It’s always packed, and I do mean packed, almost like those pics of the Japanese trains with the train attendants shoving people in so the doors will close. Luckily it wasn’t hot. That makes it even more unbearable.

We got off at the Chatelet metro stop and headed for the Marais. We needed lunch. Rue Rosiers might as well be known as fallafel street. There are several takeout fallafel restaurants in about 3 blocks and the lines are always epic but the food is good. We chose Mi-va-mi because our first choice, L’As du Fallafel, was closed for some reason. Our hunger sated, we headed for the Gare de Bercy where we would catch the train back to Briare.

On the way we made a stop in the famous Place de Vosges and found that, since it was Spring Break and the weather was fine, it was very busy.

The square is surrounded by an arcade filled with shops and restaurants but we just sat on a bench for awhile and took in the scene.

After another brief stop at a cafe for a little liquid refreshment it was off to the station.

Ah, the French trains. Bercy is the station specifically for the lines headed for Burgundy and the Loire River Valley so the first stop isn’t for about 45 minutes, but there’s nothing quite like shooting smoothly through the spring French countryside at 90 mph.

Back to the boat about 7:30 pm we settled into the cruising routine with transportation now sans voiture.

Friday was Cathy Jo’s birthday so we celebrated with a delicious dinner at the nearby Le Petit Saint Trop, where we have enjoyed many great meals.

Foi gras for Cathy Jo and escargot for me for starters. Yum.

Cathy Jo also received several Happy Birthday wishes. She says “Thanks!”

Spring has sprung here in Central France and the long days lead to a riot of growth. You can almost see the leaves and flowers popping out.

There was a picture of these trees off the stern of the boat in the first posting. 

Compare and contrast. Discuss.

A flowering fruit tree we spotted on one of our walks.

This display at the city hall is in the colors of the Ukranian flag. 

There’s also a big blue and yellow flag hanging on the building.

Cathy Jo among the wildflowers alongside one of the many waterways

 that crisscross the area.

Late in the week there was a spell of much cooler weather with some rain. It was kind of cold and damp so we fired up the stove.

The new solar panels are installed and making electrons, Market Day is tomorrow, Saturday is laundry day, there’s a big vide grenier on Sunday (May Day. A big thing here in France. The canals are closed.) and we think we’ll be getting underway on Monday. Southern France here we come!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Joyeux Paque!, Tuesday, April 19

After Storm Diego blew through the weather gradually improved with warm, sunny days and chilly nights. Flowers are blooming, trees have started to bud and the tourists have appeared. Spring has sprung.

Easter is a big deal for France’s patissiers and chocolatiers. The displays of their wares are like small (or in some cases, not so small!) works of art.

Last week, after a visit to our favorite pouilly fumé winemaker, Sebastian Truillet near Sancerre, we made a stop at Mason Pinard, in San Satur. We stumbled across this place several years ago and have managed to return several times. Their Easter displays are epic.

This chocolate rabbit is about 2 1/2 feet tall

and costs 200 euros

Elegant Mr. Eggheads

It’s hard to see but this is an underwater display

with all kinds of fish and other sea creatures

We bought a couple of small things, a rabbit, an egg, some candies and this chicken.

It’s in two parts and when the ribbon is taken off, the goodies inside reveal themselves.

The goodies inside the chicken

 salted caramel and more chocolate.

I mentioned projects in the last posting…

Last year our always balky generator finally gave up the ghost. The two year Covid layoff did it no favors and we didn’t use it that much anyway. Rather  than spend the thousands of euros to replace it we decided to go the “green” route and greatly increase our solar panel capacity. The new panels are supposed to be delivered today and after their installation we should be ready to head off. In the meantime, Cathy Jo has been catching up on some painting projects.

It was very quiet in the marina when we arrived; even the office wasn’t open yet. After a couple of days the other boaters started to trickle in. Klaus and June on Doris Pickel, Pete and Sarah on Mariana, Maggie and Charlie on Proper Job  and Debrah and Bob on Paradoxe have all appeared. The parties have begun.

Midway through writing this, the truck carrying the solar panel arrived. Tomorrow we return the car to the Paris airport, wander around Paris for awhile to find some lunch and then take the train back to Briare. It’s bicycles from now on!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Welcome to France, Tuesday, April 12

 Yes, we made it!

Wednesday, April 6 about 3:30 pm we began winging our way across North America and the Atlantic to Paris via Air France. It was a very nice flight; the staff was very attentive (back to their pre-Covid ways) and the food was the best we’ve ever had on a flight; well prepared lamb chops with a fine Burgundy with armanac for digestif

We landed at 11 am local time on Thursday just in time to be greeted by Storm Diego. They all have to have names now, you know. Heavy showers and strong winds were the order for the next couple of days. The drive to Briare in the rental car was exciting! By Friday afternoon the temperature dropped and we gave the radiators and wood stove a good workout. 

Rain is coming!

Luckily, by Sunday, reasonable weather had returned with high temps in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s, perfect conditions for outside boat cleaning. We’ve only been away from Oldtimer six months this time so the boat was in pretty good shape. We did have to clean off a bunch a Sahara dust, though. We’d always wondered why the boat was covered in red dirt (mud) after the winter.

We’re also earlier to the boat than we have been in the past. The trees are just starting to leaf out although is seems like we can see them growing.

This is the grove on the island viewed from our back deck.

 In their usual fashion, the city has been very attentive to their spring gardens, especially this bed in the port, although the flowers on the bridges are not in place yet.

We’ve made our first trip to the garden store for flowers and herbs and this afternoon we’ll be driving down to the area around Sancerre for a supply of our favorite pouilly fumé.

We do have a couple of major tasks to complete before we head south (more details later) but our hope is to be underway sometime around the beginning of May.

And in a new tradition inspired by the Family Midge (Fading Memories) we found this at the neighborhood Lidl.