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The Georgicks of Virgil, with an English Translation and Notes Virgil, John Martyn Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub alta Otia agunt terra, congestaque robora, Pierius says it is confecto in the Roman manuscript. And Tacitus also says the Germans used to make caves to defend them from the severity of winter, .

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If you are lucky enough to get such an offer, and we have known pleasure boats wait there for 3 days, then you have to keep up with your chum because all the locks are now single chamber. If you want to stop the night en route before the tunnel you may have a job restarting as the lock traffic will be geared to the through traffic, and you will be unpopular.

The voyage down the Can de St Quentin takes longer, is more pleasant, and you can stop when you need to. The tunnel at Riqueval is no problem. At the bottom of this canal you turn right for Pont l'Eveque and the Oise to Paris Before you get to P l'Eveque you can turn left and proceed direct to the south, Berry-auBac and Reims, and then on to the Marne a la Saone. This will be the more relaxing way and you have the advantage of fuel being available at Cambrai.


  1. Voyage through the French Canals May to July, 2012.
  2. Canal du Midi?
  3. Cruising in Style.
  4. Lying Rabbit.

Why do I prefer the Marne-Saone? I find it a lot less trouble, less hire boats, and I can avoid the Paris area and a longish plug against the stream. Also, one is sooner on to the Saone with a fair current and fuel at St Jean-de-losne.

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After that you go south like soot from a goose all the way. Anyway Bon voyage. Grendan, you maintain a good advice service to traversers. Where are you based? I am stuck at Cambrai for some time for medical reasons and we get the gossip. I am increasingly concerned about the arrogance of the new generation of big Dutch cargo carriers. There has been a polemic correspondence in the DBA about this. I have seen children fishing on the bank washed into the canal. By contrast the French and Belgian barges are considerablu better mannered. Are you aware of any developments arrete de navigation on the Canal de Vosge?

Thanks again Bill. We're on the River Lot this summer - first time and it's as good as we've been told. Very quiet, peaceful, scenic, good wide river, very few boats indeed. Free water and electricity, in the main. Might over-winter here. My knowledge of the northern north of Paris and north-eastern canals is limited we know the Marne-Saone very well and is guided by helpful comments and reports from friends. I was already aware that the C du N and the Grand Gabarit were not places to dilly-dally, now you've greatly added to that.

I'm in the process of re-vamping the website and changing to Wordpress, greatly to aid adding and amending information when I've finished learning how to use it and I'll amend the page about the Canal du Nord, etc. Best wishes, health-wise, to you both. Regards to Tam and Di, although never met them face-to-face. O'Greachain :. Grehan, Looked on your most informative site but was unable to find details of your boat. You mention overwintering on the river, is your boat permanently manned?

Thanks for your time. John G. Grehan is 12m x 4. Thereafter, no problem. There are 2 places on the river where permanent manning is not necessary, one of them a small inland harbour. Interestingly, one's boat might need to be able to 'ground' without damage. When heavy rain happens higher up, the big hydro-electric sluices e.

Grehan, That's extremely helpful: many thanks.

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I could not read any experiance about engine cooling system Is there any one who had bad experiance about fresh water cooling system in canals? Yes, on several occasions, particularly on the Canal de lateral a Loire, I had the problem of navigating shortly after the banks had been strimmed and huge rafts of grass cuttings were floating on the surface. My intakes were completely clogged several times, cutting off water to the engines. Keep a look out for this, especially when leaving locks and if necessary, cut your engines and tow the boat from the banks by rope until past the weed rafts.

We are hoping to travel down through France via the canals to Med starting in the spring of from Honfleur after boat delivered from Scotland the preceding autumn by road. Our query is can we offload from the lorry at Honfleur and overwinter on the hard there, or is it necessary to go to Le Havre? We expect to carry the mast on board. Yacht is 32ft and weighs about 5. Contact TEO to find out see links below. Leaving the boat at le Havre should definitely be possible, or try the large and professional Torpilleurs yard at Tancarville.

Leaving from there gets you past the widest, most prone to fog, section of the lower Seine.


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  • I do wish we had come across you and your sterling assistance before our transit through the canals 4 years ago. What a great service you provide. That's a great idea with the dinghy bellows to clear the intake pipe. Our only tool was a length of heavy duty semi flexible electrical cable that we scrounged from a lock keeper! Somewhat under pressure :eek: the first time loss of engine, upper River Seine , necessity was the mother of invention ; Thanks for the compliment. This is not quite true. The locks are Freycinet standard and thus able to accommodate barges 38m x 5m; quite big enough for two plaisanciers.

    It may be, however, that it's the contemporary 'magic eye' that's set to recognise the exit of just one boat and shut the gates too promptly 40 seconds afterwards. Grehan, many thanks for the info. It probably means LeHavre as we will need a cradle in a yard that is secure but accessible, with fresh water and power.

    However, I will follow your links as we would prefer to be at Honfleur if at all possible. Please advise further. Appreciate the link to the cooling system data. We have a saildrive and intend to fit a cooling water intake filter next summer during an engine overhaul, so will ensure it's accessible for regular declogging. TEO is the name of the boatyard at Honfleur. Someone on here will hopefully prompt the name of the bloke that runs it, that I've forgotten. Honfleur is, of course, pretty and worth visiting by car if not by boat , however.

    He's called Frederick Challe. Much better to go from Honfleur than Le Havre. The thought of carrying the mast on deck in the open sea is just too much. Make sure you secure fore and aft really well. Use Cargo straps and not ropes. Earliest you can leave the lock after low tide is perfect for the start of the tide up the seine with the correct tide. We left about 8 am. Rouen - do not even think of dismasting there, not unless you have done it before and know what you are doing. I am not sure about that yard's facilities for winter storage nor for lifting-in, whereas the Tancarville Torpilleurs yard is fully capable secure hardstanding, travel-lift, chandlery, etc.

    When we were in le Havre, being re-masted having used the Tancarville canal to get there two yachts de-masted there and went round the 'outside' - all survived ok, but I can't say I would find the prospect that attractive unless the sea was very flat. A third used the Tancarville and over-wintered at Torpilleurs. We were in a motorboat and no problem for us, but the chances of a completely flat sea are pretty low. Did the Marne a la Saone last year south to north and found the shallowest patches between Vitry and St Dizier.

    Barges were sometimes a bit of a nuisance, but there were probably only a couple a day on average. You normally get a bit of advance warning from your friendly travelling VNF man woman anyway. Keep your eye open for VNF vans hurtling down the towpath in the oppsite direction to the way you are going as well; there's normally something on it's way. Be careful in the rivers - particularly Saone and Rhone, the levels can alter considerably in just a few hours.

    A friend moored overnight, the following morning the water had dropped and he ended up having to be pulled off by Les Pompiers. I don't think I want to know the cost! I came through at 1. Maybe some of your info is a bit out of date. We re-masted at Rouen in Aug The excellent new marina in the docks just downstream of the big bridge will direct you to the nearby yard office.

    They have a travel hoist with a yellow crane arm attached to a corner for mast services. Very cheap and efficient, only 60 euros from memory. Their service is no different from anyone elses, ie. We did not use Honfleur, but heard that they were expensive and kept people waiting. Having seen what we have seen now with weather and tides in the lower reaches of the Seine plus wash , I would say that Rouen is the best place to de mast or remast. Just do everything you can to familiarise yourself with the process beforehand - but this applies anywhere.

    Cruising French Canals On A Sailboat! (Part 1/2) [Ep 4]

    That's very interesting - and very welcome - news. Who operates the crane and do they know what they're doing? There's a big difference between say a relatively small light mast on say a 26ft yacht and tall heavy rig from a 38ft boat, complete with roller reefing, radar scanner, etc.

    Plus the level of experience of the boat's skipper and crew. We've now 'done it' quite a few times: the first time we were entirely in the hands of the de-masting guys at Honfleur and lucky that they did know their stuff, when we didn't.

    A Voyage through Time on the Canal du Midi

    On later occasions and other places we realised we then knew more than them and needed to guide them to avoid calamities. Which can happen, as we know from talking to other boats - this can be a tricky and awkward operation, with the potential for accidental inversion, damage to the boat and damage to the mast. Thanks again for flagging up the latest situation at Rouen - do you have any photos?

    JB - as Grehan says, most interesting developments in Rouen! Having the abiltity to sail all the way into Rouen changes the picture entirely!! Best news of the day. Sorry I don't know the contact details! Like most of these things it works best to just turn up and make the arrangements. The VERY helpful staff in the marina can probably provide the contact if you need it their website is something I can't remember related to a local group of councils that have got together to improve facilities for tourism.

    Also, no pics - I was too busy doing up bottlescrews to take pics We had some, but it wasn't much of an issue. Their experience is Its a new service and they are doing more all the time. They did some every day that we stayed at the marina. Navy service is much more experienced, but Le Havre probably about the same we had a crane driver there only and had to do absolutely everything else ourselves.

    Rouen may be a tad more challenging if short-handed for a first time de-mast, but then you could be put on the spot wherever you go! We are 34ft and there were no issues with our mast. The service is in a tidal spot, so limited by tide for when you can book your slot. My advice would be that if you are travelling North, go there as a matter of course. If you don't like what you see, you can move on. If going south, go there if you are confident, otherwise try and get assurance from whoever you book that they will actually help you.

    We spent several days at the marina separate management from the mast place and it was great. However, during that time there were 2 metre swells and breaking waves at Honfleur, with harbour masters there and at Rouen advising pleasure craft not to enter or leave Only other point I would suggest from our experience is that you make every effort to take your mast with you unless its a long deck-stepped one.

    You'll soon get used to it on deck, if you pad it at the end and go slow in locks you won't clonk it seriously and you'll soon adapt your technique to be aware of it anyway. Alternatively, we heard endless stories of high cost of mast transport and damage in transit. Particulary note that whatever your plans are, everybody's seem to change en route - then they sometimes sting you badly for storage. We have been to the Med and back through the canals now.

    Its a fantastic trip with too many superlatives to mention. Highly recommended and not at all difficult, even though you might end up mooing to the cows during some of the more remote stretches! Found it.

    Canal des Deux Mers, France | Building the World

    Link didn't paste properly. It should be: www. Rouen about July - ish!! As someone who's been through the Midi relatively recently can you throw any light on depths. Also did you carry or ship your masts? Thanks again, JB Do they use one of the two jetties see below in the marina darse, or does one 'go around' to the adjacent darse that has the big floating dry dock? None of those pics!.. Instead it is located on the most downstream "tongue" of that part of the docks almost as you are back in the river hence watch out for wash.

    Le Havre.. I don't know how far they have got with this, just something to be aware of if travelling up. We didn't have any issues with current except at Arles and near Andacette I think both about 4 knots but only over short stretches. Forgive my cross-examining you! If anyone knows the detail better, I'd be interested to know. Stephan's expertise is rather different. I know some most people don't think much of le Havre, but we stayed there at Stephan's quay for nearly two weeks and really liked it.

    We were in Rouen on April 1st , going upstream. After the end of World War II , the growth of transport by inland waterway in Europe, coordinated by the various international authorities, resulted in an enlarged and integrated network brought up to a minimum common standard for craft of 1, tons. With the Rhine, the Moselle, and their tributaries dominating the German system and providing outlets for the Dutch and Belgian systems and connecting with the French network, main improvements were concentrated on the international Main-Danube Canal and on improving the north-south route of the Nord-Sud Canal or Elbe-Seitenkanal.

    The latter canal completed in leaves the Elbe about 20 miles above Hamburg and, running south, joins the Mittelland Canal near Wolfsburg, Ger. The Main-Danube waterway connecting the Rhine with the Black Sea was completed in and provides a route for traffic between eastern and western Europe through Germany , accommodating craft of 1, tons throughout its length. All locks are feet long and able to accommodate vessels of 1, tons.

    Improvements of the channel of the German Danube, begun in , include a pair of locks at Kachlet, just above Passau. In Austria four pairs of locks to take 1,ton craft have been built. Two locks, 1, feet long and feet wide, with two chambers each, are being built to facilitate passage through the Iron Gate. Journey time for ships traveling from Black Sea ports upstream to Belgrade, Vienna, and central Europe will be reduced from approximately to 15 hours by this project, and traffic is expected to rise from the present 12 million tons annually to 50 million tons.

    Improvements were also made on the Marne-Rhine waterway, which provides an important internal trade route connecting the Paris Basin with the industrial regions of Alsace-Lorraine. The improvements included major works on either side of the Vosges summit level, replacing 23 old locks. On this section the inclined plane of Saint-Louis-Arzviller deals with a difference in level of feet with a horizontal length of feet.

    It combines innovative engineering and aesthetic design, with a finesse rarely seen before or since. Both Voltaire and Diderot compared its grandiosity to the edifices of Ancient Rome. At this pivotal moment in modern history, the canal became emblematic of both the greatest achievements of Western civilisation and the enlightened way of the future. To visit today, holding this viewpoint, is to gain a moment of insight into the greatest minds of the Enlightenment — the canal becoming a symbol of the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern world.

    Originally, the canal was built for commercial purposes, making the transit of wine, grains and wheat safer and quicker by avoiding the pirate-ridden Iberian Peninsula. Since the s, holidaymakers have replaced tradesmen, though the canal has always been a source of income —during the early 18th century, mulberry trees were planted along its bank for rearing silkworms to support the silk trade, and these were later replaced by Italian poplar trees, grown for their wood. The banks of the canal are still lush with fruit trees and berry shrubs — the yellow hue of irises are reflected in its water.

    Of all the ways to discover the Canal du Midi — self-drive boat, cycling, hiking — one stands head and shoulders above the rest. A small fleet of such barges can be found on the canal, ranging from incredibly comfortable to breathtakingly luxurious — many even have a jacuzzi on board, as I discovered on a visit to Capestang for a boating convention.

    Most also have mountain bikes, for keeping their more active guests occupied and also curing any bouts of cabin fever, though with daily sightseeing excursions lined up with a personal on-board guide, this seems a slim possibility. Barge guests prefer to divide their time between the boat and the canalside. Other guests may be more likely to be coaxed out of their cabin to dip into some of the arty stop-offs en route, and many boats moored on the canal have been converted into pop-up exhibition spaces or theatres. Its enormity makes exiting the canal feel like venturing out to sea.

    Travelling by canal means skipping the traffic congestion of the suburbs, ring roads and the stress that accompanies them. To take a step back from the demands of a busy lifestyle into an oasis where time genuinely seems to stand still, revealing the minutiae of life in rural France.