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.


Thursday, 1 October 2015

28th - 30th September,2015. On to Auxerre, then we join the Canal du Nivernais to sail on to the Cave at Bailly, where sparkling wine is made.

The next main town up the river Yonne is Auxerre, where the cathedral is also called St Etienne. This can be seen from afar, surrounded by other churches.



This is the main entrance of the cathedral.


These fantastic carvings are over the doorway. There is such detail in them.


This cathedral was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Joan of Arc stopped here to pray in 1429 and St. Patrick of Ireland was trained in Auxerre by St. Germain. This is the highest roof which we have seen in any of the cathedrals which we have visited.

Walking through the town of Auxerre is a real step back in history, with wooden wall sections and tiles too, decorating the house fronts.


This 15th century clock tower has a double dial, showing the movements of the sun and the moon during the day on one side, and the hours on the other.


From Auxerre we sailed on to join the Canal du Nivernais, which is really a continuation of the river Yonne to start with, with canal sections.



Once again we can see vineyards on the hillsides.
At Bailly we went to the Cave of Bailly Lapierre, which is a wine cellar inside the hillside, so it really is a cave! This was once an underground quarry, from which came the stones for many great cathedrals, including Auxerre.
We did the guided tour, which was very interesting, and was good for our French! There are 5 million bottles in these caves, all at different stages of maturity.
From 1993 Caves Bailly Lapierre held an annual sculpture exhibition, for ten years, with visitors voting to decide the winner, who was then invited to produce a work carved directly into the rock. This one is The Riverboat, which represents a boat which plied between Auxerre and Paris.


The view over the river Yonne from just outside the cave was worth the climb to get up there!

The small village of Bailly, down by the river, is very quaint. There was an art exhibition in the chapel, of pictures painted by Hosotte. He has done some lovely scenes in oils, but sadly photography was forbidden.

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