La Renaissance Barge Cruise Photos
Day 6: Friday
Canal du Loing
On Friday morning, we cruised through suburbs and countryside, where we encountered families of wild geese along the towpath.
While the barge cruised north, or downstream, we drove ahead by minibus to Moret-sur-Loing, a walled town of about 4,400 inhabitants that lies near the confluence of the Canal du Loing, the River Loing (which is little more than a stream at this point), and the River Seine.
The gate above is one of two entrances to the town; the tourist office is just to the left of the photo, facing the cobblestoned plaza. Stop in for a free map and an inexpensive miniature guidebook (shown at right) in English.
Moret-sur-Loing has its share of historic monuments and a few surprises: The building on the left above, which houses a coffee shop, is more modern than its turrets and half-timbered construction would suggest. It was built in the 1920s.
Moret's , a.k.a. the
, is said to have been a
model for the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. That story may be apocryphal,
but the church does have certain elements in common with its Parisian namesake,
including flying buttresses and attractive stained-glass windows.
Directly across the street from the church is a half-timbered building where nuns once sold Sucres d'Orge, a tasty (if expensive) barley-sugar candy that makes an excellent cough drop. The nuns are gone, but you can still buy the candy--and if you're lucky, you'll be offered a free sample when you visit.
With the help of our free map from the tourist office, we went on a self-guided walking tour in the narrow residential streets and passages near the Notre Dame church.
Traffic was minimal--especially in comparison with the constant stream of cars on Moret's main shopping street--and the quarter probably didn't look much different than it did centuries ago.
As we walked about the town, we ran across a plaque honoring, the impressionist painter, who died in this house on the rue Montmartre. Sisley, a Paris-born artist of English ancestry, lived in Moret for the last 10 years of his life and is buried in the local cemetery.
From the rue de la Tannerie (just south of the main street, before you reach the car bridge) we followed an arched passage down to the . The quai offered views of restored mills, the ruins of a small castle, and a dam next to the River Loing.
Moret isn't just a tourist town, though it certainly attracts its share of visitors (mostly from Paris). It's also a boating and barging center, where we saw this dog--who resembled Maggie, our own Bearded Collie--in the wheelhouse of a cargo barge.
After admiring our doggie's double, we joined the crew and our fellow passengers on La Renaissance for a short cruise to Saint-Mammès, on the River Seine just downstream from Moret-sur-Loing. A local sightseeing barge had usurped our barge's normal mooring spot, so we returned to the Halte Fluviale in Moret-sur-Loing for the night.
(Note: Saint-Mammès is the departure port for La Renaissance in alternate weeks, when the barge has an upstream or southbound itinerary.)
It was our last night, so we dressed up for the captain's dinner (the only time during the week that anyone wore a jacket or necktie).
The captain, Jean-Pierre, is in the center of the photo, flanked by Steven and Abby Stern (of Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation fame) and Maurine and Peter Stephenson of Sydney, Australia. Cheryl Imboden is in the foreground; Durant Imboden is the Père Noël impersonator on the right.
During dinner, we saluted our crew. From left to right, they are:
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