The cruising season started a bit later than usual with a delightful cruise through the Vosges and South to the Mediterranean coast.
The very well run harbour in Toul is just a short walk into the town or to the railway station. Near Nancy you can explore the Moselle by road, rail or water.
South of Épinal the Vosges canal winds through millions of trees and a total absence of telephone masts!
Once you find that the citizens of Épinal are called Spinaliens your life is complete.
There are a large number of locks with the keeper’s cottage either abandoned or beautifully kept.
The Savoyeux tunnel, near the top of the navigable Saône forms part of a cut-off in the river on the way to Auxonne.
The tourist guides are a little short of excitement here but a nice yacht harbour, a short walk to Seveux where a pleasant restaurant awaits a hungry walker.
The tunnel is quite fun too! The cooling water impeller seized up in the middle of the tunnel and the echoing scream unnerved the Second Mate and both of us as well.
Chalon sur Saône has a beautiful yacht harbour near the centre of the town. It is the birthplace of photography where Nicephore Niepce pioneered the camera and internal combustion engine. With a name like that who would forget your achievements.
At the junction of the Canal du Centre and the Saône/Canal des Vosges the wine from the banks of the Saône and Rhône could be distributed to Paris and Northern France.
The 2nd Mate, now more confident,learning to navigate with the chart plotter and use the VHF. You can see on the chart plotter the bend just below the town of Chalon and the commercial port.
Lyon at the junction of the Saône and Rhône is reputedly the home of good food. The city also has large amounts of free moorings, without services, right in the heart of the city.
All this just for us! One of the large locks on the Rhône, next to one of the hydro electric dams and power stations that generate almost 20% of the French grid with nuclear making up most of the balance.
No prize for guessing that this is the bridge at Avignon, built around 1345. In the middle of the 17th century the constantly collapsing arches, due to the river flooding, caused the bridge to be abandoned and left “as is”.
France is more dog-centric than Britain and here is just one example. At the Art Festival in Avignon.
The month of July brings artistic temperament to town with hundreds of shows and of course Bastille Day on 14th July.
Bastille Day in Avignon, music, art and fireworks make a good weekend for all tastes.
We did have a visitor, who took chairs off our deck at two o’clock in the morning and was quite surprised when I told him to put them back!
Beaucaire port from the passarelle by day. A market, restaurants and cafes surround the port.
The best time to visit Beaucaire is either during June’s Fête du Drac, a traditional festival in honour of the town’s dragon mascot; or during the Estivales in July, a reconstruction of the town’s medieval fair.
The same view of Beaucaire but by night.
Bullfighting (French style, the bull lives to an honourable old age) in the streets during July, this is the amateur “bull run”. The real bullfighting best bulls are buried standing up and facing the sea at the end of their retirement.
This could only be Provence. Travelling East from Beaucaire, through Tarascon and towards Saint Rémy the light shining through the avenues of trees must have inspired so many painters.
This “Jules Verne” merry-go-round is in the centre of Saint Rémy, Provence.
This was the birthplace of Nostradamus. According to experts he predicted just about everything but the bookies are not giving odds on that.
Interesting and colourful street entertainment in Aix-en-Provence.
The day we visited there were beautiful vintage cars giving rides to visitors, street market stalls selling just about everything and a belly dancing display that was much more interesting. All the more interesting is how something that is haram developed in Islamic countries and was so successfully exported. Maybe it is proof that banning or condemning something makes it popular.
Toul, Richard Ménil, Nomexy, Épinal, Girancourt, Pont-Tremblant, Fontenoy-le-Château, Corre, Savoyeux, Pontailler-sur-Saône, Saint-Jean-de-Losne, Chalon-sur-Saône, Macon, Trévoux, Les Roches-de-Condrieu, Valence Épervière, L’Ardoise, Avignon, Bellegarde, Beaucaire.