We had a bit of spare time in Paris, so wandered down to see the River Seine, a lot larger than the ‘Petit Seine’ that we boated along all those weeks ago.

It was soon time to look for lunch, so we battled with the RER to Gare du Nord, and found a nice cafe by the station.

Excellent beer and food!

Gare du Nord has been improved over the time we’ve been using it, and the outside is far better than it used to be, though not a patch on St Pancras.

We’re now awaiting the Eurostar back to London.

French Canals – Friday

Our last day on the waterways – again a cool start but warming up later.

This was the view from our boat first thing this morning:

We turned around and travelled back down the Canal du Bourgogne back to Migennes, where we did a bit of shopping and had lunch.

We had to wait for a large barge to come up the lock, and were then back on the River Yonne heading for Joigny.

We’re now moored up back at base, and are clearing the boat ready for handback early tomorrow.

24Km and 6 locks today.

We’ve travelled a total of 566Km (350 miles) on this trip, with 233 locks, 5 bridges and 3 tunnels. The most we travelled in a day was 43Km and the most locks in a day was 27 (that was a busy day!).

It’s been a great holiday and adventure for us, particularly doing a ‘ring’, so every day we were travelling on a new bit of canal.

French canals – fauna

We have seen lots of birds on this trip: herons, cormorants, kingfishers and grebes, as well as the usual ducks and swans.

Lots of fish activity; today we were in a particularly clear stretch of water and could see the actual fish. I thought I caught a glimpse of a pike, but I may have been imagining it.

If you look at the top of the photo, you can just make them out.

I also saw a couple of red squirrels a few days ago, and today we saw three otters, which was even more exciting.

French Canals – Thursday

Another cool start to the day, but it soon warmed up. We continued down the River Yonne this morning to the junction with the Canal du Bourgogne.

The river seems so wide along here!

We then went up the Canal du Bourgogne (Burgundy Canal) and stopped at the port in Laroche-Migennes for lunch.

A bonus was watching the trains opposite…

After lunch, we continued up the very pleasant Canal du Bourgogne. It was nice to be back on a canal after a day of rivers.

One of the lock keepers kindly took our photo:

And we passed under a TGV line just at the right time:

We’ve yet to work out if we’ve travelled on this particular line ourselves.

We’re now enjoying a beer in a (hopefully) quiet spot for the night!

28Km and 8 locks today.

French Canals – Wednesday Afternoon

After lunch, we continued to Auxerre (and the end of the Canal du Nivernais) – quite dramatic from the water with the cathedral overlooking everything.

The older part of Auxerre was quiet and interesting; the cathedral was also nice:

After a bit of shopping, we continued on the River Yonne, with much bigger locks, making our little boat seem even smaller!

These locks also seen to take ages to empty, and the lock keepers didn’t always seem to be in the right place at the right time, so it took us 3 hours to travel 10Km to the quiet village of Gurgy, where we’re spending the night.

No, we’re not moored to the tree!

29Km and 15 locks today.

French Canals – Wednesday Morning

Another cool start to the day, though clear blue skies, and quite pleasant once it warmed up a bit.

We are continuing northwards, the usual delay at the first lock, but fairly seamless thereafter.

We had intended to moor at Champs-sur-Yonne, but missed the only moorings, and as we are mainly on river now, there are few places to stop. But we found a mooring at Vaux, and Google found a small pizzeria nearby, which was excellent.

Nice beer too!

French canals – flora

Many of the locks have lovely flower beds, hanging baskets and so on. One even had pumpkins. Across the various canals, the degree of care with which they are kept has varied.

Many of them have patches of woodland nearby. At one lock, the keeper picked us some apples, and today we went foraging for walnuts. Yum!