Melun was left on Monday the 6th of July, 8:30AM. Three quarters of an hour later we entered the first lock, named ‘Vives Eaux’ – which could be interpreted as a biblical name. Anyway, the old and somewhat rusty weir next to the lock is to be replaced by a brand-new, and automated, one. The old weir ('barrage') is visible in the foreground, the new one in the background.
It’s clearly visible here that the parts of the weir to be replaced are kept in position by steel cables. The water is almost crystal-clear. Looking at water, or fire, is never boring we think. We felt secure again after we had descended the lock and cruised at a safe distance!
The distance by river from Melun to Paris’ Arsenal is some 58 kilometers (over 36 miles) and in it are 6 locks, the entrance-lock towards l’Arsenal included. It’s too much for one day and for some reason we do not fancy the only decent marina on the way, the Port aux Cerises at Draveil. We decided to cut the distance in half and to have an overnight stop in front of the lock ‘Evry’, after cruising 28,5 kilometers (18 miles), 2 locks included. We moored facing upstream at 2:42PM; the weir-construction next to the lock visible in the background. As the engine was on 2.003,7 hours and the oil and its filter should be changed at 2.000 hours we duly executed this somewhat filthy task there and then. It’s also visible that ‘les pompiers’ are playing with their equipment. Because of the extreme temperature it was very tempting to ask them to aim at us…
The largest one of the (double-)locks ‘Evry’ is being rebuilt, as proven by this picture…
… and this picture proves that it’s always the same: according to the information next to the building-site the job should be completed in June 2015. July 2015, however, is well on its way and the construction-period isn’t nearing the end yet. We bet that the budget will be exceeded too – not too much hopefully.
The next day, Tuesday the 7th we started at 9:43AM and completed our journey into Paris, Port de l’Arsenal. Four locks were negotiated, three descending, one ascending into the port. We moored at 2:52PM after a bit of panic when leaving the last lock and the engine did, not for the first time, not react to the combined fuel-gearbox-lever. That’s especially frightening on a river, but almost equally frightening when approaching other boats and unable to ‘use the breaks’. All went well – and we contacted an engineer immediately.
Paris’ Port de l’Arsenal is not only hugely popular with boats –which of course is reflected in the harbour’s mooring fees- but with walkers and sight-seeing people alike. That makes for a lively and colourful picture. We were moored in the far background, left, close to the Seine-entrance of the port.
Our son and his lovely girl travelled on Wednesday the 8th from St. Pancras International, London, by Eurostar-train. They arrived at Paris’ Gare du Nord and are visible here – at least for the ones who know them! We had looked forward to have them on board for six nights. It’s their only holiday this year, so slightly less than our own, permanent, holiday.
In the past we have publishe pictures and written about Paris on more than one occasion. Therefore we thought: what to do this time (and, possibly, in the future)? So we’ll try to deviate from the past. Just a bit, that is. Here’s a view of a crowded outdoor café-area somewhere in Paris’ neighborhood Le Marais. It is really hot for already a long period, even at night, so all outdoor cafés are popular till late at night.
A lovely candy shop in Rue Saint Louis en l’Ile - situated, you already guessed it, in the centre of L’Ile Saint Louis. Imagine someone telling you that his/her occupation is ‘sucrecuitier’. That must have to do with something sweet, isn’t it?
Another front of a shop in Le Marais this time, most likely Rue des Rosiers, the centre of Paris’ Jewish community. This one looks less prosperous than the one of the picture before. What we like is the sense of humour of the exploiter. Although it’s obvious that the days as a hairdresser’s shop are long gone by he/she has decided not to touch the façade.
At the Place des Vosges and the adjacent streets a lot of art-dealers and their shops are to be found. Oh, imagine we'd have a big house as well as an equally sized wallet! For more than one reason we are forced to just gaze at all the beauty that’s on display. We absolutely adored this one. There was more. Much more.
Europcar obviously is busy creating a distinct profile for themselves. This small van was parked along one of Paris’ streets. The woman smiled and acted as if no one was able to observe her…
This is a real serious one! According to this bill, glued onto all dustcarts, Paris' refuse collecting service has to deal annually with 350 tons of cigarette-butts. (Cigar-butts are a discriminated minority.) Three-hundred-and-fifty tons!! It has to be said that France is a country of smokers and that the majority does not seem to care about what happens because of the butts. (We leave the dog poo-problem aside. For now.)
Close to the Notre Dame we spotted this Citroën 2CV. ‘Deux chevaux’ the French would say. In dazzling orange. Very appealing to a Dutch native, one can imagine. Later on we saw the same car at the Place des Vosges again. It could be privately rented for a tour of Paris. We preferred to walk.
We discovered that the square in front of the Notre Dame, formerly known as Place du Parvis-Notre-Dame, is named after Pope John-Paul II as well. That was, not without controversy, done in 2006 – a year after his death. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parvis_Notre-Dame_%E2%80%93_place_Jean-Paul-II.
All pictures of Paris were made on the 11th – a Saturday, la capitaine’s birthday as well. All days other than the weekend-days we were ‘chained’ to our little ship – after all an engineer might arrive (‘j’arrive’ – not). Even on the 14th of July, a national French day, we were unable to go out during the day for this reason. We had waited for days since the 7th and not a lot of progress had been made; the engine/fuel-problem still remained unsolved. Therefore here’s the view of the ‘Colonne de Juillet’ in the centre of the Place de la Bastille, as seen from our spot in the port. For more see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_Column. The column is proudly decorated with a load of French national flags.
Quatorze Juillet 2015
The Port de l’Arsenal is a continuation of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, more or less to the south-east of it. On the 14th of July there’s a military parade on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, airoplanes of all sorts being a part of it. Therefore all the airoplanes fly exactly over the Port de l’Arsenal as well. Indeed, so far as the airoplanes were concerned, there was no need to abandon ship! We missed the first group, being ‘La Patrouille de France’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrouille_de_France). They were just too fast. We were able, however, to make short videos of the planes that followed. Here an AWACS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_early_warning_and_control) Boeing 707 is passing, accompanied by three Mirages. (We think. Or three Rafales.)
Cruising the Seine
On the 15th our technical problem seemed to be sorted – at long last. So we left Paris on Thursday the 16th at 10:15AM after having paid an eye watering mooring-fee. Well, one’s in Paris isn’t it – if only mainly in the Port de l’Arsenal! A short video of what the experience is when cruising the Seine and having glorious weather at the same time is what is shown here: approaching the prettiest among the pretty, being the bridge Pont Alexandre III, in all its glory with the Tour Eiffel in the background – seemingly stately walking with us. The regrettable thing is that we were unable to offer this to our visitors – they had to leave us the day before…
The centre-piece of the Pont Alexandre III in detail (and the top of the Tour Eiffel). There’s absolutely no backlog when maintenance of this sort of monuments in France’s capital is at stake. Rightfully so!
As the crow flies Rueil-Malmaison is not that far away from Paris’ centre. It took us, however, 6,5 hours of carefree cruising on the meandering river, 2 locks (one de-, the other ascending) included, before we reached this destination for the day. Distance when using the river: 46 kilometers (almost 29 miles). We have to admit that we are not racing – far from it. As this picture shows we still need a parasol. The heat wave refuses to back down.
Rueil-Malmaison was left behind on Friday the 17th at 9:40AM. Already after half an hour we descended the lock at Bougival and continued our journey full of optimism. And then, yes, the rattling/trembling of the engine reoccurred. Only short though, so one tends to think it is just an illusion. Before reaching Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where the river Oise joins the Seine, we decided to cruise on towards Pontoise. (On Facebook we’ve indicated to live in Saint-Ouen-l'Aumône for a change. It’s the same as Pontoise, only separated by the river.) When cruising upstream on the river Oise the rattle/tremble increased and we were not pleased – to say the least. So after having moored up for the night – see the picture- having negociated one more ascending lock and a six-hours journey we had to call the engineer again. When writing this –Saturday the 18th- we await in desperation what’s next. It’s week-end, reason why we have to wait until coming Monday and possibly beyond. We’re fed up with it, to be honest. Hopefully better news next week. Fingers crossed!