June

Chris needed a week to get on with his work so we decided to stay on at Montereau. It’s a good little town and the moorings are on a floating pontoon with water and electricity, minimal cost.

It continued to rain most days and at the end of that week we realised that the flow, current and levels of the river Yonne were rising faster than we were comfortable with so we weren’t going anywhere for a while. Over the first three days of June the river rose by more than a metre and became a raging torrent with trees and debris flying by at speeds up to 8km/hr (our fastest cruising speed). We monitored the river levels and our mooring lines both day and night, wondering how bad it might become. The power of nature can be frightening and being on a boat does not protect you – it’s more complicated than that! The police, Red Cross, neighbours and harbourmaster were all working at full stretch; very kind, visiting regularly to check on us. We had made our anchor ready and put out all our strongest lines onto the piles so that if the pontoon broke we couldn’t become part of that flying debris, smash into the town bridge or be swept downstream. As long as the water didn’t go above the top of the piles we’d be OK and they looked just  high enough. We’d made a cat’s cradle to keep our lines in place.

Peaceful spot at Montereau Fault Yonne
Initially a peaceful spot at Montereau Fault Yonne

Fast flow and tree debris
Fast flow and tree debris

The floods at their height
The floods at their height

Mooring lines on piles and cat’s cradle
Mooring lines on piles and cat’s cradle


We were shocked to see the media reports of the floods in Paris (the Seine rose by 6 metres) and the terrible damage and hardship in the villages and towns near to us on the Canal du Loing – particularly Moret sur Loing where we’d enjoyed our summer day’s picnic a week ago. Many rivers and canals were closed to navigation for 10 days. Locals said it was highest in living memory, certainly since the last inundation in 1982. Our friends Nils and Torild were by now 50km upstream at Villeneuve sur Yonne, on a stone quay tied to rings underwater and having a much harder time than us. However, our floating pontoon was a blessing. We rarely use them as the cleats are too small to take our weight; also paying for services we don’t need. However, we felt very fortunate to be there. Once the level stopped rising we realised it was going to be a while before we could cruise again; it wasn’t falling yet and another week of rain was forecasted. Once it was safe to leave our ship we rented a car and collected Nils and Torild to share some outings together, visiting Auxerre and Fontainebleau. We all felt we deserved a treat and had plenty of time on our hands. Having spent three weeks in one place (very rare for us) we really appreciated the Mairie not charging for any of the flood time. What hospitality from Montereau Fault Yonne. We’ll be back.

Fontainebleau view across the lake
Fontainebleau view across the lake

At Fontainebleau
At Fontainebleau

Opulent or what?
Opulent or what?

Marie Antoinette’s bedroom
Marie Antoinette’s bedroom

Some ceiling!
Some ceiling!

Napoleon’s shaving kit
Napoleon’s shaving kit

Clearing up the debris at Montereau
Clearing up the debris at Montereau

and at Villeneuve sur Yonne
and at Villeneuve sur Yonne


We’d come this way for our annual Barge Rally at Briare but now it was at risk of being cancelled as many of us could not access the area – the canal banks were broken and the canal closed. We certainly couldn’t take Esme there. Consequently we decided to visit by car for the weekend to support the organisers, make some new friends and share the fun.

Well it took the river a month or so to finally settle down so normal life could be resumed. Emma and Don came for a weekend and we had a great time catching up. Midsummer brings the French festival of La Fête de la Musique, which takes place in every village and town in France. Expect anything from big rock bands to local schoolchildren. Montereau being a small town it was on a modest scale but very enjoyable. Joined by neighbours Viv and Sharon we sat out to eat in the town square during the open-air concert; local children and their music teachers demonstrated their considerable musical skills - a good chance to experience public performance. Just delightful.

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Fête de la Musique at Montereau

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Proud parents enjoy the performance

Chris’ son Edd and his family called in for a pit stop while driving to their French holiday in the south. It was wonderful to have them on board and share lunch. It being the first time our grandchildren had been on the ship; so much excitement. We have already planned the next visit!

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Family lunch

June was rounded off by the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme and with a group of friends we watched the excellent coverage by the BBC. How much our world was changed by those momentous events . . . . sobering stuff indeed.

Some notable  things happened during our stay at Montereau, namely: Diana's son Mark celebrated his 50th birthday;  the continuing friendship of Nils and Torild; an unexpected encounter with Sally and Andy on narrowboat The Puzzler; we made several new acquaintances from neighbouring boats; Chris’ first edition of Blue Flag was published; lots of asparagus hollandaise; air conditioning worked well; caught up with many jobs while waiting to resume cruising. Happily we have come out of the France floods of 2016 unscathed. Right now we wait and let the dust settle after the EU Referendum and look ahead with a positive attitude.