Migennes - Lézinnes

For the last time about our boat -rather: ship, our only home- out of the water. The blacking job was, to put it mildly, absolutely sub-standard. Partly done while it was raining(!), paint to thick and to quickly added thus causing 'curtains' ('tears' called by us Dutch) and sloppy where the colors black and blue meet each other. Daubing it was, no less. We think we are not the most demanding customers, but in this case we insisted on a substantial discount. We got, to be precise, 43,75% off the bill but would have preferred a proper job if their would have been a choise.

On Wednesday the 17th of April our boat was put back in the water at 1:00PM sharp. Hours on the engine: 1.000,0 exactly! We instantly left the river Yonne to enter the Canal de Bourgogne. To do so we again had to ascend the deep lock in Migennes. The Migennois were entertained by a circus for a few days and some of their animals were cutting the grass around the lock. Like this camel, who seemed surprised to see a boat while there was only a deep empty nothing a minute or so before.

After staying in Migennes' basin -see the last picture of week 14- for the rest of that day to clean the boat, our first serious leg on the Canal de Bourgogne on the 18th was Migennes - Saint-Florentin. Five hours cruising, six locks. This luxury mooring spot provided us with water and electricity. Costs: none. Free, gratuit, gratis. A rhetorical question: where can one find this in a country other than France??? Bless them!

Saint-Florentin is not exactly flat. This street however, could not stop us from exploring this charming town. We even conquered the steep hill in the background, which is a sort of an achievement for people like us who are used to a level environment.

After leaving Saint Florentin on the 19th of April we did some eleven(!) locks that day. The time we need to negociate a lock is duly written down in our logbook, mostly not a lot more than 10 minutes. This particular lock is named 'Villiers-Vineux', charmingly situated in the middle of nowhere. We arrived at 11:45AM and left 1:00PM - so we needed one hour and a quarter! Well, the (friendly) lock keeper let us in, filled the lock, opened the upper gates and asked us not to leave for one hour. He had three reasons, being (1) he is entiteled to have a lunch break from noon till 1:00PM, (2) if we should leave the lock a boat just behind us could get the impression that he would be serviced (which of course absolutely had to be avoided under the circumstances) and (3) the next, nearby, lock would not be serviced anyway, as it was his duty too - but not between noon and 1:00PM. He convinced us thouroughly, the lunch break is sacrosanct in France. So we sat on a bench next to the lock, enjoyed the pleasant weather and noticed that the lock keeper has built a little shed using no bricks but instead pieces of wood that are normally used, at least by us, to burn the stove during the winter.

We arrived at Tonnerre around 4:30PM after a long day of hard work - though a lunch break was included! Tonnerre creates mixed feelings we had read before. Sorry Tonnerois, we did not think much of it... The trees next to the mooring spot show some spring, at last, so we have a nice picture from Tonnerre after all.

Tonnere - Tanlay was the short leg we did on Saturday the 20th of April. The Canal de Bourgogne is fed, among other sources, by the river l'Armançon, a tributary to l'Yonne - and subsequently to la Seine. As the canal follows the course of the river pretty accurate the latter is frequently visible from the canal, like shown in this picture. No traffic, no noise, just the beautiful country side. Bliss!!

Tanlay's port, after just 6 locks and less than 2,5 hours cruising. We discovered this place obviously to be a departure/arrival place for hotel boats. Three of them are visible on this picture. The length of our boat is 18 meters and 31 centimeters. As you can see we are dwarfed by the huge, over twice our boat's length, hotel boats. The canal is wide here, so large boats are able to turn. We are in anticipation of the day we'll meet them on the canal, loaded with cheerful crowds from overseas!

'Chateau de Tanlay' was built in the beginning of the 16th century on the remains of an old fortress. It is one of the most beautiful specimen of Renaissance architecture in Burgundy. François de Coligny d'Andelot began the construction of the castle, helped by his brother Gaspard. Here it starts to be of special interest for the Dutch part of the followers of this blog: Gaspard de Coligny was the father of Louise the Coligny (1555 - 1620), the fourth -and last- spouse of William I, Prince of Orange (William the Silent) (1533 - 1584).

Close to Tanlay lock we encountered this former tree, who was given a new life as a faithful guard of the canal.

April 21, a Sunday. In less than 3 hours we traveled from Tanlay to Lézinnes, passing 5 locks. This one is called 'Argentenay' and is decorated by an artist - obviously living there. Like it or not, colourful it certainly is. Even the gravel was coloured!

Lézinnes is our mooring spot for now. Tomorrow, Monday the 22nd of April, the journey continues. This picture can partly be looked at upside down. But why should you?