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, 2 June 2016

28th - 31st May 2016. Down the River Seine to The Arsenal in Paris. We saw the Notre Dame Cathedral, L'Arc de Triomph, the Eiffel Tower, Jardin des Tuileries and Musée d'Orsay, before heading out of Paris on to the Canal de L'Ourcq, to escape the floods.

Our last night on the Seine was on a houseboat mooring, in a suburb of Paris, Athis-Mons. The people on the next door barge were very friendly.
As the Marne joins the Seine, in Paris, there is a large Chinese restaurant, right on the junction. The weather has not been kind to us today.

We rose up three metres from The Seine in the lock at the Arsenal. Remember this measurement!



Having been given a temporary mooring, outside two barges, we set off to see some of Paris, before the rain comes. The Bastille Monument is quite near to the North end of the Arsenal port.

Crossing over to the Île de la Cité, the Palais de Justice lies ahead to the right. There are a great many trip boats of all sorts on The Seine in Paris.



The Notre-Dame Cathedral also lies on this island in the middle of the river. Can you spot Andy among those in front of the building?


The carvings on the frontage are truly wonderful.



Once we are inside, we continue to be impressed by this building.

As there is a service in progress, we are all in silence, and this creates a terrific atmosphere in the cathedral. The singing of the congregation is lovely too.


This is part of a frieze, which has been carved to tell the full story of the life of Jesus.
Outside the Cathedral, there was a large marquee with an exhibition to celebrating local breadmaking. All the ovens were in use, with baguettes being produced en masse.

Just over the road was a very moving exhibition in a museum which told the story of the deportation, mainly of Jews, from France to concentration camps during the Second World War. The numbers involved are quite horrifying.

Back at The Arsenal, we have now moved The Puzzler to her proper mooring, here on the right, outside another barge. It is much easier to get to the dockside here.


On Monday it rained all day! We are using the metro instead of walking everywhere today! The Arc de Triomphe is our first visit.

There is quite a strong police presence in Paris at the moment as the city is still on terrorist alert. We are all out of the rain here under the Arc de Triomphe.
Next stop is the Eiffel Tower, reaching up to those clouds, which seem very close today. We walked on across the Seine from here, to walk on the South bank, then back to the Jardin des Tuileries. Perhaps it was the weather, but neither of these impressed us very much. Jardin does imply some display of flowers, rather than empty flower beds!

On Tuesday we went to the Musée d'Orsay, as it had been recommended as being more manageable than the Louvre. We only had to queue for half an hour in the constant rain to get in!

Once inside, we were impressed by the fine structure of the building. There are rooms displaying both art and sculptures which lead off the main hall, at all levels.
This was our favourite picture here at the Musée d'Orsay. It is by Eugène Bernard (1850 – 1921) and is of Peter and John hurrying to the sepulchre on the morning of the Resurrection. The two disciples are so real in it.

Van Gogh is well represented here in the Musée d'Orsay, and Starry Night seems to be everyone's favourite, judging by the crowds who want to see it.

Apparently Claude Manet had his own lily pond, so that he could concentrate on this, for many of his famous canvases. This one is called Water Lilies in Pink Harmony.
Meanwhile, back at the port, the River Seine has risen by over three metres, and is now on a level with the full lock at the Arsenal. As it could well be still rising, we decide to leave by the “back door” at the other end of the port!

This 2 kilometre long tunnel leads us through to the canals of Paris. It does not look very inviting, but we are expected at the first lock at the far end of it.
There are four double locks to go up, to reach the next level, and our lock keeper obviously wants us through as fast as possible, with every paddle up to fill each lock! Carrying on up the canal, we are now on the Canal de L'Ourcq, and stopped, without incident, for the night in the suburbs of Paris. With this amount of rain, we would be very unlucky to have any trouble at all!

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