Gray was such a convenient (and free) mooring we stayed for six days. It’s a big town with an Intermarché Super and Brico only five minutes walk away and free power and water if you moor close enough to an unused power point (there aren’t enough to go around). We tried two different boulangeries’ baguettes but surprisingly found the most traditional artisanal and delicious bread from the supermarket-attached bakery. I’m not sure that’s happened to us before!
Historically Gray was founded in the 7th century but it’s fortificatons were destroyed by Louis XIV but has been an important river port since the Middle Ages. The name Gray is, according to Wikipedia, believed to have come from ‘an old landed estate in its vicinity owned by a family with Gallo-Roman origins bearing the name “Gradus” cognate with the Celtic “Grady” meaning “illustrious” or “Noble”’. You’re welcome.
We had some amazing storms, one woke us at 2am with an incredible crash of thunder and lightening directly overhead and the power went off. Just a circuit breaker so all ok the next morning.
We met a lovely Kiwi couple, Paul and Elise on Anatole and enjoyed a couple of Apéros with them on two nights. They also joined us to watch the All Blacks beat Les Bleus on Saturday morning. Unfortunately we asked at four bars if they would be playing it and it was a ‘non’ all round so we watched it on the ipad, the four of us peering into it to catch the nuances of the game. Good result for the ABs. We enjoyed it and especially the excellent company.
We spent a few days in Gray in 2014 and I wrote a whole post, incredibly eloquently of course, about the Baron-Martin Museum and their impressive collection of art (both inside and throughout their expansive garden) with amazing photos to go with it but sadly that post has completely disappeared from my blog, gone to join blog posts in the sky (not the Cloud unfortunately). No idea what happened there but you’ll just have to take my word for it as, although we walked up there and enjoyed the garden and views of Gray, we didn’t go inside.
I love the florists here. There displays are always so pretty. We also found a Maori tattoo studio. Random!
After leaving Gray we headed upstream for three hours, through three locks and a couple of open flood gates and at lunch time decided we’d done enough for the day so tied up on the side of the river with cornfields on one side and reeds on the other.
Alan got a bit of exercise in with an hour’s bike ride while I guarded the boat (aka lay about reading). I have been loving doing yoga first thing in the morning on the deck and the next morning I had an audience of swans, probably thinking “wtf is this crazy boat lady doing?” (In French of course).
The weather forecast and meteo notice warned of a nasty storm coming this way so we headed upstream, through a lock with an eclusier who passed down a hook for our ropes as the depth was 3.6m and then after waiting for 15mins through a short tunnel (640m) and into the Port Savoyeux, a base for hire company Saône Plaisance.
The place filled up with hire boats from all over. We met a friendly Swiss man and a couple of Brits. The port has a cafe and a shop selling local produce. We walked the 900m into the village of Seveux which has the river running through it. There is a school, maire (townhall), and shop combining boulangerie and epiciere (bakery and grocery). An old wash house, central to life in villages in the 18th and 19th century, has been renovated and flower enhanced. This one has an animal trough as well. Architects used to compete in the different styles of these lavoirs making them interesting to compare. This is a rural area so we are seeing lots of cropping, cows and mills. we even saw some sheep for the first time. It’s very pretty.
We were still waiting for that big storm to arrive and in the meantime we got our moneys worth by catching up on washing, house/boat work and watching the poor hireboaters banging and crashing their way into the port. Alan was out there yesterday in the rain helping catch ropes and hauling boats in. What a good man!
After two days in Savoyeux we headed up the derivation (when the river is too shallow there is a mini canal built for navigation and there are lots on the Petit Saône) and back onto the river. The weather was cold and the wind was coming in directly from the North. We stuck at it for 35kms, 6 locks and another tunnel, passing a gorgeous chateau on the hill in Ray-sur-Saône.
We will be coming back this way and plan to have a closer look but it was originally built on this site in the 8th or 10th century (depends where you get your info from) but was distroyed and rebuilt around the 16-17th century and there has been a fortified Chateau there ever since. The site is in an excellent stratigic position and was the biggest in Franche-Comté.
We pulled into the quay in Scey-sur-Saône. There is an option to moor in the Locaboat hire base but further on and down a short stretch of the river is a much nicer option. €4 per night with no facilities it is still well worth it. A pretty little town and good tie up rings.
So that’s it for another week or so. We are just meandering along this year with no fixed plans other than to head north east and enjoy the ride.
Our latest stats:
Grey to PK300 (somewhere north of Quitteur
Engine hours: 3
PK300 to Savoyeux
Engine hours: 2
Tunnels: 1 (640m)
Savoyeux to Scey-sur-Saône
Engine hours: 4.5
Tunnels: 1 (680m)
Total this year
Engine hours: 18.5