Tonnerre is about 1.2km away from the mooring and has interesting buildings and plenty of history. According to the Heritage pamphlet from the tourist office the first inhabitants settled on the plateau Montbellant for safety (the hill side area was easier to defend) and the natural resources including the Fosse Dionne, a vauclusian spring so deep it was thought to be bottomless. Due to the tight passages that taper off the deeper the spring goes the source has never been found although it’s believed to be in the Morvan mountains. Several divers have drowned trying to ‘get to the bottom of it’.
In 1758 the Mayor of Tonnerre opened the washing place (lavoir) as seen today and apparently it was ‘the’ place to come for a bit of a gossip. It is amazing. Beautiful green and blues, seemingly bottomless. This was a real highlight of our trip so far.
On Tuesday night we had a spectacular storm. The full works, cracking thunder, forked and sheet lightening, torrential downpour and gusting wind. Alan’s pleased to say his fix of the shower window held. Now we need to address the bedroom porthole leak. He braved the elements to drive in our mooring stake when it loosened with all the surface water on the bank. We have moved onto the quay now all the barges have gone but the mooring rings are too far apart, hence the need for a stake.
Wednesday rained all morning but the sun came out in the afternoon. Temperature was down to 17°. We took the opportunity to do some housework and writing.
In the afternoon we did some sightseeing including St Pierre’s church. It has a very short nave so it appears almost wider than it is long. There is a Roman portal from the 12th century, the choir is 13th C, the tower and lateral sacristy 15th C and the Italian influenced facade is from the 16th. Gargoyles are touches of medieval amongst the classical architecture. A beautiful church with stained glass windows dated 1541.
That evening there was supposed to be fireworks to celebrate the National Day but the weather was horrible so they cancelled it. We read the next day about the horror in Nice. It’s hard to comprehend the hatred some people must have for their countrymen and women.
The next morning the sunny summer weather was back. Beautiful day for boating. We had asked the lockeeper for a 9am departure and as the lock doors were open we headed in and tied up just before 9am. There were three female lockeepers having a chat and they all helped to get us through toute suite.
From there on we had one lockeeper for next two and another for the last three of the day, motoring along on their scooters in between. Really efficient. Hope it lasts. The scenery is rural with fields of golden crops and trees running along side the Armançon river. Peaceful and tranquil.
We arrived in Tanlay to find an almost empty quay. A sign said that 50m was reserved for hotel boats so we squeezed into one end. And sure enough two hotel boats did arrive at lunchtime so we were glad we did. One 38m boat did an incredible turning manoeuvre managing to miss us and a boat moored across the canal. It was tight though!
We told the lockeeper we would stay in Tanlay for two nights and booked a 9am departure on Sunday. With two hotel boats plus another long barge and other assorted boats going our way things may get busy!