Rochers du Saussois

The next three days we motored on along the Canal du Nivernaise, locking up, travelling south towards Decize.
Not that we would get that far – we would stop at Clemecy.
We went through 21 locks and overnighted at Accolay, Rochers du Saussois and Chatel Sensoir before getting to Clamecy. Rochers du Saussois are quite impressive limestone cliffs – read more here. Accolay and Chatel Sensoir were tiny villages,  having only one or two shops. And hardly any
people around. Definitely very peaceful, but made shopping for food a little difficult.
Yet there always seemed to be a church somewhere near, and the bells would toll the half hour or the hour. Comforting on the one hand, but a bit of a nuisance at 7 am on a Sunday morning.

The lock at Chatel Sensoir

By now we had got the hang of French locks. They are all operated by lock-keepers, in contrast to the UK where you operate most
of them yourself. See here for one of my previous posts on some lock on the Cheshire Ring.
The French lockies live in the lock houses and have little white vans like in the picture. Now, with cutting of costs, some lockies tend up to 4 locks and drive from one to the other as necessary. Which often makes for slow progress for boaters. But no matter – there is no hurry!

We were now practicing our terrible French on these poor people. But we managed to make ourselves sort of understood, and also gleaned quite a bit of information on the local markets. There was one particularly friendly lady lock-keeper, who we actually bumped into later at one of the markets!
I have mentioned Stephen Clarke’s books an France which gave us an insight into the French, but I must also mention the Michel Thomas French Language course which we had done together. It was really good and we
often redid one or two of the lessons to refresh ourselves. Worthwhile if you are planning
on spending any time in France. The course is available from Amazon:


We did a number of walks to nearby villages. Vermenton appeared to be a bit larger and we wanted to
catch up on out internet and emails. No such thing as an internet cafe, but we wandered by mistake into an hotel, and a very kind French lady in the office gave us the use of her computer for a while.
Contrary to expectation, we generally found the French very helpful. Particularly as we at least tried to talk in French.
It was here we found a patisierrie and tried our first apple and almond pastry. It was divine!
In the little village of Merry-sur-Yonne there was some sort of fair going on, and we watched them playing boules. Most entertaining . Here is an amusing article on boules .

Clemency in contrast was a bustling metropolis, and we decided to stay a few days here, and also make it our turn around point. All about Clemecy in the next post.

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