The Rhône: Tournon-sur-Rhone, Train de l’Ardèche

Inside the open cars of the Train de l’Ardèche

About four kilometers from the pleasure boat port in Tournon-sur-Rhône is one terminus of the Train de l’Ardèche, a historic steam train that runs up the rugged River Doux valley. The train’s lower station is within bike riding range of the water. If we were able to moor in Tournon when we passed by on the Rhône in 2017 we would have ridden our bikes out to ride the train. But the port was silted in at the time and we couldn’t moor in Tournon, so we were left to visit by car when we were again in the area in May of 2018. Continue reading

The Rhône: Tain-l’Hermitage, Valrhona’s Cité du Chocolat

Les Grands Crus–chocolate at a higher level

With Wanderlust in the paint shed we embarked on a three-country road trip that led in the end to a return stop at Tournon-sur-Rhône in May of 2018. Across the Rhône from Tournon is Tain-l’Hermitage. Near the river on the Tain side is Valrhona’s Cité du Chocolat. Continue reading

The Rhône: Tournon-sur-Rhône and Tain-l’Hermitage

Looking down the River Rhône from Tournon-sur-Rhône

In May of 2018, as the grit blasting and coating of Wanderlust’s bottom was ongoing, we headed out from Saint Jean de Losne. While she was in the paint shed and covered with plastic, there was no way for us to live on board. As long as we were off the boat we might as well head out on a road trip. Continue reading

The Rhône and Saône: The Trip From the Mediterranean to Saint Jean de Losne

For Wanderlust’s return trip to Burgundy there were no viable route options. She could get back in days on the Rhône and Saône rivers, superhighways on the scale of the inland waterways of Europe. Short of loading Wanderlust onto a … Continue reading

The Rhône: Avignon to Port Napoleon

Pulling away from the quay in Avignon’s port Wanderlust turned about and headed downstream on the Avignon branch of the Rhône. Once again she passed by Pont Saint-Bénézet, Avignon’s partially intact bridge made famous in the song “Sur le pont … Continue reading

The Rhône: A Close Encounter in Vallabregues

While we were moored in Aramon we saw a pair of French Canadair firefighting planes working downriver in the distance pulling water from Rhône. We learned later that the planes were fighting a fire near Nîmes, about 30 kilometers away. … Continue reading

The Rhône: Villeneuve-lès-Avignon

In the 13th and 14th Centuries Avignon was at the wrong side of the border with France. The commune’s bridge, Pont Saint-Bénézet, linked the two sides of the Rhône River. It was a strategically important connection. On the left bank … Continue reading

The Rhône: Aramon to Avignon

Avignon’s famous half bridge, Pont Saint-Bénézet

Wanderlust left Aramon heading upstream towards Avignon. For now her journey to the Med would be suspended. Instead we would backtrack up the Rhône to Avignon, with the hope that we’d find a mooring spot at the town’s quay this time. If there was no space available to moor our plan was to turn around and head back to Aramon. The next comfortable mooring option was too far downstream to comfortably reach. Continue reading

The Rhône: Écluse du Châteauneuf to Aramon

We left the visitors’ pontoon at the Châteauneuf lock in the morning with the objective of reaching port de plaisance in Avignon for the night. Historic Avignon is one of the destination stops along the Rhône for boaters and other … Continue reading

The Rhône: Bollène-Écluse

Guadiana leave the lock in Bollene.

On the Rhône, between Valence and Avignon is the famous Bollène-écluse. River navigation infrastructure-wise the impressive Bollène lock is the highlight of any trip on the Rhône. It is the deepest lock on the Rhône River and indeed in France. Boats using this lock gain or lose 23 meters in altitude in minutes. That’s roughly the height of a seven-story building. It is very unlikely that Wanderlust will ever pass through a deeper lock. Continue reading