September 12-19, 2009

Our friends Don and Doreen and Alexis and Fleming joined us in Branges at the Le Boat Branges Marina to pick up our four bedroom boat to begin our cruise north along the Seille and Saone Rivers to Gray.

[Le Boat Marina] [Branges to Gray Map] [Milau Boat]

By four in the afternoon we were off down the Little Seille river towards the Saone River. We navigated three "do-it-yourself" locks where we turned cranks to close the gates and begin the water flow to fill (or empty) the lock.

[River Seille] [Doreen, Jim driving, Don on deck] [First of three hand operated locks]

After overnighting in Cuisary on the Seille, we entered the Soane River and headed north where our second overnight stop was at the ancient town of Tournus. St. Philibert Abbey dominated the townscape of early medieval homes.

[Tournus] [St. Philibert Abbey] [Medieval House]

The Nave of the Abbey had been restored recently with an early mosaic discovered on the floor. The Cloister Gardens were magnificent as well.

[Abbey Nave] [Ancient Mosaic on floor] [Abbey Cloister]

Dinner in Tournus was at the fine Hotel Bourgogne.

[Hotel Bourgogne] [Don, Doreen, Robin, Jim, Alexis and Fleming] [Ancient tower for old city wall]

On the Saone we saw a number of luxury cruise ships touring the region. Monday morning we headed north for our next stop at Chalon-sur-Saone. The locks were now more convenient for us since they were all automatic or operated by staff. But we all were required to don our life jackets in these bigger locks that we shared with commercial traffic.

[Luxury Cruise Ship] [Alexis, Don, Doreen and Fleming on the top deck] [Captian Don in large  Saone automatic lock]

By mid afternoon we arrived at Chalon-sur-Saone where Alexis fed the swans at the Marina before heading into the main city plaza across the Saone.

[Chalon-sur-Saone] [Alexis feeding swans] [Chalon Center Plaza]

The Cathedral sat in the middle of ancient buildings and unique art work celebrating an early citizen and statues of saints on old homes.

[Chalon Cathedral] [Trompe D'Oeil Painting] [Saint on Cornerstone]

Tuesday night's stop was at the small village of Verdon-sur-Doubs just off the Saone on the Doubs Canal. Here we did a short village tour including a Museum for Bread and Wheat.

[Verdon-sur-Doubs] [Marina at Verdon-sur-Doubs] [Village streets]

Wednesday morning we stopped off at Suerre to tour yet another medieval village with half timbered homes and central church.

[Suerre sign] [Suerre plaza] [Suerre Church]

And then it was on again Wedneday to St. Jean-de-Losne and yet another lock.

[Robin at lock] [St. Jean-de-Losne] [Saone village reflections]

The next morning we headed out again, this time stopping off for a tour of the town of Auxonne.

[Auxonne street] [Auxonne Plaza] [Auxonne Plaza]

After the obligatory stop at the local church, we found the Napoleon statue in front of the Hotel de Ville, built to commorate the leader's visit to the town. On the steps of an old restored city gate, we all posed "Napoleon style" for our picture. St. Philibert Abbey dominated the townscape of early medieval homes.

[Auxonne Church] [Napoleon Statue] [Group on City Gate steps]

That night's stopover was at the small village of Pontailler-sur-Soane where we did a short tour of the village and ate dinner at the Marronnieres Restaurant.

[Pontailler-sur-Soane Street] [Pontailler-sur-Soane Bridge] [Marronnieres Restaurant]

Friday morning we were off to our final destination of Gray. The cool winds had by now died down and we passed beautiful little villages mirrored in the river. By early afternoon we reached our last lock just before the Le Boat Marina at Gray.

[Saone village reflected] [Fleming piloting with Jim, Alexis,Doreen and Robin] [Last lock at Gray]

Staying overnight in Gray gave us a chance to explore this last village with its Notre Dame Church on the hill, half-timbered homes and ancient medieval city walls. A great ending to a wonderful seven days exploring the Burgundy region of central eastern France.

[Notre Dame Church] [Half-timbered home] [Last portion of old city wall]

[red line graphic]

France 2009

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