2015 European waterway trip – Canal de la Marne au Rhin – Part 3

Wild stop near Pargny

Bar-le-Duc to Vitry-le-Francois.

This last section of the canal we did in 2 days, with an overnight wild stop just outside a tiny place called Pargny sur Saulx.

Approaching a lock

First day was 26 kilometres with 24 locks, dropping a total of 62.5 metres.

A long day. Only 2 issues with the lock remote or sensors.

Being a wild stop, Pargny was of free, with no facilities.

In one the many locks

We always enjoy these peaceful wild stops in the middle of nowhere.

The second day was 21 kilometres with a mere 8 locks, dropping another 21 metres, and we moored up at Vitry-le-Francois at 13.30 hours.

Sensors detecting the boats coming to a lock

On the chart Vitry was quite a big town.

But the town mooring was pretty poky.

Quite a let down.

The name Vitry-le-Francois sounded rather exotic and very French, but there really was not a lot happening.

Vitry-le-Francois harbour master’s office

The harbour master office only opened for a
few hours, and then not at all on Sunday.

The setting was also not particularly great – opposite an industrial looking shipyard and dry-dock.

Shangri La at Vitry

As we had arrived relatively early, we walked up to the Tourist Office with the ablution keys that we still had from Bar-le-Duc.

(see last post – the harbour master had not pitched up to give us our deposit back)


A very helpful lady took the trouble to phone Bar-le-Duc and sort it out. We returned the key to her and were refunded our Euro 20.


We had originally planned to spend a day here, but having found out that there really was nothing doing, we decided we would continue on in the morning.

Canal de la Marne au Rhin

Arriving back at the boat another disaster greeted us!.

The sound of our water pump grinding away.

A hot water pipe had come off from the bathroom tap, and all our fresh water had poured out into the cabin, soaking the carpet on the way into the bilge where the auto pump had then pumped it all over the side!

On the Canal de la Marne au Rhin

Fortunately all relatively easily fixed – I reconnected the pipe.

The carpet was loose so we took it up on deck to dry.

Fresh water was included in the 10 Euro/night charge, so I refilled the tanks.

I also checked all other water pipe connections, and we now switch off the water pump whenever we go ashore for any length of time.

I need to digress a bit here. Just before we bought Shangri-La, I was given a whole lot of boating books by my cousin Geoff.

He had sold his canal boat so did not need them any more.

Amongst them were three books by Gerard Morgan-Grenville –
Barging into France, Barging into Southern France and barging into Burgundy.

I had sorted of looked at them but never really delved into them, as they were written some 40 odd years ago.

Anyway, as we were now in these areas, my wife Karen had been reading them and noting what had been said about the various towns we were going through. And we were amazed that the author had had some of the same experiences and opinions as we were discovering.
The point of all this is that not a lot has changed in this area in the last 40 years, and the towns that were dismal then, are still dismal. The opposite is also true – those that were a delight then are also still a delight.

We found ourselves being guided more by these books than the modern waterway guides.

And in addition to being full of us useful information, a jolly good read!

Next – ascending again – up the Canal de la Marne a la Saone.

Have a look at Karen’s blog for her side of the story.

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