Hurrah! France won the Fifa World Cup final and thank goodness for that. The cacophony of car horns went on for hours with people hanging out of their car windows waving flags and banners and driving round the town. What a great time to be in France. Luckily in Toul we didn’t have the rioting and tear gas dramas of Paris. What is it about football that turns some people so angry. And surely it’s anger as happiness isn’t usually the state of mind one associates with tipping cars over and attacking police. But what do I know.
Anyway, it was wonderful to see the Toulois (people from Toul) out with their families celebrating and later that night when it was dark, not until 10.30pm here at the moment, the fireworks started in a truly festive spirit.
Tuesday, July 17 we departed Toul in tandem with fellow kiwis John, Terri and Clarke on Gewa. Boats are being gathered at each lock to save water. The first three locks are small and fine for two boats but later we passed through the enormous commercial locks and two boats already in the lock had to wait for us.
We stopped for the night at Liverdun, a petit mooring with no power, and it filled up by the evening with 6 boats rafted up. We walked up the steep hill into the town, known as Little Switzerland in Lorraine. The view over the Moselle valley was stunning. It’s such a pretty river. We looked around the church of St Pierre, built from 1184, which holds relics of St Euchaire who was decapitated in 362 in nearby Pompey and sent back to Liverdun on horseback carrying his head in his arms. Lovely.
The renovated Chateau has the most amazing view of the river from its gardens which were open to the public.
That evening we had aperos on our boat with the kiwis from Queenstown and had a lovely evening.
Next morning the two Dutch boats plus an English barge left at 7.30am but I did my yoga and we had a leisurely breakfast, leaving the tie up with Gewa and a German yacht at 9.20am. The first big commercial lock was filled up with 2 big barges, plus the yacht and and our 2 cruisers.
Eventually Gewa turned off towards Nancy and we carried on with the rest of the traffic north and on to Pont á Mousson. The port there is very smart with all the usual services. For us the cost was €15.50 for one night. After a walk over the bridge into town and a delicious Paniché (shandy) at a bar in the square (actually a triangle) we headed back to the boat and tried to cool down. It was stiflingly hot. I’ve been attacked by biting insects during the last week (they do love me) even though I cover myself twice a day in Deet and they are VERY itchy and sore. (I’m pouting).
The next morning we were up early and set off for Metz. We entered the first commercial lock which had 3 boats already waiting and the éclusier came down to say they were waiting for another 4 so we had a coffee and talked to the Dutch people we moored with in Liverdun. Once out of the lock 4 of the boats motored past us. I assumine they wanted to get the best spots in the port at Metz but before then there was another lock which we all had to pass together so why race off like that? There’s a whiff of alpha male competitiveness on the Moselle. The psychology is interesting. My ‘engine’ is bigger than yours?
Eventually we took the turn off to the port in Metz which, while big, does fill up fast but we managed to squeeze in on a pontoon amongst mainly German and Dutch boats.
Metz is amazing. Full of history and stunning architecture.
We loved it so much we stayed 5 days. The Son et Lumières shows from 10.30pm to midnight every Friday to Sunday are well worth staying up for with a light show on the cathedral, artists work projected onto lots of different buildings and a water fountain display set to music in the park near the marina.
There is a large covered market and on Saturday a huge outdoor market snaking through the cobblestone alleys and narrow streets. We spent many hours just wandering and stopping for a cafe crème before picking up our lunchtime baguette and heading back to the boat to try and stay cool. The temperatures have been early 30°s and look like going up to mid 30°s for the forecasted future! Cold showers in our togs and then sitting on the deck to drip dry are the best way to bring the body temperature down!
After our wonderful time in Metz we left port on Tuesday 24th July heading in the direction of Luxembourg. The early morning temps are nice and cool and the day was all blue sky and sunshine, the Moselle wide and gently winding. Later though we went through a canalised portion of the Moselle and it became almost choppy! After the commercial lock in Talange we passed an industrial area with piles of coal or graphite I think.
By lunchtime we had arrived at a new marina just off the river called Basse-Ham at PK261 and we decided to moor there until tomorrow when we will continue north along the Moselle, out of France and into Luxembourg for a couple of days and then we’ll turn off the Mosel and onto the Saar river and into Germany. This will be the first time we have taken the boat out of French waters so we are pretty excited about that. We don’t have a chart book for this area so we’ve cobbled together some info from different sources and I’m sure we’ll be fine. 😂
So here are the stats:
Toul to Liverdun
Engine hours: 2.8
Lifting bridges: 1
Liverdun to Pont-à-Mousson
Engine hours: 4.3
Pont-à-Mousson to Metz
Engine hours: 3.7
Metz to Basse-Ham(pk261)
Engine hours: 4.8
Total this year so far:
Engine hours: 81.3
Lifting/swing bridges: 4