contentedsouls

Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

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A day trip to St Jean de Losne

Posted by contentedsouls on 14/09/2015

0 locks 280 km

To anyone who has ever had anything to do with boating in France, St Jean de Losne will be a very familiar place name. If you haven’t, it will mean nothing to you. It’s a place name that comes up in conversation with nearly all boaters; nearly as often as the subject of toilets! Frankly, I have become more than curious about this ‘mythical’ place so, when yesterday dawned wet and windy and G mentioned that the port of St Jean de Losne was having an open day, I jumped at the suggestion that we take a drive down.

The harbour off of the River Saone is enormous, housing hire boat companies; residential and winter moorings; boat brokers; visitor moorings; chandlers and anything else you can think of.

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Plus some things you wouldn’t think of!

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The ‘open day’ bit was the boat brokers. They had around a hundred boats for sale, so we grabbed a handful of keys and took ourselves off for a look around some barges. When you have been fortunate enough to live on a well built boat, the finish on some other boats can be quite a shock to the system; all but one boat we saw would need completely re-fitting, fair enough if this was reflected in the prices but it wasn’t. One boat, on at 155,000 euros, was 20m long and over 4 metres wide and didn’t even have a bedroom – there was plenty of storage though!! When you make a comparison to the boats for sale through Apollo Duck, I’m surprised that these guys are still in business.

The town itself is situated on the magnificent River Saone and is picture postcard pretty, with cafes all along the front. The skies had cleared to brilliant sunshine so we sat outside and indulged ourselves in a fabulous seafood lunch – scallops for himself and giant gorgeous garlicky gambas (I love a bit of alliteration now and then) in a champagne sauce for me. Messy, but worth it and then we washed it down with various flavoured boules of ice cream. The entertainment during lunch was provided by the strong thermal wind gusts which, at one point, had staff hanging on to each corner of their canopy before declaring defeat and winding it in.

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After lunch we had arranged to pop round to say hello to Helen and Chris. I have got to know Helen through a Facebook group and they said they would be having lunch, quayside, on a barge belonging to French friends of theirs. Having ‘found’ barge Elisabeth we realised that we had met their friends when they moored behind us at Joinville – they came and had a look round our boat. They invited us round for coffee but they were still eating desserts (never intrude on a French lunch) and we had the dogs with us – we had intended to pop them back in the car, but once the sun blazed down it wasn’t an option.

Now Elisabeth is not just any old barge. She is still in her original condition, fully rigged and with her lee boards (Graham Trimmer eat your heart out).

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There were quite a lot of people roaming about in Napoleonic costumes as they were celebrating the anniversary of the formation of the Legion of Honour – or at least I think that’s what they were up to.

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Anorak Spot. The Legion of Honour was formed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802; the highest decoration in France given for excellent civil or military conduct – if you remember, it was awarded recently to the 4 guys who took out the terrorist on the French train. There are 5 levels of increasing merit:- Chevalier (knight), Officier, Commandeur, Grande Officier and Grande Croix (cross).

Before heading back to MR, we walked the dogs by the old mill just up the road a bit and we made it back to Chaumont just before we were hit by monumental storms – beautiful colours in the sky warned us of it’s approach – sheets of rain and thunder and lightning; I love it, best nights sleep I’ve had in ages.

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Note: When I share this to Facebook it shows the last photo on the blog. I make no apology, therefore, for putting up another photo of the glorious barge Elisabeth.

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2 Responses to “A day trip to St Jean de Losne”

  1. LOVE Elisabeth! Proper boat. The old mill – is there a camp site nearby? It looks very familiar to a place where we stayed for a night some years ago?

    Like

    • Jill Budd said

      She is sensational – about as proper as a boat gets. I thought you’d enjoy the photos.
      I didn’t see any signs of a camp site there – just mooring for a few boats

      Like

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