Almost as soon as we left Port Rambaud in Lyon we arrived at the confluence of the Saône and the Rhône. Instantly we went from cruising at 9kms ph to 12kms ph without touching the throttle – free travel!!
It wasn’t long before we arrived at the first of 12 locks taking us down to the Med and a quick call on the radio alerted the éclusier of our approach but then he answered in French and I had to admit “Je parle francais un peu“. In excellent English he told me we had a 10 minute wait while a commercial barge completed his ascent in the lock before it would be clear for us. Thank you!
The Rhône Valley is beautiful and we remembered why we had enjoyed it so much the last time we did this in 2002-2003. There are vineyards either side of the river and as it twists and turns through the landscape you get glimpses of the Central Massive in the distance. This in itself a reminder of the Donzere Gorge where the largest of the locks, Ecluse de Bollene, drops you down 23 meters in a few short minutes. But more of that later.
We decided to skip Vienne, having stopped there before, and continued to Les Roches-du-Condrieu. It’s a beautiful place and as the wind has picked up considerably we have decided to stay a couple of days here.
This morning we were up bright and early to walk the boys and get some washing done. It’s funny; you realise you live a life less ordinary when you have to tie your rotary line down to stop your washing ending up in the river!