European Travel and the Coronavirus
La Renaissance Barge Cruise Photos
Day 1: Sunday
Paris (Hotel Ampière)
At 1:30 p.m., Jean-Pierre--the captain of La Renaissance during our cruise--collected us at the Hotel Ampère in Paris, which is the meeting point for several European Waterways barge itineraries.
From the hotel, which is located in the 17th arrondissement, it was roughly a 90-minute drive in the barge's VW minibus to(where our cruise began) or 60 minutes to Saint-Mammès (where the cruise departed in alternating weeks).
We reached La Renaissance around 3 p.m., and the crew welcomed us aboard.
The barge was moored near a lock in the Canal de Briare, just a few meters from the village center.
After our luggage had been delivered to our cabins and we'd had a chance to freshen up, we were invited to the foredeck to enjoy Champagne and canapés.
We struck up an instant rapport with Peter and Maurine Stephenson, a delightful Australian couple who'd just flown all the way from Sydney to Paris via Dubai with no apparent ill effects.
When we'd drained the Champagne bottle and had our fill of canapés, the captain loaded us into the VW minibus and drove us to , or "The Seven Locks," that had given Rogny the last three-quarters of its name.
The Seven Locks were built during the reign of Henry IV, who commissioned the Canal de Briare (France's oldest canal) in the early 1600s.
This ladder of locks is now an historical monument, having been replaced by non-contiguous locks that allow barges and boats to pass each other. (You can see today's canal route at the top of the photo, just beyond the downstream end of the Seven Locks.)
From the Seven Locks, the canal leads into the heart of the village. Our barge was moored in the channel at left, just beyond the bridge.
On our way back to La Renaissance, the captain took us to Rogny's 12th Century church, which was just uphill from our mooring site.
A friendly farmer directed us to the church caretaker's house so that Jean-Pierre could get the key, but the caretaker explained that the church was temporarily closed for structural reasons. (On the right side of the photo above, you can see timbers shoring up a sagging wall.)
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