Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

More of the Rhone, June 23-30

 There is room for two boats on the pontoon outside La Roche de Glun, just 8 k and 1 hour south of Tournon. There was already a Dutch sailboat there so we pulled in behind them and tied up. We explained to them that we were not being antisocial but quarantining and they understood completely.

The river splits at La Roche, one section leading to a barrage and the other down the channel to the Valence lock. That leaves a large open area for the sailing club to make use of their small boats.

The pontoon is just left of center

I was feeling a little better and Cathy Jo was feeling no symptoms so Friday we put on our masks and took a little walk around town. It turns out one of the most famous women in France, Diane de Poitiers was born near here in 1500. She went on to become King Henry II’s royal mistress and most important advisor. She was also responsible for the construction and renovation of a couple of the magnificent Loire Valley chateaus we visited over the years. There is a tower named after her in La Roche.

On our walk around the area on Friday we had noticed a big fruit orchard with the fruit falling off the trees. Saturday morning Cathy Jo went on a bike ride and found the growers fruit stand. They were selling 2 kilo barquettes of apricots for €3. Since there was no way we could eat 4 1/2 pounds of apricots, Cathy Jo managed to talk them into selling her just half of the container. Nothing like just-off-the tree ripe apricots.

The view back upriver from our back deck.

By Sunday I was feeling much better and Cathy Jo was still experiencing no symptoms so we set off downriver for our next stop, another medieval village about 50k and 3 locks away, Cruas. The entrance was a challenge with the entrance buoy system not matching up with our charts. We had to make a cross-current approach into a very narrow entrance. Once we got tied up and our hearts stopped pounding, we headed into the village, masked, of course.

The old village is dominated by the Abbatiale Saint-Marie from the 11th and 12th centuries and the ruins of the Chateau des Moines.

Part of what’s left of the chateau

Monday morning it was just 20 k to our next stop, another medieval village, Viviers. Just before we left, I used one of our Covid self-tests.

We’re going to have a baby!

No, I’m just negative for Covid

The last inhabitant of the old part of Viviers moved out in the 1950’s. The city has since taken over the old quarter and is making slow progress at restoring it. We found the town very pleasant and stayed a couple of days.

The Saint Vincent Cathedral, originally constructed around 1100

 and destroyed and remade many times since then, looks out over town

Looking back over the old village from the church porch

While in port, our neighbors were Nigel and Jean from Wales with their Greenline boat, Jackavance, a hybrid. While they have two diesel engines, they can also move along on electric power. A very interesting system. It also turned out that they were neighbors with another Welsh couple we met back in the Odysseus days. Roger and Peggy on Pogue ma Hone were the source of much hilarity back in the day. It’s a very small boating world.

Wednesday we headed out to an isolated mooring, just a quay on the river near the town of Roquemaure. Tied up about 2:30 we immediately headed into town. We had been alerted to a Côtes du Rhône wine coop and wanted to see what it was about. 

26 growers provide their grapes to the coop and they sell it by the bottle, box and en vrac. Bring your own jug.

The boxes on the wall are 5 liters and sell for about €15-20. The bags are 3 liters. The rouge she is pumping is €1.70 a liter for the everyday wine, €2.70 for the good stuff. We bough one of the 5 liter boxes of red and one of rosé. 

As mentioned, the mooring is just a cement quay on the river with a couple of rings. We got bounced a bit by the cruise ships going by but the view made it worth it.

The view right out our window across the river.

Thursday morning it was off to Avignon and its famous bridge.


  1. (Ian M) Such great content - going to (hopefully) be invaluable for us next year. Looks to be an exciting and fascinating voyage. Do keep an eye out for what we can't do at 20 m that you can at your length. Still waiting for our lift out, but scheduled soon. Now going to winter at Toul and start south from there next season. Good to hear COVID didn't slow you much and good luck and smooth cruising.

    1. Many of the marinas we stopped in would be unavailable for your size. You especially wouldn't want to try Cruas! Booking ahead would probably help at the larger marinas. The free places (like Roquemaure) you just have to get lucky, which we have been. There's just not that much plaisance traffic this time of year. Also, there are pontoons at all of the locks that are available with the permisssion of the eclusier.
      It's been a beautiful trip and not at all stressful but you really have to watch the weather, especially the wind.


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