These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, returning to Roanne for a second winter.
Wednesday, 30 September 2015
23rd - 27th September. Better weather, more walnuts, a great Gothic cathedral in Sens, then on through more locks to Cézy.
We continue to collect walnuts from the boat. This is our best “bunch” of eight!
However, we felt that the most impressive part of the cathedral was the 18 metre Great Rose window.
The sun was shining through this window, and the colour was reflected on the huge pillars.
Our own flowers are still quite colourful, as is Andy, as he counts walnuts, which are on the roof of the boat to dry!
The gate paddles here are unusual, as the éclusier (lockkeeper) just pulls a lever to operate them, instead of winding a handle.
Beside each lock, the weir is guarded. There does not seem to be much flow on the river Yonne at present, but this shows that still waters run deep!
We took a detour off the main river to go to this delightful secluded mooring, near to the small village of Cézy.
We sailed past Joigny, but will visit here when we pass this way next spring. It looks to be an attractive town.
Thursday, 24 September 2015
20th - 22nd September. To Moret-sur-Loing, then up the river Seine to Montereau-Fault-Yonne. On to the river Yonne and sloping sided locks
The road into Moret-sur-Loing leads over the bridge and into the town through the town gate. Over to the left can be seen the 12th century church of Pont-Loup.
Unusually, the organ is mounted high up on the wall, inside the church. It is a beautiful church.
This fascinating old building is known as Bon-Saint-Jacques. Pierre Racolet redesigned the exterior in a neoclassical style in 1924, including his own “signature” of a rat in a pot of glue, the symbol of carpenters.
We are going 13 kilometres upstream on the Seine, before joining the Yonne river at Montereau-fault-Yonne.
A splendid bronze statue of Napoleon oversees the bridge at Montereau. This commemorates the French success at the Battle of Montereau, on February 18th 1814, when Napoleon led his men to defeat the Austrians, shouting that the cannon ball which would kill him had not yet been made!
On the other side of the road, this building has been painted with scenes from this battle.
This whole mural really gives an impression of the action then.
The collegiate church of Notre Dame, complete with flying buttresses, dominates the skyline, on the far side of the river Yonne.
It is just as impressive inside, and was built during the 12th to the 16th century.
Looking back to the “halte fluvial” as we leave the town, the rest of the battle of Montereau is painted on the building behind the mooring.
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
16th - 19th September. Map of France. We sail into Montargis and on along the Canal du Loing, picking lots of walnuts and sloes. On past Nemours to Moret-sur-Loing, joining the river Seine to go upstream to Montereau-Fault-Yonne.
The white line shows our route in France since the beginning of June. We are not too far from Paris, but are leaving that visit for next year.
Our next town on the Canal du Loing is Montargis, where the church of the Madeleine dominated this end of town.
These are houses by the canal in Montargis, to show the shutters are open at last, at the end of a hot summer.
Along this stretch of the canal are many walnut trees, and often the best way to harvest them is from the roof of The Puzzler.
As the green husks are just opening, some walnuts are falling, while others are still on the tree.
Further on, we also found some sloes, for making sloe gin. Have we picked too many??
These are Poitou donkeys, and a horse, which have escaped from their field on to the tow path.
The Loing river front is attractive in Nemours, where we stopped for shopping.
Out of town, this is how the other half lives!
Barge Sebastien is empty, so really fills the lock.
We had to change our plans, and bypass an attractive mooring, due to this fallen tree in the canal. Tomorrow this pound is to be closed so that it can be cleared.
Monday, 21 September 2015
12th – 15th September. Up to the summit level of the Canal de Briare, then down again at Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses, and on to Dammarie-sur-Loing, and Montbuoy.
This week has been wetter!
These were the original seven locks, which were a staircase. They were replaced because they created such a bottleneck on the canal.
Five kilometres further on we visited Dammarie-sur-Loing. The war memorial here is rather different as it features a grenadier, throwing a grenade.
The main street here is obviously expecting some boats to come along, considering the line of mooring bollards!
Shannon found a lavoire to be a good place for a paddle!
It is nice to see the sun shining again in Montbuoy by the attractive 11th century church.
Barge Sunny was a tight fit in the lock. He is on his way to Paris.
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
8th - 11th September. A visit to Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre, then up through the vineyards to Sancerre. On to the Briare Aqueduct and the end of the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
We moored in Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre, which has several “caves” where we could taste and buy Sancerre wine. We chose a white wine, which had been grown on a chalk soil.
The vineyards can be seen stretching away in all directions up the hills from Sancerre itself.
This canal is popular with hotel boats, such as this one.
We are nearing the end of the Canal Latéral à la Loire, as we start to cross the Briare Pont Canal.
Looking down, the river Loire can be seen from the aqueduct.