Tuesday 1st to Thursday 3rd August
Paray to Digoin
This part of the trip along the Canal du Centre was an easy boating day – 11 kms and 3 locks (vertical drop of 7 metres). We had arranged a 1000 start with Alain the VNF lockie, so all the locks were set for us and we arrived in Digoin at 1200 hrs.
It’s always a new experience arriving at a strange port or harbour. Never know what to expect. There was a large hire boat base on one side of the canal, and opposite it on the other side, some finger jetties with a very large building with a sign “le Capitainerie” emblazoned at the top. So we moored up right in front and I went ashore to pay our dues. Turned out this large building was not the Capitainerie, but an old aged home, named so probably because it was right next to the marina.
The real Capitainerie was a tiny little shed a bit further down the canal. Only open for a couple of hours in the morning and again later in the afternoon.
So the marina was not as big as I expected. Cost was only Euro 11 per night, including water and electricity. There was a toilet but limited use as one had to get the key from the harbour master each time, and they were only open a few hours a day. But the harbour master was a very helpful lady, and she also let us use the toilet in the office, as the public one was the ‘French” style!!
There were also quite a few ‘long stay boats moored here, hogging the best places, some of them looked like they had not been used in years.
Anyway despite all that, the town of Digoin was fine – about 10 minutes walk away.
Digoin was an important place once, being at the meeting place of several waterways – the River Loire, the Canal du Centre, the Canal lateral a Loire and the Canal de Roanne a Digoin. There is am impressive aquaduct carrying the Canal du Centre across the River Loire and at this site is the “Observatoire” which houses a Waterways Museum and looks out across the aquaduct and R Loire. We visited the museum (I think it was Euro 5) and read up on the history of the town and waterways.
The Tourist Office in town was very modern and had good wifi and desk space so we spent a few hours there catching up on stuff.
The weather was still stinking hot, so we spent 2 leisurely days here in Digoin.
Next – We leave the Canal du Centre and head up the Canal de Roanne a Digoin, towards Roanne.
Have a look at Karen’s blog here for her perspective on our travels.