Home > Travel Blog > 2014 > July



July in Burgundy has certainly lived up to our expectations. We cruised on the Canal du Centre which held some special delights for us, making new friends and visiting some very interesting places on the way. Towards the end of the month we left for England to spend some time with our family while Esme was in good hands during our absence.
We set off down the Saone via St Jean de Losne where we bought some more fuel. Big distances this season!

St Jean de Losne Family of geese on the Saone
St Jean de Losne                               Family of geese on the Saone

The river is beautiful and wide but there are not many suitable overnight stopping places so we had to compromise. Tying up to dolphins near to the locks can be useful and peaceful but not so easy to get ashore. We spent a couple of nights here waiting for the lock repairs to be completed.

OK for us for a night Bit of a climb ashore!
OK for us for a night                          Bit of a climb ashore!

Entering the Canal du Centre is a large lock, deeper than others we’d encountered in France. We stopped at the pretty port of Fragnes where we caught up with Bill and Genevieve, American friends from two years ago.

Typical Burgundy mansion Lock onto the Canal du Centre
Typical Burgundy mansion                       Lock onto the Canal du Centre

Restaurant over the canal Nested in at Fragnes
Restaurant over the canal                      Nested in at Fragnes

Along the old towpaths there are well maintained long distance cycling and walking routes, the VoieVerte (Greenway). So it was easy to visit the beautiful city of Chalons sur Saone whilst still enjoying the peace of the countryside at night. Our next stop was Chagny, at first an unremarkable spot but the town itself is very pretty. The lovely landscape has green pastures, vineyards and many wine tasting opportunities. From here we cycled to Santenay, a really beautiful village internationally renowned for the quality of their wines.

Chalonssur Saone Chagny
Chalons sur Saone                               Chagny

Near Santenay Burgundy vineyards
Near Santenay                                  Burgundy vineyards

Here at the summit there is evidence of the former coal mining industry and we visited the super museum at Blanzy. Much of the equipment has been preserved and there is even an underground reconstruction where our excellent guide brought  it all back to life.

Resistance Memorial Mining Museum, Blanzy
Resistance Memorial                            Mining Museum, Blanzy

Steam engines explained Underground experience, too
Steam engines explained                        Underground experience, too

At Génelard there is a fascinating museum about Vichy France, the canal here being on the border. We both have an interest in this chapter of French history and we left with a better understanding of what the local population endured during WW2.

Vichy Museum, pacifist poetry Ceramics Museum, Paray le Monial
Vichy Museum, pacifist poetry                  Ceramics Museum, Paray le Monial

Magnificent historic ceramic floor Beautiful art nouveau tiles
Magnificent historic ceramic floor             Beautiful art nouveau tiles

For the Bastille Day celebrations we chose Paray le Monial, knowing there would be some good events organised. We had a surprise visit from our old friend Katinka who drove over to see us having heard we were in the area. We found the city of Paray delightful. It is a place of pilgrimage and a well preserved tourist town. We encountered Aussie friends Greg and Georgi with their children Patric and Jemma whom we met two years ago in France. and together with new friends Phil and Bogusia we all enjoyed a fun weekend together. The visit to the Charnoz Ceramics Factory Museum was really interesting and we saw how the Laguiole cutlery is made. The Rolling Stones tribute band turned out not so wonderful as hoped but it was a fun evening with an excellent firework display.

Basilica, Paray le Monial Cloisters, Paray le Monial
Basilica, Paray le Monial                      Cloisters, Paray le Monial

Rolling Stones tribute, 14th July Great fireworks display
Rolling Stones tribute, 14th July              Great fireworks display

Leaving the Canal du Centre we continued our cruise on the Canal Lateral a la Loire in company with our friends enjoying boules, shared meals and the lovely summer weather.

Pont canal at Digoin Party with our Aussie chums
Pont canal at Digoin                           Party with our Aussie chums

Lovely village of Beaulon Port des Vanneaux, Gannay
Lovely village of Beaulon                      Port des Vanneaux, Gannay

Arriving at Gannay sur Loire we had already decided this would be a good spot to leave Esme while we return to England for a family visit. More news at the end of August.
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