The Rhône: Valence

Usine-écluse de Bourg-lès-Valence: The lock and hydroelectric dam complex above Valence

As we started our 2017 journey down the Saône and Rhône we had penciled in Valence as the turnaround point. But things had changed. We had learned Port Napoleon near the mouth of the Rhône had several boatyards that could potentially make repairs to Wanderlust, including ones that could possibly do the paintwork. It seemed advised to visit the port and see if we could get quotes for the works.

Continue reading


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

Southern Burgundy Wine Country

A road winds through some very expensive vineyards near Puligny-Montrachet.

A road winds through some very expensive vineyards near Puligny-Montrachet.

As we continue down towards the Saône River from the summit of the Canal du Centre the weather was increasingly hot and dry. In less than a month, we had gone from floods to drought. In 2015 France’s weather was bipolar. Continue reading


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