To read from the beginning use this link – Barging in Burgundy
Day Thirty-Five – 1st August 2017
Paray le Monial to Digoin
Fortunately the trip from Paray le Monial to Digoin was short. Three locks and 11 kilometres. My husband phoned the lock-keeper (eclusier) Alain, and arranged for us to commence locking at 10.00am. All the locks were set for us. We arrived in Digoin around 12.00pm.
When a person arrives at a marina with a fair amount of dead-beat boats parked there, it is rather off-putting. I wish marinas would put their old boats out to pasture so we don’t have to see these sad, slimy, grimy, forlorn wrecks on arrival. It shapes how you perceive a place. You can see these boats haven’t renewed their licenses in decades. They’re basically abandoned boats.
And while I’m having a moan, another practice I wish would end, is allowing people to park their boats right next to water and electricty points, then covering them up and going off and leaving them. If people aren’t going to occupy their boats. Fine. But they should not be allowed to block visitor space on quays and hog the available bollards. Visitors who come to spend money and explore should have priority in the central mooring areas. Absent owners should pay for space at a proper marina. Rant over!
There was a Canalous Hire Boat station on the one side and a large building with the name Capitainerie on it on the other side. No brainer. We parked in front of the Capitainerie. Except it wasn’t a Capitainerie, it was a Frail Care Centre. The real Capitainterie was much smaller and further down the canal. It was closed from 10.00am to 14.30pm. We subsequently saw people coming and going from the other Capitainerie flat on their backs in an ambulance. We suspect they were no longer alive.
A little walk into Digoin and we realised it’s a gorgeous place. Definitely worth staying a few days. The Tourism Office was open until 19.00pm. We went for a walk along the canal to where it meets the River Loire. There’s an aqueduct where the canal runs over the river. Just like St-Jean-de-Losne, Digoin is an important junction on the waterways. It’s the meeting place of 3 canals and a river. The Canal du Centre, Canal de Roanne à Digoin, Canal Lateral à La Loire and the River Loire. We would take the Canal de Roanne à Digoin and ultimately leave our boat in Roanne.
We walked into the main town and did a little bit of exploring. On our way back to the boat we met Madame Capitaine. The moorings are reasonable. Cost for two nights with water and electricity is €21.70. There are amenities. They’re fine if you’re OK with French toilets. I’m sure they’re better for you than English style toilets but you need to be accustomed to using them. The amenities cost €1.70 and you have to ask for the key each time. There are always public toilets in France but they are not always clean. Having said that, cyclists on the Velo Routes seem happy to use them.
Day Thirty-Six – 2nd August 2017
Wifi at the Tourism Office was our first mission of the day. They allowed us to set up at desks and we worked flat out for nearly 3 hours. Then we had lunch at a little cafe. A big green salad and a tarte. When I asked the girl behind the counter what was in the tarts she said leeches. Have to admit I was a bit worried but fortunately she meant leeks. Lord alone knows what blunders we make trying to speak French.
The ObservaLoire is a place dedicated to the River Loire. It’s affordable at €5 per adult. Inside they have various rooms. One was all about the history of the Loire, another it’s fauna and flora and another the people and boats who have lived on or near it. They also have a look-out point and binoculars. It was lovely to meander back along the canal and see boats that we had been passed or who passed us going through the lock. One UK yacht had not been able to pump-out their effluent for quite some time and the skipper was most concerned about it. Each time they stopped and asked, they were told no such service. Not a nice problem to have. The French are quite happy for boat toilets to pump into the canal but your boat has to be designed to do that. Luckily our boat is.
A person sees some funny looking boats. There was a particularly small boat parked alongside the banks of the canal. Quite what purpose it would serve escaped us as it couldn’t fit a person, let alone cargo. We also saw a home-made boat like thing. It was a big square of chip-board mounted onto two canoe-like bases. It had a metal frame with a marquee style cover. An elderly couple were sitting on it in deck chairs. They had big bottles of water piled up which I assume was their supply. It must have been a fun project for the owner and fortunately he had a willing partner in his venture. I imagine it would not be fun in high winds or in cold weather.
The temperature was back up to 33’C. And humid. When I got to the boat I had a cold shower. A few hours later I had another cold shower. In that weather it’s all you can do to keep cool. My other half was draping the boat with everything we had to try and cool it down. It’s pointless wearing sunscreen as you sweat it straight off. Your clothes get soaked in perspiration and you are perpetually wet. No amount of water can quench you. We sat on the fore-deck in nothing more than our sarongs until 11.30pm before going back inside the boat. I could not sleep. I would have had another cold shower at 04.00am but I didn’t want to disturb my husband.
Read more – here.