On Monday 23rd September we left Trevoux – after a dog walk and visit to the boulangerie, of course – and made our way up the Saone to Montmerle. Again there was room on the fully equipped pontoon and when Frank did his reccy of the town he found a pizzeria, so after I’d finished work for the day we decided to have a take away. Unfortunately they didn’t do chips so while I waited for the pizza Frank nipped round the corner to the kebab shop and got a barquette de frites.
This remains a very pretty area, even though it may not have the stunning panoramic of the Rhone.
The following day we set off, not sure if we would stop at Macon or not. We have stayed there 3 times already (twice with our first boat Armanda and once at the beginning of the year with Thirza) and when we arrived we decided to keep going. Our stop for the night was several kilometres up river and close to Pont de Vaux, where we stayed last year. We had spotted it when driving out and walking the dogs during the winter and it was every bit as nice as we thought it would be. In the middle of nowhere near a hamlet called Asnieres sur Saone it provided a safe and peaceful stop for the night.
Wednesday morning we moved on to Tournus, where we had witnessed the fabulous starling murmurations at the end of last year.
It is strange but there are some moorings that seem to be more affected by the large commercial barges than others and Tournus is one of them. Whenever a barge passed, the pontoon, attached boats and water all around surged and pulled. With other moorings you never even notice them passing. We haven’t been able to work out why but at least it keeps you on your toes!
Thursday saw us arrive in Chalon sur Saone and we decided to have a small break by staying for 2 nights. We headed to the Indian restaurant “The Taj Mahal” on Ile St Laurent and had an excellent meal. Friday gave us a chance to shop and re-stock the fridge and cupboards so we felt fully refreshed when we moved on to Seurre on Saturday.
A lovely little town, Seurre has all the essential shops but more importantly a very good boulangerie. Having grabbed the obligatory baguette we made the short 17km and one lock trek to St Jean de Losne on Sunday. We stopped at the fuel jetty to top up the engine tank before settling on the stepped quay for the night.
When we got there we were greeted by 3 ex-Midi Brit owned barges and their combined assortment of dogs. Bosun and Brody were in their element! It turned out that, like us, they were heading for Auxonne for the winter. Better than that, they like to get together every Friday night for a couple of bevvies and a catch up. Already things are looking better than Pont de Vaux!
On Monday 30th September we cruised the last leg of this years journey to Auxonne and by Tuesday afternoon we were in our berth for the next 6 months trying to remember the names of all our neighbours and their 4-legged friends.
We managed to make contact with Michelle, the lady in Pont de Vaux who had stored our truck for the summer, and on Wednesday Frank took his bike and got the train from Auxonne to Dijon and then on to Fleurville to collect it. He was really impressed with the arrangement for taking bikes on the train.
The truck was in perfect condition thanks to the huge plastic covering we’d draped over it in April but the battery was dead. Luckily a friend of Michelle’s was on hand with a set of jump leads and Frank was soon underway and on his way back to Auxonne.
Now reunited with the truck we contacted Felix and Hedwig to confirm we would be with them for their first music night of the season at Café Merlette. We had a fabulous night and it was really lovely to catch up with everyone, particularly Felix, Hedwig and Barbara.
And so, here we are enjoying being in one place for a little while surrounded by barges and dogs for the winter. We have informally named our pontoon “The Village” because when you look down from the path at night all you can see are lights twinkling from every window. It looks cosy and inviting. We can’t wait to see how it will look at Christmas!