The year is flying by, and I have been furiously making plans and checking flight and travel costs. The longer you leave it, the more expensive it becomes.
So I have finally booked the South Africa to UK flights, and now need to look at the Uk to St Jean-de-Losne bit.
So many considerations. One of the main ones is that my wife Karen is on a Schengen Visa and can only spend 90 days or 3 months in France.
Next is, we don’t want to be rushing, but we do need to know where we are going to end up and where we will winter Shangri La.
So the plan is something like this:
From St Jean-de-Losne, we will head down the Saone to Macon. We should make good speed as this bit is downstream, but we will probably overnight in Chalon-sur-Saone, which we visited last year.
Spend a couple of days in Macon before heading back up the Saone. Then a slight detour, up the River Seille to Louhans, which we have been told is a must to visit.
Back to the Saone, upstream again, stopping off at Tournus and up to Chalon where we will probably spend a couple of days.
Why no further south?
When we first bought our boat, we thought we would go right down the Saone and Rhone and into Canal du Midi. But after many discussions and deliberations, input from other boaters, and a train trip down to Lyon last year, we decided against it. For a number of reasons – We have done a large part of the Du Midi on a hire boat a few years back. The Rhone does not have that many attractive stopping places. It is rather like the freeway between North and South. The trip back up the Rhine is long and tedious, even if the river is not flowing too fast. And we checked out the marina at Lyon – very disappointing. So all things considered, we decided to go no further south than Macon.
Back to this year’s plan. At Chalon we will venture into a new canal – Canal du Centre – with it’s numerous locks! 35 locks up to Montchanin, and 26 locks down again to Digoin. We will probably winter at Roanne, so from Digoin we will either go staright to Roanne via the Canal de Roanne a Digoin, or if we have plenty of time in hand, we will go along to Decize for a look, and then back up to Roanne.
For anyone not too familiar with the French Waterways, we will be basically in the Bourgogne area, which is about 2 and 1/2 hours south east of Paris. See the map below.
The last few times we have traveled to and from the boat, we have been via Dijon, but have never spent any time there. So once Shangri La is wintered, we will probably spend a couple of days in Dijon, before heading back to UK.
In the meantime – happy boating.