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2015 European waterway cruise – Canal de la Meuse – Part 1

France – Canal de la Meuse

We were now in rural France proper!

The canal and locks were much narrower, with no commercial traffic.

The scenery was brilliant but we started the serious climb up through the hills or mountains of the Ardennes region.

Lock on the Canal de la Meuase

We followed the Canal de la Meuse from Givet to it’s junction with the Canal de la Marne au Rhin near Void.

The first section to Charleville-Meziere, the next big town, was 78 km with 16 locks and a total rise of 40 metres.

Approaching the Ham Tunnel – 560 metres long

Also 2 tunnels. The Ham tunnel, 560 metres long, and the Revin tunnel which was only about 75 metres.

Fumay – Canal de la Meuas – France

This part took 3 days, with overnight stops at Fumay and Revin, both small but pretty places with not a lot going on.

In Revin we found the local boulangerie where
we bought the most delicious almond croissants.

Revin – boulangerie

In Netherlands we were used to relatively short boating days, and of course less locks, so were accustomed to being tied up by about 14.00, or sometimes even by lunchtime.

Not so here.

Pretty well all boating days were quite long and only tied up by 16.00 or sometimes even as late as 17.00 hrs.

Using the Remote Control

It was still early September, but the weather was much worse than I had expected, with far more rainy days.

Boating is never fun in the rain!

The Canal de la Meuse was our first experience with the French automatic locks.

At Givet we had been given a remote control unit.

Shangri La in Revin

A few hundred metres before each lock there was a sensor unit on a post.

The idea was that we pushed the buttton on the remote as we passed the sensor, and this would activate the lock sequence – fill or empty the lock, set the control lights and open the lock gates.

For the most part this did work, but several occassions it did not and we had to call someone from the VNF (the canal authority) to come and sort out the problem.

Revin – Laundromat in car park

Once inside the lock, you had to operate a control rod which filled or emptied the lock and opened the gates.

It was in Revin we first saw a coin operated laundromat located in a car park.
Turns out it is quite common in France as we saw several more during the rest of the trip.

Karen jogging to the next lock

In Fumay and Revin the mooring costs were a mere 9 Euro per night, and the services and ablutions were all very good.

Between Revin and Charleville, the locks were relatively close, so Karen, who was complaining she wasn’t getting in any running, decided to jog along the towpath to the next lock.

Karen handling the moorings

This provided a number of benefits over and above her getting in some running.

If the control unit didnt operate, she could
call VNF from a call button situated at the lock.

Also, we were locking up, and in the deep locks it was not always easy to get our mooring
ropes up onto the bollards.

Leaving Revin – morning mist on the water

Having her already on the quayside made things much easier.

We left Revin early on the Saturday morning as it was a fair distance to Charleville.


Contrary to the canal guides, the locks only opened at 0900 on a Saturday (same as Sunday) so we had a wasted hour waiting.

Shangri La in Charleville

Arriving at Charleville, we found a mooring spot on the town quay, which was free, but there were no services or abution facilities at all.

On the Canal de la Meuse – France

Next – a rest day in Charleville.

On the Canal de la Meuse – France

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