Saturday 1 to Tuesday 18 July – Part 1
The Saone River
The Saone is a lovely wide and (at the moment) gently flowing river and made for pleasant boating. The weather was mostly very hot, with a few rain or thundershowers. No half measures here. And the windscreen wipers on Shangri La seem to have a mind of their own – they work when they feel like it.
Only a couple of locks, all big and operated by lock-keepers from control centres.
So we went much as planned, down to Macon, stopping at Chalon-sur-Saoneand Tournus. On the way back up we made the intended diversion up the River Seille to Louhans, as well as an extra one up the tiny Canal Pont De Veax to the town of the same name. Stopped again at Tournus (pronounced Toor noo) and Chalon.
Karen and I like Chalon. We stopped here briefly last year, but it was raining and we did not do very much.
This time we timed it right for the Sunday market and spent 2 nights here. We love the French markets! Loads of lovely fresh produce. Not necessarily cheaper than the supermarkets, but definitely tastier. The Chalon market was particularly good one with amazing variety of stuff – different shapes and coloured tomatoes, varied types of courgettes, thick asparagus spears, loads of different mushrooms and much more.
And there is a very good Bricolage (DIY hardware store) and an organic food shop. Heaven for us! So we stocked up on all sorts of things, and bought some shade screens, which proved absolutely marvelous over the next few very hot days.
The marina is also very good – cost Euro 23 per night including water and electricity. Nice clean toilet and shower facilities and washing ,machine and dryer available.
We stopped here again on the way back up the river. It was very much peak holiday or tourist time and even though we arrived early, at lunchtime, there were only a couple of spaces available. Much later that evening there were still boats coming through looking for mooring spots, and being sent away.
This time we managed to get the wifi to work, which was a bonus.
Another attraction for us is the veggie restaurant, La Pierre Vie, which does a wonderful buffet style lunch with loads of vegan options. Naturally we sampled it again, accompanied by the obligatory pichet of wine.
Like most French towns, they have a self-guided walking tour. One follows the little triangular brass plaques in the street, and can read about the various places of interest from the pamphlet provided by the Tourist Office. Again some beautiful old buildings, notably the Eglise St Vincent, the town hall belfry, the Doyenne tower and the Mothe House. This half-timbered construction building is a good example of how they used to extend the area of the upper floors. This was apparently because tax was paid on the actual ground area occupied.
The weather was still scorching hot. We took 2 days here again. I caught up with some maintenance and paint touch up work. We also discovered a huge Carrefour supermarket which we had completely missed last time. And what a find! A large vegan section, including amazing vegan ice-creem, as well as a large selection of organic wines, at reasonable prices. A really big food stock up ensued!
Next – Tournus