Compiegne to Berry au Bac via the River Aisne and Canal Lateral a L’Aisne

3 May 2011

So then we got to the R Aisne, a very pretty area, with lots of trees, and stopped at Soissons. The weather turned a bit wet, but still warm, and we had some sun, with mist in the a.m. Subsequently it cleared up, and got very warm and sunny again.

One night we could not find a mooring place and we were locked in between two locks. We had no alternative but to tie to a tree but we were then aground. So we had to get up at 6.30 a.m. to get underway before the big working barges came by and their wash might shove us high & dry. But it was well worth it, lovely, with loads of wildlife out and about, and the mist rising off the river. Very few places to tie up along the rivers so far, which is irritating when you read that there is something particularly interesting to go and see. We have, however, found some lovely spots, some quiet and/or with interesting neighbours.

At Berry au Bac we turned right onto the canal de L’Aisne a la Marne as far as Reims, where the French kings traditionally went to be crowned, and where Joan of Arc brought the Dauphin to be crowned. We were in Reims a few years ago, but didn’t get to see anything, as it was the day we were going home. The Cathedral was impressive; but then, there is so much fascinating history associated with this part of France. Reims is also the capital of Champagne, and all the famous cellars associated with it are to be found there, but that’s another story.

Aquarelle was left in Reims for 9 days, tied up outside a barge in the ‘Relais de Plaisance’ while we went gallivanting off on the TGV (moving at a mere 160 m.p.h. according to Mike’s GPS, a change from our usual pace!) to Italy, for a wedding. On our return we retraced our route back to Berry au Bac.


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