Pont-canal du Guétin

Pont-canal du Guétin

Pont-canal du Guétin

Between Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre and Nevers the Canal latéral à la Loire crosses the Allier River, a tributary to the Loire. To do this, the waterway climbs via a deep double lock to the Pont-canal-Guétin, a canal bridge over the Allier. Pont-canal-Guétin is 370-meters long and is one of the longest canal bridges in France. Continue reading

Sancerre

Becky climbs to Sancerre.

Becky climbs to Sancerre.

The famous wine town of Sancerre is roughly 2 miles from a canal-side mooring in Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre. With several wine-drinking friends due to come on board soon, we needed to stock the bilge. The best option seemed to visit the town by bike and bring back a couple of cases of wine. But there was a challenge. Sancerre is about 700 feet above Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre. Getting the bike-trailer combination up the hill was a challenge. It didn’t help when Becky, who wasn’t pulling the trailer, chose the steepest possible route. Continue reading

Houards Lock

Fenik's deck signals the skipper.

Feniks’ deckhand signals the skipper.

Buying wine at a lock is an odd concept.  It is a little like being offered a selection of premium microbrews by the toll taker as you pass through a tollbooth on a motorway. Nevertheless you can do just that at the Houards Lock on the Canal Latéral à la Loire. The éclusiers at the Houards run a side business selling wine from the famous nearby appellations Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire. Continue reading

Châtillon-sur-Loire

Châtillon-sur-Loire's bridge crosses the Loire River.

Châtillon-sur-Loire’s bridge crosses the Loire River.

The Briare Aqueduct carries the Canal lateral à la Loire over the Loire River. On the southwestern side of the river, the canal turns to the southeast and about five kilometers later arrives in Châtillon-sur-Loire. We paused for lunch at Châtillon-sur-Loire’s halte nautique on our way past. Continue reading

Château de La Bussière

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On a patch of water 15 km from Briare and the Canal lateral à la Loire is Château de La Bussière, otherwise known as the Château des Pêcheurs, the château of the fishermen. The château gets its nickname from its avid fisherman former owner. Today the structure houses a collection of objects on the theme of freshwater fishing. It is an interesting and different side trip for those visiting the Centre-Val de Loire Region. Continue reading

The Briare Aqueduct

Le pont-canal de Briare

Le pont-canal de Briare

Near the commune of Briare, on the Canal lateral à la Loire, is the Briare Aqueduct. The Briare Aqueduct allows boats traveling the Bourbonnais route to cross the River Loire without have to navigate the river itself. Built by Gustave Eiffel, Daydé, and Pillé, this masonry and steel canal bridge was the longest navigable aqueduct in the world up to 2003. Continue reading

Crossing the Summit of the Canal de Briare

Entering a full lock: It is down hill on both ends of a summit pound.

Entering a full lock: It is down hill on both ends of a summit pound.

On the 11th of May, as we reached the top pound of the Canal de Briare, Wanderlust moved from the Seine River drainage to the Loire River drainage. From the beginning in Montargis, the Canal de Briare climbs 279 feet to its summit. Much of the climb occurs in the closely spaced locks that are clustered near the summit. On foot, climbing 279 feet may not seem like much. In a 40 tonne boat, climbing 279 is an amazing feat of engineering. Continue reading

Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses

Festina Tarde moors near the old lock staircase in Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses.

Festina Tarde moors near the old lock staircase in Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses.

Sixteen years before the Mayflower sailed in 1620, construction of the Canal de Briare began. It is one of the oldest canals in France and is the first summit level canal in Europe that used the pound locks commonly used on waterways today. Continue reading

Châtillon-Coligny

Wanderlust moored in Châtillon-Coligny.

Wanderlust moored in Châtillon-Coligny. She’s a little large for the spot.

Four days after our arrival in Montargis the VNF reopened the Canal de Briare to navigation. We were allowed to continue on our way south. On the first leg from Montargis, we cruised 23 kilometers passing through eight locks before we stopped in Châtillon-Coligny for the night. The smallish quay in Châtillon-Coligny is nicely developed with free water and electricity. Continue reading