Friday July 7th. Paris. We were loving being in the heart of Paris and sharing it with family. Alan and Georgie took a hop-on hop-off Batobus boat, checking out the sights along the Seine and in the evening we caught the boat again then walked down the Champs Élysées, stopping for some very expensive drinks and Georgie checked out H&M, still open at 10.30pm. It’s always humming down there, a great atmosphere.
Saturday July 8th. The All Blacks were playing the third Lions test in Eden Park, Auckland, that morning and would you believe it there is a bar on the Left Bank called Eden Park Bar (I found it on the Internet and confirmed they would be open at 9.30am to show the game) so Alan and Georgie headed down to watch. A draw surprisingly!
In the evening we ate out at a restaurant in the Bastille area. The Steak frites were excellent. Thanks Georgie 🙂
Sunday July 9th. The Bastille market was on today, always bustling, then Alan took Georgie over to the Opera Area where they checked out the Gallérie Lafayette, the Madelaine and of course the Opera.
Monday July 10th. Today we were planning on leaving the Arsenal and cruising down the Seine but woke at 7am to a big storm, loud cracks of thunder and lots of torrential rain. The storm started the night before and inundated some of the Metro stations including the one closest to our mooring. Not a great day to travel so we all stayed in bed and later topped up the groceries at the local supermarché, between showers.
Tuesday July 11th we woke to a cloudy sky and a hint of rain but decided we were leaving regardless so once out of the lock we turned right for a scenic jaunt down the Seine, under the beautiful bridges, past the Notre Dame (waiting for a green light first as it’s one way), the Museé d’Orsay, the Tuileries and Place de la Concorde. Finally we came to the Tour Eiffel. C’est magnifique! A little further on we arrived at the mini Statue of Liberty and turned around, heading back.
It was such a big moment for us, a bucket list item, and even though there were a few raindrops the cloudy skies made for some very atmospheric photos.
Back past the Arsenal and we continued up the Seine, turning left onto the Marne and into a lock. From then on we saw a lot of traffic, large commercial barges coming towards us and we had to give way a number of times. At one lock as we departed there were 2 big commercials and 2 small cruisers waiting and it took a bit of clever manoeuvring by our captain to get past them, especially as the lock entrance was on an awkward angle and the large boats needed plenty of room to turn. Those guys are clever! Our guy’s pretty clever too.
Towards the end of the day things slowed down as we caught up to a commercial barge going the same way as us, and in between was another cruiser, on a 9km stretch of canal. We were almost at idle speed so as not to rear end the boat in front which made for a rather slow end to the day as we finally reached Lagny-sur-Marne. We celebrated our arrival with apéro beersies in the square.
Wednesday July 12. A long day’s cruise up river to La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre, 70kms but only 5 locks. At the last lock we were reunited with a lovely télécommande remote so no more lockeepers for a while. In theory, anyway.
Thursday 13th-Saturday 15th July. La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre. The locks are closed on French National Day, Quatorze Juillet as it’s known here or Bastille Day to foreigners , so we stayed for three nights. It’s so peaceful and treed, one of my favourite stops. Being free helps! We walked down to the war memorial and I noticed a Frank Woolley (Woolley is my maiden name) listed from the Royal Field Artillery unit. I wonder if we are related.
On the 14th we watched the parade in the morning, including some old USA vehicles, marching girls and band. Again in the evening, at 10.30pm, another parade followed by an excellent fireworks display. It’s great seeing how many people turn out for the celebrations. We were surprised to see all the shops and bars open and doing a roaring trade during the day. I really like this town.
Tomorrow we head off again towards Chateau Thierry. Our plan is to show Georgie some of the Champagne region before we take her to Epernay to catch a train next Wednesday.
This week’s stats:
Paris Arsenal, a jaunt down the Seine then back up the Marne to Lagny-sur-Marne:
7.3 engine hours, 50kms, 5 locks
Lagny-sur-Marne to La Ferté-sous-Jouarre:
7.4 engine hours
1 short tunnel
Total for the year so far:
Engine hours: 105.4