Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Down the Centre, May 21-27

 Saturday the weather had moderated so we set off down the Canal du Centre. It never felt all that warm as there was a pretty good breeze off the lake. Too cool for swimming.

We planned our next stop for Saint Berain sur Dheune. Our notes from past trips said it was a pretty good mooring in a park but with a noisy road nearby. We bypassed St. Julien sur Dheune (sur Dheune means these towns are on the Dheune River. The Centre parallels the river) which looked very nice but we wanted to get a little closer to Sundays destination, Santenay.

After 14 kilometers and 17 locks (thankfully all down now) we pulled up to the mooring to find it nearly full of boats and a family of fishers “colonizing” the last bollard. They helpfully moved some of their equipment without too much grumbling and after some rearranging of the other boats in the mooring we were able to get a spot. Jaap and Jenny on De Jonge Eva showed up about a hour later and rafted up alongside.

Our mooring notes said noisy and we were surely right. It was Saturday afternoon and the road on the other side of the canal begins a long straight stretch that was perfect for the motorcycles and fancy cars to really hit the accelerator. Loud! Luckily it quieted down in the evening but we won’t be stopping there again.

As we were leaving we thought the fishing madame had hooked a big one.

It turned out to be just salad.

Sunday morning it was off to maybe our favorite mooring in France, Santenay. We’ve stopped here 5 or 6 times over the past 10 years. It’s in one of the premier wine regions of France, the Côte d’Or, famous for its pinot noir. We’d also made arrangements for our friends from Ventura, Bill and Nancy Vaniotas to join us there. They had spent a couple of weeks in England and a couple days in Paris and would be spending a few days with us.

As luck would have it, we showed up just around noon to find the hireboat that occupied the premier spot moving on after their midday meal and we were able to once again get the best mooring on the bank.

Views from the mooring.

The canal in front of us.

Bill and Nancy wouldn’t be arriving until Wednesday so we had plenty of time to reacquaint ourselves with the beautiful countryside.

This house in town had a most beautiful display.

Wednesday we got a text from Bill and Nancy saying they were in the nearby town of Chagny and would be arriving in the Santenay station in around a half hour. It was just a ten minute walk from the boat to the station so we headed out to meet them. Unfortunately when changing trains in Chagny, they got on the one headed in the opposite direction but realized it very quickly and got off. It was just a 15 minute taxi ride from Mersault (another name the wine experts among us will recognize) to Santenay.

This is the train Bill and Nancy should have been on.

Since it was later in the afternoon, we decided to stay Thursday so we could do a little more walking around the countryside and head out further down the canal on Friday.

Ready for the evening meal.

I think Bill was just starting to say “cheese!”

The original plan had been to take two easy days to get from Santenay to Chalon sur Saone where Bill and Nancy would leave us but Thursday was a holiday (Ascension Day) and the French had decided to make it a four day weekend. When Nancy tried to book train tickets to Basel, their next stop, for Sunday, she found no seats available. That meant they would have to travel on Saturday and we’d have to make the 25 k to Chalon on Friday.

It wasn’t really a problem as the first lock wasn’t for 4 k so we could leave at 8:30 am and arrive at that lock a little after it opened at 9 am. 11 locks later we arrived at the last lock on the Canal du Centre, the giant Crissey ecluse, at 10.76 meters deep, one of the deepest locks in France.

We came from up there!

The door begins to open out onto the end of the Canal du Centre

By 3:45 we were tied up on the nice new mooring pontoon on the Saone in Chalone sur Saone.

1 comment:

  1. It looks wonderful, you two. Fine weather, great faring, super deep locks. That’s what gets the heart pumping, isn’t it?


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