Mooring on rivers in France can be a challenge for us. The dolphins are usually set up for the big commercial barges and are too widely spaced for Wanderlust to use. At same time, the occasional ports de plaisance are often configured for small cruisers and speedboats. Many barges, even ones shorter than the magic 15-meter cut-off, are effectively excluded from many small boat ports. At 20 meters in length, Wanderlust is too large to squeeze into to many of the pleasure ports and too small for the commercial moorings. Nevertheless, with a little searching, we’ve always found a pleasant enough place to tie up Wanderlust for the night.
A particularly difficult place for moorings for barges is Metz. Metz’s well-situated port de plaisance is configured for stern in moorings only. Unfortunately boarding most barges from the stern, if possible at all, is often difficult and dangerous. For us, staying in Metz’s required negotiations with the resistant capitaine of the port. Passing through twice meant that we had two chances to talk our way in. In both cases, Wanderlust was allowed to stay. The first time, with mobility challenged guests aboard, we paid for four spots in the half full port and moored on a pontoon inside the dolphins. The second time through, we moored to a hammerhead end of a pontoon. This time we were charged for one spot.
Mooring challenges aside, Metz is a beautiful town well worth a visit. Metz’s old town is well situated along a branch of the river. Grand churches and half-timbered buildings accent the city. Like most of the towns in the Alsace and Lorraine, the architecture and culture in Metz are caught between German and French. Visitors to Metz get the best of the each culture.
(Metz is 58 kilometers and four locks from Liverdun. In between Wanderlust moored at a quay in Pont-à-Mousson.)