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La Renaissance Barge Cruise Photos

From: European Waterways La Renaissance Cruise Review

Day 4: Wednesday

Montargis lock

Montargis

The next morning, La Renaissance left its mooring site after breakfast and went through the first of several locks in downtown Montargis.


Canal de Briare sign in Montargis

We were still in the Canal de Briare. However, by the time we left Montargis, we would be entering the Canal du Loing, which begins just north of the city.


lock and bridge in Montargis

The route through the center of Montargis was scenic and even convivial, since a few locals (mostly children) waved at the barge as we cruised along the canal banks or under car and pedestrian bridges.


Canal lock

Here, we (and Montargis) disappeared from view as La Renaissance passed through a lock.


Montargis police department

After emerging from the lock, we got several friendly waves from officers of the Montargis police department, who jogged across a bridge as we passed beneath it.


Van Speyk

Canal du Loing

Soon, we were back in the countryside, passing through rural locks and walking on towpaths alongside the Canal du Loing.

In the photo above, Durant is opening a lock gate for the converted Dutch tugboat Van Speyk, now a pleasure boat owned by a British couple, which we encountered several times during our week of cruising.


lockkeeper - Canal du Loing

This burly, bearded lockkeeper looked more like a Harley-Davidson motorcyclist or a Louisiana bass fisherman than a public servant in rural France.


barge bow

barge stern with car

As we cruised north toward the Seine, we encountered more barge traffic. Some of the barges carried automobiles for the crews to use in port.


Chateau-Landon carriage

Château-Landon

In the late morning, we climbed into the barge's VW minibus for an excursion to Château-Landon, where we were met by a horsedrawn carriage.


Fusain River

Château-Landon is a scenic village on a promentory that overlooks  the Fusain River. Along the river, you'll see steps or paths leading down from the village to small houses by the water. These are washhouses, where villagers did their laundry in the days before running water and washing machines.


Chateau-Landon

The village of Château-Landon has an attractive skyline with a Notary Tower (which still houses an attorney's office), the tower of the Notre-Dame church, and the former Saint-Séverin Abbey (now a hospice).


Notre-Dame Church - Chateau-Landon

The Church of Notre-Dame in Château-Landon was built from the same stone as its Parisian namesake. (An article from Flags of the World reports that stone from the Château-Landon quarry was used for several Paris monuments because of its frost-resistant qualities.)


Hotel-Restaurant du Chapeau Rouge

After satiating our architectural and spiritual appetites during the village tour (which included a visit to an antique armorer's workshop), we repaired to the Hotel-Restaurant du Chapeau Rouge for lunch with the locals.


Sylvain the chef

groceriesCanal du Loing

In the afternoon, we returned to the barge and resumed cruising. It wasn't long until we saw Sylvain (our chef) waiting for us on the canal bank with a collection of grocery bags nearby.

Sylvain's wife and child live in a town along the canal, and he often goes home at night and returns the next day with fresh supplies for the kitchen.


Peter Stephenson of Sydney

After we'd moored for the night on a quiet stretch of canal near Néronville, Peter Stephenson borrowed one of the barge's eight mountain bikes and tried bicycling for the first time in 40 years. He rode away like a pro, leaving us to set off for the nearest village on foot.

We later encountered Mike, a young crew member who'd followed on another bicycle (presumably to make sure that none of the passengers got killed, injured, or lost).


Bar d'Ecluse - Neronville

The "Bar of the Lock" promised drinks and a pianist, but no such luck: We were told that the owner was an elderly lady who kept limited opening hours. So much for clubbing in the French countryside.


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Cruise Photo Diary Index

European Waterways barge cruise review: La Renaissance
Introduction
The barge
Cabins
Food and wine
Staff
Activities, excursions
Cruises, private charters
Practical information

Also see:
Satellite maps of towns along the route
Canals in France: printed maps and guides