Tanlay is a lovely well kept village. Our first afternoon we visited the Château de Tanlay which began construction in 1550 over the foundations of a 12th century fortress. Finally completed in the 17th century it has been in the Thevenin family since 1704. It is an amazing building, or should I say buildings as the triumphal arch that you enter though is called the little chateau it is so elaborate.
You can only go through with a tour which is in French but we did get a folder in English telling us about each room. There’s lots to see, beautiful furniture from many different periods and in the Ligue tower there is a mural depicting members of the aristocracy as Olympic deities, some naked (shocking). It’s unfinished due to the French Wars of Religion (French Catholics and Protestants).
The trompe d’oeil gallery is impressive although not as long as it used to be due to a fire.
The grounds are extensive and incorporate a golf course. There is even a moat! It’s well worth the 10€ entrance fee.
The best thing of all is that it is right in the village and it’s quite a wow moment when you turn the corner and there is the beautifully ornate gate house.
There is a mini market in Tanlay, small but has a traiteur and fresh fruit and vegetables plus the usual groceries. It’s also the ‘dépôt de pain’ when the boulangerie is closed.
At the mooring there is an pizzeria, excellent spot on the canal and always busy. We had dinner there one night and Alan ordered a massive jug of red wine with his pizza which I was forced to help him drink. The sacrifices I make for that man.
On Saturday a horse trekking team arrived on their 6 horses. We watched one guy shovelling the horse poo into the canal. Eww. Glad it was down the other end of the quay! (Rather ironic of course since we all know what else goes in there!).
We had gorgeous weather in Tanlay. On Saturday we biked (23km round trip) up the canal to check out train stations. We had run out of wifi (The Horror!) and thought we may have to take a train to Dijon to the Orange Shop to recharge. Such a pain especially when after a chat, in French, with the stationmaster we found we will either need to go back to Tonnerre or continue to Montbard as the stations between aren’t on the Dijon line.
We stopped for a grande creme in Ancy-Le-Libre. When I say grande creme what we got were two medium espressos (Americano?) with the 2 litre plastic bottle of uht milk plonked on the table. Classic. Love it.
The evening was stunning and the fine weather continued the next morning as we headed off up the canal. We had our own lockeeper for the first four locks who motored ahead and had the locks set. Felt quite special!
Then we had another guy for the chain of locks before Ancy-la-France with the lunch hour in between.
There was a large fishing competition before one of the locks. Long rods stretched out right over the canal but each fisherman pulled his in seconds before we drove over. Pas de problème.
During the lunch hour we moored downstream from lock 82 and saw Englishman Jonathon’s barge Izula already in the lock. We tied up to a short jetty and he invited us on board for a drink while we waited for 1pm. What a beautiful boat, 28m, a rooftop garden with seating. He lives aboard with his two tiny ginger cats who wear life jackets with handles on top, presumably to pull them out of the water if they fall. We’ve been admiring his boat since we first saw it in Tonnerre.
With the barge in front unfortunately our smooth run came to a grinding halt. We had to wait for his boat to tie up, madam eclusier to arrive, close the doors, ascend the lock, he went out, then reverse the locking process to set the lock up for us. So about 30 mins wait at the last two locks. C’est la vie sur les canaux!
When we finally arrived at Ancy there was room on the quay but a sign saying reserved 50m for hotel barges which meant no room for us so on we carried, still behind the big barge so still loitering before each lock for 20 mins or so. Bit tedious in the hot sun.
Another 5 locks and we made Raviéres about 6.30pm. And joy, space for our boat down the end. Free power and water. Score! Time for a Paniché!
Tanlay to Raviéres- 30kms, 14 locks, 8.5 hours