Follow the ongoing travels and adventures of Rob and Marlane as they cruise the Canals of the UK and Europe aboard their narrow boat 'Oo-La-La', read the monthly account of their travels and view photos documenting those travels. Follow the adventures of Rob and Marlane as they cruise the canals of England and Europe aboard their narrow boat OO-LA-LA
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Travelogue: France - 2003

France Map - showing our current area of travels, click to view larger version
Click map to view larger version


(All photographs can be viewed at a larger size by clicking on the image)

This month we had a computer crash on the laptop, and unfortunately lost all of our treasured photos for July – they are all still in our hearts and mind – pictures of old friends, the Nicastros, John Teichman and new friends, Roselyne and Jean Baudouard of Agouant and Mademoiselle Clo of Pizza Clo in Macon. It really hurt to lose them, but now there is ample backup in the computer so it will – hopefully – never happen again. If any can be found then they’ll be added in later months, with any luck.

Hot weather continues unabated for the month of July, the skies are a clear azure and there’s no trouble keeping up bronzed golden tans. Even with hats and sunscreen there’s no avoiding the effects of the sun and even toes can boast their deep glow of sunshine. The banks of the Saone River also drink up the sunlight reflected in the high corn and endless fields of huge sunflowers turning their beautiful orange yellow faces towards the sky. There are occasional days of rain, which brings a cool respite from the heat.

Festivals are everywhere around the country – there is a lot of live music in the village squares, the concerts usually begin around 8PM and end at 11PM or even happen at lunchtime. They range in everything from jazz to rap to classic French songs. Unfortunately there is a strike against the new government laws that restrict funding for the arts and some of the festivals have to be cancelled as a protest. We don’t quite understand the details, but are grateful for the music that does happen.

While in Macon Charlie and Carla Nicastro meet us for a couple of days cruising on the Saone. Leaving Macon with the Nicastros there is an excellent mooring in front of the flowered town of Tournus – water and electricity is free and the pontoons are in excellent condition – who could ask for more? Dinner is in a lovely little Italian pizzeria called Pizza Clo. Little demoiselle Clo is the owner’s daughter and she sits with us during dinner to entertain us with some French songs. In turn we sing some English songs for her and have great fun. As we leave she makes us promise not to forget her and we won’t ever. Hopefully Charlie has her photo and we’ll print it later, she is too cute to miss.

The next day is an excellent day of motoring to Chalons-sur-Saone, a very popular place, and full of dozens of boats, both transient and permanently moored. The town is very vibrant, both touristically and business-wise with many major corporations based there. There’s also a huge car rally under way and in the Boogie Blues Bar we run into a big pre-rallly party. Revelers are all around and a mysterious stranger buys us all a round of drinks. When the drinks arrive he introduces himself. Fabrice is a Belgian television cameraman and the drinks are to apologize for the ruckus he and his friends are making. After chatting with him for a while we’re all invited to the dinner party the following evening.

At Chalons-sur-Saone there is a very handy superstore called Carrefour just across the bridge. The big summer sales are on and we take advantage and get some incredible deals on boat shoes and clothes. In the evening the four of us then check out the rally party. It turns out to be a smashing affair with a live bank and a few hundred people dining and dancing. We join our new Belgian friend right in time for dessert and some wine, a nice cap to a lovely visit from Charlie and Carla.

Leaving Chalons-sur-Saone, the weather gets a bit cooler but the sun is out so conditions are perfect. The river is wide and the villages and towns very picturesque with beautiful Burgundy steep pitched colored tile roofs and ornate exterior woodwork. The destination is the Canal de Bourgogne, but due to the lack of rain the water levels are falling in all the canals, down to dangerously low levels so that soon some will be closing completely for the season.

.....on to August


canals, cruising, boats, travel   canals, cruising, boats, travel