Fragnes was a great little mooring. We had to move off the quay on Sunday for a local children’s fishing contest. I don’t think they caught a great deal but the kids and their mums and dads seem to be having a fun time.
We also checked out the vide grenier (‘clear the attics’ or car boot sale) in the park. Quite liked the renovated antique farm implements. Not sure who would buy them though. And if you collect ancient naked and armless Barbie dolls then this is the place for you.
Later on Sunday we biked up to the local airfield and chatted to the crash fire guy in French with success. Lots of parachute jumping going on. Such a hot day!
The next morning we set off at 8.45, just behind a Swiss couple. We decided I would stay off the boat today and bike between locks. We had heard that these automatic locks require someone to pull a rope to set the motion in progress but that these ropes are set too far forward in the lock making them difficult to reach. It turned out to be a good plan and I’m sure the Swiss couple were happy that I could help them tie up as well. The deeper locks (over 5 metres) have floating bollards so tying onto those is no problem from the boat.
We encountered a problem at the 2nd lock of the day. There was no lights on at the entrance of this lock and we probably shouldn’t have entered until a green light could be seen. (One red light means stop, two red lights indicate the lock is out of action, one red and one green means the lock is being set up and then one green and you can enter) Sure enough the locking process wouldn’t initiate. I pressed the red emergency intercom to try to get some help but no one replied. The Swiss couple tried phoning the mobile number but again no reply. Finally the VNF van arrived (they control the waterways) and reset the process for us.
By now we were in a chain of locks (this chain being 10 locks, usually set in the right direction and you need to tell VNF if you are stopping between the locks). I had told them we would stop at Rully and so we waved goodbye to our Swiss travelling companions and moored up. Jumping on our bikes we headed up to Rully, a wine village in the Côte de Chalonnaise area, best known for its crémant de Bourgogne, a sparkling white wine made from a mix of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Aligot. There are many caves here to taste the wines and we purchased 3 bottles, all crémant, one white, one red and a rosé. I’ll let you know how they taste!
There is a gorgeous medieval chateau here with a 12th century dungeon. Unfortunately after the slog up to the top of the hill on our bikes we found it to be closed. The views were magnificent though. And vines everywhere.
Back at the boat we continued onwards. Well we tried to. Again the traffic lights in front of the lock were not illuminated. Alan drove the boat up and down the area around the lead up to the lock, hoping to catch the automatic beam but nothing was happening. I tried the red intercom again and this time someone answered. I explained, in my very best French, that we were stuck at the lock without lights but I got no reply. Tried a few more times but no answer. I was about to give up when suddenly the green light flashed on. So whatever I said must have worked.
Another few locks and we arrived at Chagny. What a letdown the marina is. Right next to a large tile factory which was operating and noisy. Weirdly angled pontoons and a feeling of desolation. We tied up and had a look around but decided to carry on. And I am so glad we did because we found a spot on the canal by Santenay, another 3kms past Chagny. Absolutely gorgeous. No power but about 8 bollards to tie up onto and free. And we have been here ever since!
In my next blog I’ll put on some photos of this beautiful area filled with wineries, medieval buildings and fantastic cycle ways. I highly recommend staying here.