We said goodbye to Montargis on Monday the 21st of April. On an earlier occasion we probably mentioned that in days long gone bye, when transporting goods from the centre of France to the north (mainly Paris), there was only the Canal de Briare to connect both rivers Loire and Seine. From the centre to the north the journey followed La Loire, Le Canal de Briare, Le Loing and finally La Seine. The rivers were unnavigable on many an occasion, eventually leading to constructing Le Canal latéral à la Loire and Le Canal du Loing. This picture shows the spot where the Canal de Briare ends and the ships were forced to use the river Loing to continue their journey. Le Canal du Loing, dug out from 1720 to 1723 and visible on the left side of the picture, did not exist during more than 80 years after the opening of Le Canal de Briare.
The commercial boats, roughly 39 x 5 meters (130 x 16 feet) do their business south from Paris as far as Montargis. This means they cruise Le Canal de Loing and a short part of Le Canal de Briare. Here's the first one we encountered on the Monday…
…and here you can experience yourself what it does look like when everyone is ever so careful.
After the last 3 locks on Le Canal de Briare and 5 on Le Canal du Loing, some 15 kilometers (under 10 miles) and 5 hours of cruising we moored at Nargis. According to our information it was supposed to be an acceptable spot – but we struggled a little bit before we felt comfortable enough to be able to have a peaceful night of sleep.
The lock that is visible on the last picture is, as all the locks in this area, exactly made to measure to let one commercial pass. Also the bridges are high enough to let them pass – one hopes (some commercials put the wheelhouse down). It looks like this when a commercial is leaving a lock and passing underneath a bridge.
The next day, Tuesday 22 April 2014, we started cruising at 8:55AM. The morning sun allows for making this kind of pictures. In the middle of paradise on Le Canal du Loing with the river from which it derives its name next to it.
Spring is… new leafs, flowers and, of course, ducklings. This mom takes care of even twelve! Dad is not to be seen anywhere. He did only the easy part of the job.
Six hours later, after almost 21 kilometers (13 miles) and 7 locks, we reached Nemours. All possible mooring spaces were occupied or unacceptable (shallow) and we had to look extensively for a good place to stay. Eventually we moored on the river –at Nemours Le Loing crosses the canal from the right bank to the left one- next to a commercial quay. Looking at the type of this quay our chains, dating from our English narrowboating-period, came in handy.
We only visited Nemours for a short period. Surely there is more to see than we did. This picture shows its 12th century castle on the bank of the river Loing.
Wednesday the 23th of April 2014. Dawn at Nemours, as seen from the bow of our little ship. One hundred percent peaceful.
That day we had to wait a very long time in front of l’Écluse Épisy. The lock keeper at the lock before this one informed us about a commercial coming towards us (at least that’s what we understood) and that it would delay us about 15 minutes. We never saw anything like a commercial; in fact we did not see any boat at all, nor a lock keeper. After more than half an hour of waiting we were ‘saved’ by a colleague of the misinforming first lock keeper. Fortunately there was a comfortable waiting-spot, bollards included. A heron kept us company.
We reached Moret-sur-Loing, having been on the move (waiting time included) for almost 5 hours, negotiating another 7 locks and bridging close to 18 kilometers. This is the very place where we have had our winter mooring from October 2012 until the beginning of April 2013. It was very nice to meet madame Lorette Levis, la capitaine, again and to socialize with the occupants of two other Piper-built little ships, being Archangel (English couple) and Amarok (American couple). As we are closing in on Paris it gets more crowded, the waterways not excepted. That’s why we breasted up with Archangel. The more people one knows, the better! And a nice couple they are, too.
Here, one more time –see, if you like, last year- Moret’s bridge over the river Loing. It’s Saturday the 26th of April while creating this blog page. Earlier than normal, because today both our grandsons (11 and 8) will arrive shortly and be with us for 6 days. Of course they’ll absorb all our attention during the week ahead of us. We’ll cross Paris with them on board. Exciting! We hope to show it all to you next week.