The Vandanesse-en-Auxois mooring is popular with hotel peniches which take up a lot of room on the quai but we were lucky when we arrived because there was only one tied up, leaving plenty of room for us. Behind the mooring there are a number of designated spots for camper vans and we met some lovely Belgium people passing through. There was an ugly moment the first night when a Frenchman parked his camper van right on the quay, in a way that blocked everyone’s view and was about a foot from our deck. When a number of campers politely protested, especially as there were other places to park his van, he proclaimed loudly to everyone that HE was French, WE were strangers, this was HIS country and so he could park wherever he pleased (and presumably we could all bugger off). Awkward. We all buggered off.
In fact on Monday the mooring suddenly filled up to capacity with another hotel boat and three more cruisers and a French boat decided to park nose out (everyone else is parallel to the quai and there was a spare space). And again a couple of feet from our deck. Cosy! It would have been fine except they had a long and noisy evening on their deck and, well lubricated with pastis, they got rowdy. A loud dose of our Neil Diamond CD soon drove them inside. Thanks Neil. Job done.
On Tuesday we biked the two kms uphill to Chateauneuf. When I say ‘biked’ I mean pushed our bikes up as it’s very very steep. But the ride back was fun! The fortified castle is stunning, the keep dating back to the 12th century, five round towers and the outer wall 12-15th century. It is one of the best examples of medieval military architecture on the Côte d’Or and sits on a nearly vertical bluff overlooking the the plain. Originally owned by the youngest son of Jean de Chaudenay around 1175, then Catherine of Chateauneuf who, in 1456, was found guilty of poisoning her husband. She was ‘dragged on a hurdle of the Conciergerie jail in Paris, then burnt alive on the pig market square’. She was the last heiress of the Chateauneuf line. Phillipe the Good (Duke of Burgundy) seized the castle (as a side note I can’t help but wonder if Catherine was set up so that Phillipe the not so Goodz could knick her castle, I smell a conspiracy!) and passed it on to his godson, Phillipe Pot. Later on it was owned by the Montmorency family and then the Luxembourgs. The last owners were the Voguë family who donated it to the state. Many of the rooms are furnished by the Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris. Very impressive furnishings from different periods are on display. The entrance fee is only €5 which I think is a bargain.
The village, Chateauneuf-en-Auxois, is in immaculate medieval order with plenty of gites and Chambre d’Hotes and a few restaurants. There were very few tourists around the day we went. In fact we have seen few boats too. Plenty of the large hotel barges are sitting idle as well. The threat of terrorism has put a lot of people off travelling in Europe.
The next day the port emptied out and then filled up again so we decided it was time to move on.
This has been an excellent mooring, highly recommended and comes complete with a medieval castle and Frenchmen Behaving Badly just for your amusement!
Next stop, Pont d’Ouche!