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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Archive for May 14th, 2016

Apremont-sur-Loire (Mon 09/05)

Posted by contentedsouls on 14/05/2016

1 totally amazing lock, 10 kms by bike

There is an amalgamation of villages that are marketed as ‘the most beautiful villages in France’ and 5 km away, down a closed (sadly) embranchment of the canal, lies one of them: Apremont. Monday was the appointed day to go bikling with a picnic, unfortunately Monday didn’t approve of our plans and we woke to steady rain which improved, at best, to intermittent. I checked out the tinternet which said there was a restaurant (likely to be pricey) and a cafe/sandwich bar which closed on Wednesdays. It being a Monday we decided to go for the latter option and abandon the picnic.

The little road runs parallel to the now closed Lorrains branch of the canal and used to provide navigable access to the River Allier, a lock-free 247km waterway – that would have been a pretty amazing cruise. The old round lock (32m in diameter) still remains – think railway turntable.

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You come in off of the canal (the open gate), empty or fill the lock according to the river conditions, turn yourself around and then spit yourself out onto the Allier (closed gate above). The pipe across the middle has been added since the lock closure and has to do with hydro-electrics on the river weir. Evidently you had a choice of entering the river above or below the weir, but I couldn’t find any sign of a third gate which would have put you above. This is what awaits you the other side of that closed river gate. The entrance to the lock from the river is tucked around to the right in the third photo below – plenty to test the skills of any skipper!

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We arrived at Apremont close to lunchtime and, in view of the shitty weather, decided not to pay 20 odd euros to go into the gardens as there was plenty to see in the village itself. We also discovered that the cafe bar was closed Monday and Tuesday as well as Wednesday; leaving the restaurant with a monopoly. Despite it’s monopoly the food was reasonably priced and of good quality. The village was exquisite and every blade of grass and leaf trimmed, sculpted and manicured – if you ever need a bit of extra cash you could do worse than present yourself for work with a pair of hedge trimmers. Due to the inclement weather the photos don’t really do the place justice but, despite my aversion to bikling, it was still definitely worth the 10km round trip.

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There was a large group of Canadians there who were doing a sponsored tour of France in 2CVs. Some passed us on our way out there and there were more parked in various places around the village with some on trailers. They must have been serious enthusiasts as the whole ‘circus’ would’ve cost them a small fortune.

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Lovely as the village was, the highlight of the day for me was the round lock and it’s beautifully proportioned lock house

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