Montereau-Fault-Yonne - Moret s/Loing

Where were we again? Oh yes, at Montereau-Fault-Yonne, where L’Yonne and La Seine merge. We left Montereau on Tuesday the 16th of June at 9:37AM. On the Seine there was only one lock to negotiate – a luxury. (Which by no means suggests that we dislike locks!) After some 13,5 kilometers (almost 8,5 miles) we left the Seine again at Saint-Mammès to cruise Le Loing upstream for almost 2 kilometers (1,25 miles). We moored at lovely Moret-sur-Loing where we lived during the 2012/13-winter, our ‘rookie-winter’ in France.

The railway bridge is obscured on the first picture by the trees. Not here however. This is the stunningly coloured view from the rear of our ship around sunset – being after 10:00PM at this time of the year.

For several weeks we could hear an annoying tremble coming from our engine room. (When the engine was running that is, or we might have thought of a haunted engine room.) We had looked everywhere more than once, felt if parts were touching, listened from different angles and drawn the wrong conclusions – in short: nothing helped. To be frank, it caused a worrying feeling and, thus, a diminished pleasure while cruising. After all we were, and will be, cruising on rivers and one wants to be sure of one’s equipment – less so on canals. After arriving at Moret we asked la capitaine, the lovely Madame Lorette Levis, if she could recommend a trustworthy engineer. She gave us the telephone number of Monsieur Carlos Lopez and after inspecting he immediately discovered this broken part, supporting the fuel-system. We never noticed the crack! It’s welded now, reinstalled and hopefully we’ll be saved from both annoying and worrying sounds when we cruise again – which will be tomorrow, Tuesday the 30th of June.

Our brother (in-law for the male part of the two of us) and sister-in-law are on holiday by motor-bike in France. They catched up with us on Tuesday the 23th and had an overnight stop on board of our floating home. The next day they left again to discover more of France by bike. In case you wonder whether we’re jealous? Just a tiny bit… (We fondly remember our own biking-era.) Well, you can’t have it all.

Of course we had a walk into picturesque Moret with our family-members. On the way we saw this fly-fisher in full action. It’s only a few hundred meters upstream from where we are moored, roughly halfway our current position and the bridge, see the 13th picture. It’s clear that the river is no longer navigable here, hence the fork leading towards Le canal du Loing, its first lock visible on the 7th picture. (The man made us think of the movie ‘A river runs through it’. If you didn’t see it, we suggest you repair this omission. It’s a moving, poignant story decorated by Montana’s stunningly beautiful countryside.)

We have to do it: one more time a picture of the now peaceful river Loing with the mill in the middle of it and Moret-sur-Loing in the background, prominently featuring the Notre-Dame church.

Here’s the first lock, leading from/into Le Canal du Loing. The Dutch owned and exploited hotel boat ‘Fleur’ (yes, that’s French!) has descended the lock and is just about to leave it. A consequence of the measurements of the locks on a lot of the waterways is the size of the ships. See It’s clearly visible here that it fits exactly – we won’t say to the millimeter, but it’s certainly a matter of centimeters.

‘Fleur’ for a second time, now closing in on its overnight mooring next to us. There are not a lot of guests visible (yet), as the majority of them travels from one overnight stop to the next by bike. Biking alongside a canal of river is a pleasure, especially when the weather-conditions are like they are now. Furthermore the only differences in level are met when passing a lock, so almost anybody can do it. There are two reasons to show you this ship, being (a) it’s a big girl, around 39 meters (130 feet) long and over 5 meters (around 17 feet) wide and (b) the captain –just visible- is a woman. She had no easy job because her only means of checking the position of the sides of the ship is by mirrors on either side of where she stands – oddly angled, to the front. She did it flawlessly.

Friday the 26th Mme Lorette and her staff organized a picnic (‘pique-nique’). The port provided for snacks and drinks; visitors were supposed to bring their food to share. The weather was, again, gorgeous.

There’s not a lot more to say about this picture other than that it was a pleasure to be there. At long last we felt what one must feel when being part of those hours-long eating parties outside as shown in summery French or Italian movies.

Of course there was music too. Lorette and the male half of yours truly are singing, well, not exactly a duet but ‘ensemble’ in any case. After a few drinks one tends to become less reserved…

Initially an arrangement was made for being in Moret-sur-Loing for 7 nights. We were, however, forced to stay longer because we had to wait for the return of the engineer who had fallen ill, so arranged for another week – until Tuesday the 30th. The space we occupied was, nevertheless, booked by another ship as from Saturday the 27th. By pulling out all the stops Lorette was able to offer us a space for the last three nights at the other end of the port. ‘Tant pis’ the French would say – we are happy here at any space.

Our ‘new’ view, this time as seen from the front of our current position. We still remember what it all looked like during the winter. It’s so much nicer now!

Yesterday morning, the Sunday, some 15 rowing double-fours with coxes passed us, going upstream. Five of them are visible here – and a few ducks. It made for a real lovely picture. We’ve never seen them back, so their boats were either lifted out of the water in front of the, just visible, bridge or lifted over the weir just behind the bridge to continue rowing further upstream. We think the latter, as both current and weir are low, in speed as well as height.

Sunday the 28th, the fifth and final day of the 36th ‘Festival Django Reinhardt’. We already wrote about the man in Week 36 of 2014 ‘Meaux – Samois-sur-Seine’. Look and listen (again) if you like: Seeing and hearing him playing his guitar is close to a miracle, especially when taking into account his handicap.

Walking to the train station Moret – Veneux-les-Sablons. Taking the train to Avon-Fontainebleau. After that the free shuttle to the festival terrain. It was a smooth operation – and hot one too. We were lucky to find two chairs under shady trees, as this picture shows. The trees that are baking in the sun in the distance are all on the opposite (right-)bank of La Seine. The festival takes place on an island in front of the left bank.

o show you reader how popular the festival is here’s a picture of the grandstand behind where we were seated, without trees. The organizers, however, have the open space thoughtfully covered.

36th Festival Django Reinhardt - Biréli Lagrène Gypsy Project

We had hoped for a lot of music in Django Reinhardt’s spirit. Alas, starting 4:00PM we have been looking and listening to successively a big band, a trio playing professionally but sluggish, another trio playing, we think, a very sophisticated kind of modern jazz and finally Biréli Lagrène Gypsy Project. The latter sounded like a promising name – and it proved to be excellent. So here’s an example of his Django Reinhardt-like dexterity, clearly visible when we zoom in on him. We skipped the finalizing band after this one, their music described by a French festival-goer as ‘disco music’ (we agreed) and preferred to have a walk around the festival-terrain. After having bought some food and drinks we returned home around 11:00PM. We’d typify the festival with the words ‘hardly adequate’ because we expected music in Django Reinhardt’s style for a major part. It was, in this respect, a bit of a disappointment. That was it for the last two weeks. Au revoir!