Montargis - Briare

We left Montargis on Monday the 15th of September 9:40AM. After having ascended 6 more or less clustered together locks we moored at Montbouy at 1:21PM. We have been here before, in week 16, 2014 to be precise. Same spot, different angle.

Tuesday the 16th. Depart 9:25AM, destination Châtillon-Coligny, partly because there’s a certain Dutch historical interest to be found there. We hoped for a mooring spot and felt lucky to find one –the last one for a ship of our size- in front of the capitainerie/bureau de tourisme.

This picture shows a statue of Gaspard de Coligny (1517 (statue) or 1519 (Wikipedia, different languages) - 1572), father of Louise de Coligny (1555 - 1620) – the latter being the fourth wife of William I, prince of Orange (Willem van Oranje), also widely known as William the Silent (Willem de Zwijger). William became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau and the ancestor of the monarchy of The Netherlands.

We hoped to be able to visit Châtillon-Coligny’s castle but it seems to be still privately occupied and not open to the public, symbolized by the bars in the foreground.

At least we were able to make a picture of one of the two remaining towers, once part of the wall around the castle.

Châtillon-Coligny offers some historic buildings. Like this one, the ‘Grenier à Sel’ (Salt Attic) from the XVIth century. It had to do with the ‘gabelle’, a tax on salt. The story is too long to explain what it was all about – but interesting at the same time. So look at Wikipedia

This sign is attached next to the front door of the ‘salt building’. It’s interesting as it uses the measures from the pre-revolution era. Again we use Wikipedia in case there’s a desire to know more:

A building called ‘L’Enfer’ (The Hell). The name derives from a place where taxes were collected in the name of the king. It was a prison, too, and a place where the Protestants, a minority of course, came together.

And here the counterpart called ‘Le Paradis’ (The Paradise). This was the building where the church-taxes were paid. The French are, at least were, religious people.

Châtillon-Coligny’s main street (Rue Jean Jaurès, the man is remembered in numberless towns and villages) offers a few old fashioned facades. This one being the nicest one, we think.

The river Loing is divided into a few little streams in Châtillon-Coligny, offering some charming views.

On Thursday 18 September we resumed our cruising life, starting 9:24 in the morning. We negotiated 6 locks and progressed only 5,5 kilometers (less than 3,5 miles). At 12:15PM we moored up at Dammarie-sur-Loing, the weather still being gorgeous. Meanwhile we were sure to meet a sister (in law) and her husband in Briare (they travel by camper-van), so we made a reservation for three nights in Briare’s port.

Friday the 19th we travelled to Ouzouer-sur-Trézée. It took us only 5 hours and 20 minutes to tackle 12 locks, 6 ascending and 6 descending. We ended the mooring-procedure before 2:00PM to see the ship ‘Kei’ approaching within minutes from the opposite direction. The owner of ‘Kei’ is Colin Stone. Kei is the Dutch word for a type of stone. Got it? One can say that Colin Stone is considered a celebrity in the boating-society as he realized for all of us ship-owners zero-rated VAT in the UK, by challenging the inland revenue, if a ship is an only house, the owner lives permanently on (in?) her and a certain formula provides the right outcome.

‘On schedule’, so to speak, we arrived in Briare on Saturday the 20th of September 2014, 11:09AM. We needed just a few minutes more than 2 hours, 5 locks included, to reach the port where la capitaine, our fellow country-woman Dorothée, had reserved a comfortable space for us. We’ll be here for three nights.

On the Sunday we walked the Pont Canal de Briare, part of the Canal Latéral à la Loire, with our visitors. The views onto the river Loire are really stunning. We’ll cross this aqueduct coming Tuesday by ship.

Walkers have the possibility to cross the canal at the Briare-end of the Pont Canal by a convenient footbridge. On the opposite side, after having crossed La Loire, there’s a road underneath the Canal Latéral à la Loire, offering the possibility to cross and walk back towards Briare using the other side of the Pont. The short tunnel can be closed off on either side as is clearly visible here. There is, to be honest, a lot more to tell about. We do not have, however, enough time to go into it extensively, because we have visitors – lucky us! Perhaps more about Briare, or the aqueduct, or whatever, coming winter – when we are out of subjects. Bye for now.