Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Up the Lateral a la Loire - May 6-10

 We’ve been up a down this section of canal 4 times, twice just last year, so we weren’t interested in dawdling. We’ve visited the small villages and stayed in many of the haltes along the way so we decided to just make some kilometers, although there was one stop we wanted to make. 

Last year we moored in the basin below the double lock at Guetin to make a return trip to the village of Apremont sur Allier and its chateau and garden. This year we stopped so we could spend the afternoon cycling over to the Beck d’Allier, where the Allier meets the Loire, and then on to the village of Cuffy. 

Along the way we saw a water tower that had been “repurposed.”

Stop me if you’ve heard this before but Cuffy is very old, originating in Gallo-Roman times with the usual 12th century church and old homes. While cycling through the village we say a sign for “medieval ruins” and followed it up the hill.

A track through the forest took off to the right.

Following it we came upon the ruins of the 14th century moat and fortifications, located on the highest point of ground around.

A message board showed what the fortification, surrounded by a moat, looked like in the 1400’s. Much of it is still there although in an advanced state of disrepair.

What started out as a beautiful day quickly turned stormy and we beat it back to the boat, only getting slightly wet in the process.

Friday was a long day; 42 kilometers and about 7 1/2 hours underway to get to a mooring we have used every time we’ve been by, just outside the Decize marina on the canal bank. There is a grocery store just a few minutes away and the wine and fresh vegetable stock was getting perilously low.

We pulled in just in front of a beautiful Dutch sailing tjalk, De Jonge Eva, and met the owners Jaap and Jennie. Shortly after, another, bigger tjalk pulled in. Three Dutch barges in a row! It turned out that Jaap and Jennie had sailed with the owners of Gerrigje 40 years ago and hadn’t seen them since.

Sunday morning the two tjalks left but we decided to stay another day and do some laundry and reconnect with Phillippe and Pierette on Dream’s Rivers. We met them in the H2O boatyard in 2015 while we were slaving away on Oldtimer’s underwater parts and they were completing work on their boat. We had seen them in passing last year but weren’t able to connect. Some wine was consumed and we practiced our French. Phillippe speaks pretty good English and Pierette understands most of it.

Monday morning we were off to our next stop, Beaulon; a nice basin 31 k away that we shared with several other boats and camping cars. We were also in constant communication with Roger and Carmen Dowling, Aussies on Beauregard who we haven’t seen since 2019 and were headed our way from Roanne. I think there’s another party in our future!


  1. Can imagine how it would have been in 1400

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    2. Sorry, having comment trouble.
      We visited a project in 2018 where they are building a replica chateau using the original methods. It's fascinating. Read about it here


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