On the Saone – Chalon to Macon and back
Saturday 1 to Tuesday 18 July – Part 2
Tournus (pronounced Tour-noo) was a delight! We called in there twice, on the way down to Macon and again on the way back up the Saone.
The mooring was a floating jetty that could accomodate about 12 boats. The best thing was that it was free, but you could only stay 2 nights at any one time. And electricity and water was available! The down side that as it was not a marina there were no toilettes/showers etc. Tournus, like quite a few French villages, have public toilets, but these can vary from okay to terrible. There was one handy to the jetty and it was ‘okay?!’
At this time of the year, as I have mentioned before, there are lots of boats about, and one has to arrive early to get a berth. The first time we called here, we arrived just after lunch and got the last berth available. The second time, on the way up the river, we arrived early and there seemed to be lots of space. We tied up but some officious representative of a hire boat company tried to chase us away as his boats had priority. He (not so) graciously allowed us to moor right at the end of the jetty. And later another Dutch boat was forced to double bank with us. Not particularly a problem really.
But I need to mention these hire boat companies and the associated issues – Yes – they do bring necessary income to the waterways. But on the downside, the hire companies take over space which now becomes unavailable to proper boaters. The hire boat skippers do not require any licence or boating knowledge or expertise and consequently behave badly (exceed speed limits, atrocious boat handling, loud music and unruly behaviour etc etc). Rant over!
Tournus had the usual walking tour (which we did) and some absolutely beautiful old buildings.
The main historic building is the Abbey of St Philibert, and associated towers or gates protecting the old city.
And of course the market – Our second visit coincided with market day – and a wonderful market it was. of course we stocked up with fresh stuff, and that night I made a genuine French ratatouille. It was delicious. (check out my vegan blog here…)
The other interesting thing is the water levels on the river. With global warming and all that, the water levels are generally low. But they have had some amazing floods in past years. And one house has markings up the door (yes – the front door) indicating the flood levels. The 1840 level was halfway up the front door, which would indicate that the town was completely flooded!
Tournus has a good Tourist Information Office, with wifi – that worked. Definitely no wifi at the boat here.
My better half can chat to anyone, and bumped into a French chap who had just opened a Creperie close by. So we had to try it – twice! Very good – and all produce used was locally grown and mostly organic. Love it!
We had a couple of lovely relaxing evenings on the boat in Tornus. And met another South African couple with a similar type of boat.
Next – Macon.