On a hill above a bend of the Moselle River between Toul and Nancy is the village of Liverdun. Liverdun is a quiet town seemingly in the midst of being forgotten. In 2015 we stopped at the town’s moorings twice.
Liverdun has a small halte nautique a short distance inside an overgrown inlet. It also has two well-separated mooring dolphins on the river. Mooring in the river’s stream on the dolphins gives the best views. That’s where Wanderlust tied up during both stays.
These days not a lot of visitors stop in to see Liverdun. It was a bit of a surprise to find an open tourist office on our first visit. When we entered the office we had the full attention of the counter person. Over the next forty-odd minutes, we were told the history of Liverdun and of the Alsace-Lorraine. The lesson was very informative; it strongly influenced our visit to the region.
One surprising thing we learned at the tourist office is that the Marne-Rhine canal once passed directly under Liverdun and then crossed over the river on a pont-canal at the edge of the town. Indeed, the overgrown vestiges of the canal’s channel, pont-canal, and tunnel remain in Liverdun. If you look carefully, you can find them.
Nowadays through boats traveling west to east on the Marne-Rhine drop off the canal in Toul and enter a canalized stretch of the Moselle River. Boats steam past Liverdun on the river never realizing that years ago their route would have taken them directly under the town they see on the hill nearby. Indeed, with the waters of the Moselle now held smooth by a series of weirs, it is hard to understand why a canal was even needed at this place in the first place. Then you recall that when the canal was built barges were not self-propelled. A canal, with its controlled flow and close banks, made pulling the barge along easier.
The era of the canal was the belle époque for Liverdun. Beaches formed along the then free flowing river during summer. The town was a resort for the rich of the region.
Today the river’s height is kept in a narrow range and the beaches are small. The rich and famous go elsewhere for their summer vacations. Liverdun has been left with its small cluster of grand buildings as reminders of its heyday.
(Wanderlust arrived in Liverdun on the 5th of August 2015. Liverdun is 19 kilometers and 5 locks from Toul.)