Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Underway, April 28-May 5

 Saturday was laundry day and Sunday, May Day, was a big vide grenier, when everybody gathers in the market square to sell their stuff, socialize, eat sausage with baguette and frites and drink beer and wine. The whole square was filled with sellers, buyers and lookers.

Monday morning at the crack of 9:30 we were off into our first lock of the year. Peter helpfully provided this picture of me doing my usual lock thing.

Our first stop was Bellville, just a little further than our usual Beaulieu stop. When we stopped there for the lunch closure last year we found a good boulangerie just steps from the mooring. Unfortunately it has closed and been replaced by one of those bread machines. We did not indulge.

Next stop was the goat farm, La Bête Noire, that we stopped at last year on the way back to Briare. A really nice quiet mooring and we get to stock up on the delicious crottins de chavinol. The have a very nice exhibit that describes the entire cheese making process from goat to store.

Part of the farm viewed from the mooring.

Not in the picture are the rabbits, chickens

and donkeys that live behind the fences.

Oldtimer on the mooring.

Milking goats

The good stuff in the drying room.

Right before we left, Cathy Jo hitched a ride with Peter and Sarah for the last grocery shopping. When she returned she remarked how the cooking oil isle was empty. The next day we read about the cooking oil shortage being caused by the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile in this area of France, vast fields of beautiful yellow flowers are on the French equivalent of canola, called colza. The seeds will be harvested and pressed for the oil.

Next stop was the very pretty mooring in the village of Cours les Barres. There is a good boulangerie just a few steps from the mooring. A young couple seem to be the bakers, always a good sign.

Thursday morning it was just a couple of hours and one lock to our next stop, the basin below the Guetin staircase locks. We got there early so we could do a little bike riding over to the Bec d’ Allier where the Allier meets the Loire and the beginning of the bike trail that leads from here to the sea.

Oh, and I realized I never posted a picture of Oldtimer’s newest addition.


  1. Great to see you off and cruising. Lots of great information here already that, hopefully, we might use even this season. So, we should pack some bottles of cooking oil in our luggage? Goodness me! Perhaps we'll go French and just cook in butter - surely that's still available? 8-)

    1. Sorry, could not get blogger to log me in - it's Ian!

    2. Hi Ian,
      Yes, plenty of butter. And the good stuff, too.
      I had the same commenting problem and discovered I had to downgrade the security options on my browser for Blogger before it would let me comment. Probably something to do with cookies.

  2. Sounds like you’re having good times. Thanks for the tip off about the Belleville boulangerie! - Sara and Pete

  3. A lovely start to your cruising season, Don and Cathy Jo! Yes, sunflower oil is in short supply everywhere over here, but olive oil is available. It looks like you're having a beautiful sunny start to your travels south!


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