These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine 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 and 2017, returning to Roanne each winter.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

22nd May - 28th May. Moving quickly on down the Yonne to Pont-sur-Yonne, then Montereau where we join the Seine, and continue downstream.

We did not move again until Tuesday, as it was just too wet! The river is now running fast, and beside each lock, the water thunders through the barrage. You would not want to fall in above that!
This cat came to the lock for a drink when it was full, but the eclusier walked past, and frightened her. However, as soon as the lock emptied, she came right down the steps into the lock for her drink.
We stopped in Sens for lunch, planning to get diesel there, but the pump was not available. Our water hose was not long enough to reach the tap, so we had to top up the tank by the bucketful! We moved on to Port-sur-Yonne, where the church is under extensive repair. There was just room for us on the jetty.

Five minutes later, Tim arrived with Randal, which is a hotel boat from the Nivernais, so he moored outside The Puzzler. We spent a pleasant evening together on Randal.

The barges seem to get bigger and bigger! We are waiting for him to exit the lock before we can go down.
There are no sliding floating bollards in the last three locks on the Yonne, so we are floating in the middle of the lock, so as to avoid the sloping sides. Usually it is obligatory to tie up in locks, but this is easier and safer, for going down a lock.

This is a lovely rural mooring, just on the edge of the village of Cannes-Ecluse. We found some elderflowers for our annual elderflower cordial.
Moving on to Montereau, we found Diana and Chris, and had a very pleasant lunch together on Esme. Joining the Seine, we pushed on to St. Mammès, and were relieved to find fuel at the bunker station there. Having heard that all the French refineries are blockaded, it had been of some concern that the fuel might have run out before we arrived.

Some of the houses alongside the River Seine could have come straight out of a fairytale.

On this part of the Seine, there are many residential barges along the banks. Apparently many of these are the homes of retired barge owners.

This prison dominates the landscape on the approach to Melun.

We had to wait before lock 4 for barge Navis and double barge Enola Gay to enter the lock. There was plenty of room for The Puzzler too, as these locks are huge.
Three kilometres after this lock we turned off the river into a small lake, which has moorings for boats of maximum length 10 metres, with a depth of 0.8 metres. It was perfect, with an end of jetty which was just the right length for The Puzzler. There was good walking around the lake, and Shannon enjoyed her first swim for a long time. She was also delighted to get away from the barges, with the wash they create.


  1. Hi. We are going to France soon in our caravan and are also having a week on a Le Boat cruising the Canal du Rhône au Rhin through Strasbourg. I was wondering if you have been that way? I know you have been to Besancon as I remember your photos. They were so lovely that we are staying there for a few days on our way.

    Linda Gifford-Hull
    nb Mary H

  2. No, we did not go that way. We just went on nearly to the summit of that canal, but then turned back, to head down the Saone and west on the Canal du Centre.