Joigny - Villeneuve-sur-Yonne

Last week we ended with a picture of our mooring-spot in Joigny. That one looked slightly gloomy because of the overcast. Here’s a more cheerful one because of the sunny conditions. Blue sky, vineyards partly lighting up and Joigny and its bridge make for a picturesque view. Even our little ship is visible – though hardly.

Joigny is a real interesting and pretty little town for a walk. The charming streets are going up from the river…

…and of course going down to it as well. It all depends on the chosen direction, obviously.

When we visited Joigny for the first time, reflected in Week 14 – 2013 (Moret-Migennes), we discovered a shop-window displaying a chasuble. That shop, or at least its window, was nowhere to be found this time. Instead we found a shop-window displaying an almost antique Mobylette, the name being a contraction of ‘mobile’ and ‘bicyclette’, built by Motobécane since 1949 during some 35 years. This must be one from the fifties of last century, with a framework of hollow pipes, an enlarged fuel tank and a headlight no longer fitted on top of the front mudguard. The Mobylette and the Solex (VéloSoleX) (1946-1988) became the most popular two-wheelers in France from the sixties through the nineties.

Brasserie ‘Du Pont’ where we bought some local wine (Bourgogne Côte Saint-Jacques, version Pinot Gris) and had dinner later that day. Our attention was attracted by the outdoor café, carefree using the public narrow street. That’s only possible in France! They appear to park their cars everywhere -which seems to be permitted, providing all indicators are flashing- so why not have an outdoor café in the street as well?

When sitting outside a brasserie, in this case the one as shown by the picture before this one, one observes the things to be seen. We were amazed by this roof, or rather the dormer-window. It happens often that houses, roofs, buildings in general, are not right-angled like, say, in a country like The Netherlands. The solutions, as found by the French, are sometimes mind-boggling. (‘Where, or how, do you put your furniture inside this building?’) The dormer-window is a masterly example of how to achieve the seemingly impossible.

Inevitably Joigny contains several churches. On top of the hill the town is dominated by L'église Saint-Jean. Others are Saint-Thibault (visible on the right hand side of the first picture of this blog) and Saint-André. We only visited Saint-Jean, partly visible here behind one of the gates of the ancient city wall.

A few pictures of the church’s interior. Here’s the nation-wide honoured Jeanne d’Arc, aka ‘La bonne Lorraine’ or ‘La Pucelle d'Orléans’…

…and a better view of its stunning ceiling, an always admirable organ and the high situated statues of several saints, favourably looking down on us – mere mortals.

As usual the church is equipped with confessional boxes too. Again as usual the confessor sits inside his (no, never: her) closed off box (we resist to speculate about the reason) and the sinner (well…) outside. Therefore the latter is forced to whisper, thus avoiding a fellow sinner to overhear things like ‘I’ve secretly taken out a candy from the candy-box’ – or other crimes of the same nature. New for us were the nameplates, in this case ‘Mr Le Vicaire’ (the curate or chaplain). He’s for the small sins, like described in the sentence before this one…

…unlike the second confessional box, with the nameplate ‘Mr Le Curé’ (the parish priest). This is the one for the ‘real’ sins like, say, adultery. So this one is supposed to be far less busy (is he??) than his junior colleague on the opposite side – as he is supposed to be, both because of his seniority as well as the nature of the crimes the poor man is forced to absorb.

We left Joigny after two nights, on Tuesday the 2nd of June at 10:29AM. For the first time we descended a lock with sloping walls, this one being Ecluse Saint-Aubin, nr 3, depth 3,10 meters (over 10 feet). The lock keeper takes care of more than one lock, the next one being almost 5 kilometers (3 miles) further downstream. We arrived around 11:10AM at the lock but had to wait for an hour before the lock keeper returned from helping two commercials (in ‘pousseur- configuration’) through the lock in front of ours. We had a lunch break while waiting inside the refilled lock and left not earlier than 1:33PM. While descending the muddy lock-walls, included steps unused for ages, become visible. The sliding down floating pontoons are a luxury!

The next lock, Ecluse Villevallier, nr 4, depth 1,94 meters (nearing 6,5 feet), was striking in the sense that we noticed the special way of opening/closing the sluices, being part of the gates. It is done by simply switching a lever from one side to the other and it looks like not a lot of effort is needed to do it – probably thanks to the considerable length of the lever. One wonders why this system is not utilized on a larger scale. This is not the only lock equipped with this system on the river Yonne. We’ve been here before – so by all means a bit of inattention cannot be denied to us!

We moored at Villeneuve-sur-Yonne at 3:58PM, after having been on the way for 5,5 hours – 2,5 hours of waiting before/inside the first lock included. Distance 19 kilometers downstream, 3 locks within them. Our little ship is seen here from the north, behind the weir next to lock nr 6 ‘Villeneuve’.

The same scene, now seen from the bridge, situated at the south from where we are moored. We are behind ‘Archangel’, owned by Tony & Nik Kynaston-Pearson (see their blog: The two ships are created by the same builder, Simon Piper and his team (, ours as a sail-away, theirs as a completely fitted out one.

Our ‘home’ for almost this entire week, now seen from the bank. Just because we like the scene, pretty plane trees being part of it.

The bridge on Saturday the 6th, 6:30AM. The rising sun colours the bridge just beautifully.

What about this for a view, seen from the bridge towards the south? The picture was taken on the day we arrived, Tuesday the 2nd. Already visible on the 14th and 16th picture, the clouds on that day were of a peculiar shape (Cirrus??).

Part of our comment, accompanying a picture of Villeneuve-sur-Yonne made during week 14 in 2013 (Moret-Migennes) was: ‘…we were unable to find anything of beauty or interest in this village.’ How wrong we were. We sincerely apologize, Villeneuve! The town once was surrounded by a wall and a moat. Traces of both are, of course, still visible. The nicest feature, we think, is the infilled –without water, if you like- moat, now used on a large scale as rear gardens by the houses that replace, or are part of, the former town-wall. This is just one example of the numerous pretty gardens on display.

The main street of the town is protected by huge gateways on either side. This is the one on the north, called Porte de Sens (or Porte de Champagne) as opposed to the Porte de Joigny (or Porte de Bourgogne) on the south. Both are fairly similar, so a picture of the prettiest one suffices. We hope to have fully made up, Villeneuve! Au revoir!