Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Off Again, May 7-12

 Kevin Murray, my next guest, is retired from the Australian Air Force. In the air as a navigator, he graduated to more administrative positions, serving in several capacities around the world including military attache. He and friends are considering buying a barge after a narrowboat experience in England and he posted on the Dutch Barge Association forum asking if he could catch a ride for educational purposes and to decide if this was something he really wanted to do. I responded to his post and here we are, two old guys cooped up on a small boat for about 6 weeks. What could possibly go wrong?

Luckily, all has gone very well.

Kevin arrived Monday afternoon a few hours after Tim and Christine’s departure. We used Tuesday to get him moved in and do some instruction on how canal cruising works and set off to the west Wednesday morning. Well, we tried to depart. 

The engine starting batteries are the same one’s that came with the boat when Cathy Jo and I bought it in 2015 and there’s no telling how long they were on the boat before that. They had been acting up a little on the trip to Montauban but Wednesday morning they refused to turn the engine over. I used jumper cable from the house batteries to get Mr. DAF humming and we set off through the first lock to the grocery store pontoon. There is an auto parts store (pieces auto in French) just around the corner from the supermarket. New batteries purchased and galley shelves stocked, off we went after lunch; first stop Moissac.

We stopped in Moissac several times last year but I wanted introduce Kevin to the cathedral and cloister so we stopped a little after 2 pm. and made a visit.

This tableau is in the church.

You can read my description and see pictures of the cloister from last year at

Thursday morning we set off for the 26 K to Valence d’Agen. We visited this town last year by bicycle from Pommevic but there is a small marina in Valence so we were tied up by 1:15 pm.

While preparing this entry I was going to refer back to a posting about our visit to another one of “the most beautiful villages in France”, Auvillar. We cycled there from Pommevic last year, Cathy Jo’s last real cycle ride, but looking back I realized I only made passing reference to it. Thursday afternoon Kevin and I rode there from Valence.

After crossing the canal and the river plain, a bridge crosses the Garonne and the road climbs a steep hill to the village. We locked the bikes up at the bottom of the hill and climbed up.

One of the village streets with typical brick and half-timbered construction.

The very unique round market

One side of the church has seen “remodeling”

The porch near the tourist office gave a great panoramic view of the Garonne valley, including the Golfech atomic power plant.

Touring complete, Friday morning we set out for our next destination, the small city of Agen.


  1. You are in an area I know well, Don. My sister had a house not far from Agen and I visited her a few times as well as friends in Carcassonne. I love Moissac and Valence d'Agen. Such beautiful towns. We went to a marvellous Spectacle in Valence, which was set up along the canal and they used boats for some of the scenes. I don't think I've been to Auvillar, though. It looks very pretty from your photos. I'm so glad you're enjoying the cruising.

    1. Hi Val
      Yes, things are going well most of the time, as you will read further along. I'm going to be spending more time in Agen and as I catch up with the blog there will be more about the city.

  2. Don and Laura took me to Auvillar last year, and we caught the tail end of the the market. The views from that area are truly remarkable.


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