Chalons-en-Champagne to Damery

An iconic tree-lined road in France

An iconic tree-lined road in France leaves Damery.

On the 27th of September 2015 Wanderlust left Chalons-en-Champagne and headed west. The day began on the canal latéral à la Marne and by the evening Wanderlust reached the River Marne proper. At 5:30 in the evening we moved Wanderlust to the riverside halte nautique in Damery and stopped for the night. Continue reading

Anti-Lope

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As we arrived in Chalons-en-Champagne we passed by the commercial barge Anti-Lope for the second time in 2015. Two months earlier had met Anti-Lope near the Mauvages Tunnel. Heavy with a load, she was moving very slowly. Anti-Lope’s crew stopped for the night at a quiet wooded spot just before the tunnel entrance. We chose to moor at a pontoon further back down the canal closer to town. When we rode our bikes up to check out the tunnel we met the crew. Continue reading

Châlons-en-Champagne

Wanderlust takes on water in a lock among the vineyards in Champagne.

Wanderlust takes on water in a lock among the vineyards in Champagne.

 

Wanderlust passed through Châlons-en-Champagne three times in 2015. With two overnight stops at Châlons’ well-situated port de plaisance we had a chance to appreciate what the commune has to offer. Continue reading

Ay

Canal latéral à la Marne

Canal latéral à la Marne

At the three-way canal intersection in Vitry-le-François our planned route continued to the east. If we took the right fork in Vitry Wanderlust would move onto the Canal de la Marne au Rhin. The Marne-Rhine would ultimately lead us to our destination Strasbourg. But as we emerged from the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne we did not go right. Instead, we moved Wanderlust left onto the Canal latéral à la Marne. For now we’d head to Ay in the heart of Champagne’s viticultural region. Continue reading

Vitry-le-François

Generally the locks are signed as no swimming but the lock keepers turn a blind eye on really hot days.

Generally the locks are signed as no swimming but the lock keepers turn a blind eye on really hot days.

Vitry-le-François sits on the junction of three canals, the entre Champagne et Bourgogne, and the Marne-Rhine, and the latéral à la Marne. Communes at the intersection of waterways are natural locations to support the waterway life. They are the truck stops of the waterways. Continue reading

Paray-le-Monial

Crossing the Loire River in Digoin on the way to Paray-le-Monial

Crossing the Loire River in Digoin on the way to Paray-le-Monial

From Decize we made a succession of one-night stops in Gammy-sur-Loire, Diou, Digoin, until we reached Paray-le-Monial. Wanderlust spent two nights in Paray. With guests on board and an itinerary to match, our pace was quicker than usual. But it is also true that we chose to spend more time in the more interesting places we encounter. Neither Gammy-sur-Loire, Diou, nor Digoin appealed to us enough to make us want to extend our stay. For us, Paray-le-Monial with its Romanesque church and pleasant town center was the best place to spend an extra day, or days, if we had the time. Continue reading

Canal de l’Aisne à la Marne and River Marne: Reims to Épernay

Approaching Ay

Approaching Ay

When we lifted Wanderlust’s ropes and headed up canal, we left the city of Reims behind. Reims is well known as a center of Champagne wine production but we were not leaving the bubbles behind. Indeed, ahead of us, along the banks of River Marne, the vineyards continue and, if anything, the wine houses became more frequent. Continue reading