Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Monday, May 23, 2022

To the Top of the Centre May 9-19

 Back in 2018 while on the Canal du Nivernais in Clamecy, we met Carmen and her son Louis on their newly purchased Locaboat ex-hireboat, Beauregard. Carmen’s husband, Roger, was supposed to be with them but he was tied up in Australia finishing up some business. We ended up meeting them (and Carmen by herself after Louis left) several times along the canal, including at the infamous Fete du Saint Cochon at Lucy sur Yonne. We did finally meet the mystery man Roger at the end of the summer when we had a car and they were on a stopover in Gannay sur Loire. We’ve kept in touch since then, although, being from Australia, they hadn’t been able to visit their boat in over two years. We both also had our first grandchildren during the pandemic.

They kept Beauregard in the Port of Roanne and were planning on making toward Paris so our paths would cross. They had some mechanical problems before leaving but we made plans to get together at the village of Diou at it’s small halte. Right above the elementary school, we had stopped here before. Unfortunately, some of the trees that made the moorings picturesque had been cut down but the kids were still there making their joyful noise.

It’s only 12 k and 3 locks from Beaulon to Diou so we were settled in well before lunch. By evening Beauregard had showed up and the party could begin.

Roger mugging it up for the selfy

Thursday we all cycled up the bike path to the nearby village of Saint Auban sur Loire. 

Our first stop was up the hill to the village chateau. Unfortunately it’s not open so we could only view the expansive grounds from outside the gates.

Next obligatory stop was the village church. The outside of the church is pretty unremarkable but the interior has some 14th century frescos that have been restored.

The church was originally just a chapel built in the 12th century but portions of that construction are still part of the existing churches nave. Extensive work was carried out in the early 1800’s and then it was fully restored throughout the 1900’s.

The ride also gave Cathy Jo and I a chance to try out our new bicycle shorts. 

Nice to have a padded butt for a 15 k ride.

Friday was another cycle day (Carmen is Dutch, after all) and we rode to Dompierre sur Besbre and it’s beautiful riverside park. That evening we all enjoyed a mini Duckapalooza (our friends in Ventura will get the reference), with Cathy Jo displaying her excellent galley skills.

Saturday morning we parted ways, Beauregard to the west and us off to Digoin and the end of the Lateral Canal and onto the Canal du Centre. There is a grocery store reasonably close to the canal and the wine supply had been severly depleted by our stop in Diou.

After that we were at our next stop in time for lunch. We settled in just after the lock at the village of Volsevres. Nothing there, really, just a nice quiet spot. On the way we passed through the pilgrimage town of Paray le Monial. Much to our surprise, there were no boats in any of the moorings there.

Next was Genelard, where we have stayed several times. There is free water and electricity available and there are many more posts with services in the port than there used to be. There used to be just a couple and boats would be stringing electric cord for what seemed like miles.

After a day doing laundry, on Wednesday we headed for Monteceau les Mines. It was pretty warm  and we had noted some shade in our earlier trips, unlike the town marina, which bakes. The stop is close to a busy road and right underneath the cooling tower of the local power plant but the traffic dies down after dark and the plant wasn’t working. I think it’s an old coal plant that’s been shut down.

This image of the mooring from Google Earth was taken in the winter.

Lucky for us, those trees were in full leaf.

Thursday it was 15 k and 9 locks to reach the top of the Canal du Centre just past the town of Montchanin. We stayed here several times before on the canal side in the shade with a lake nearby. It was supposed to be over 30C on Friday so we decided to stay put. We also reconnected with Jaap and Jenny on the tjalk De Jonge Eva that we met in Decize.

 By the lake in the trees

Also, we celebrated the top. From now until we reach the end of the Rhone we’ll be traveling downstream.


  1. Another lovely post, you two. How great that you could reconnect with your friends so soon. It looks as if you’re having some great summery weather. Long may it last!

    1. It was just a little warm for us but it's cooled off a bit now so the weather is about perfect!


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