Éclaircie on the move again
Saturday, 01 May 2010 20:15

After a long, cold, and very enjoyable winter in Paris, we are on the move again. We passed through the lock at the Arsenal at 9am on April 29th, turned left, and headed for the Marne. Our ultimate destination is the Meuse et Sambre shipyard in Andenne, Belgium, but for the first night we were happy to make it all the way to Lagny-sur-Marne.

You can, of course, drive from Paris to Lagny in about 45 minutes if the traffic is light, and if you really want to go that fast.  You can also be in Andenne in 3 hours if you care to be out there on the freeway with all of that traffic, but for us there is nothing like the slow travel option that the rivers and canals offer.

By barge, it took us 7 hours just to get to the pontoon in Lagny where we spent our first night, and then starting off again early the next morning, we put in another 4 hours to arrive in Meaux at noon.  We stayed in Meaux two nights because the locks were closed on May 1st, and we will take off again early tomorrow morning to put in 3 weeks of 8 hour days before we eventually get to Andenne.  How is that possible?  Hard to explain, but maybe this 5 minute video of two days of travel by barge will give you some idea of how pleasant it is to take the slow way to get where you are going.

Carnaval Vénitien de Paris 2010
Monday, 12 April 2010 00:00

Thank you to our neighbor Michelle Santi for creating this magical event.


Bonne Année à toutes et tous
Friday, 01 January 2010 11:00


New Year's Eve was so much fun that  we can only hope that the rest of the year will be able to keep up. 

Our neighbors Gilles and Maryvonne had invited us to come to their boat, just up the pontoon from us, for a small dinner party.  We were looking forward to a quiet evening with friends, and liked the idea that we didn't have far to go on what turned out to be a very cold day.

We took a walk late in the afternoon, just for the pleasure of being out and about in Paris. On the last day of the year there is palpable excitement in the air, and we bundled up and walked over to the 6th, were we settled down at a prime people watching café table under the warmth of outdoor heaters to watch the world go by and count how many different languages we heard.

We heard quite a bit of English, but there were also many European languages in the air.  Tourists from cold countries were well dressed in clothes that looked nice and kept them toasty warm, and the folks from warmer climates had to improvise more to keep from freezing, and that created some interesting looks. There was a never ending parade of couples holding hands, and you could tell that they were happy just to be part of the last day of the year excitement in Paris.

The sun started to set as we were on our way back home.  The cool crisp air and the light of dusk were so beautiful that we stopped on the île-Saint-Louis to people watch again, this time with Notre Dame as our back drop.  Gilles called us then to tell us that he had decided that he would take his party out on the Seine tonight in order to watch the light show on the Eiffel Tower at midnight. That got us up and moving again, as we had to leave the port at 7pm.

We cruised out of port and exited the lock on time, and crossed over to the left bank to moor just across from the île-Saint-Louis where a different dinner cruise went by every 10 minutes, and we bounced in their wake and enjoyed the passing view of so many people dressed up and ready to kiss in a new year.

Dinner was delicious, 3 star quality dishes that just kept appearing effortlessly, with nice pauses here and there for conversation and Champagne.   We finished up with a cheese tray, and several desserts including a Kouign-amann from Brittany.  Yumm!!     In fact, our dinner was so good that we almost forgot the time, and we didn't start cruising toward the Eiffel Tower until 11:30.

People were out in force all along the Seine, and bridges like the Pont Neuf and the Pont des Arts were jam packed.  The Seine was like a freeway at rush hour.  We have never seen so many boats out at one time, and our pilot did a fine job of navigating, bring us to our destination as the clock struck twelve.  The lights on the Eiffel Tower flickered and the crowd cheered.  It was thrilling, and was made even more so as we had to moor right in the middle of our celebration.  All hands were already on deck, but Gilles had to get us to stop watching the lights flash just long enough to help him tie up to a barge on the right bank directly across from the show.

Being out on the Seine with friends from our port was the perfect way to start 2010.  Sometimes we feel like the luckiest people in the world, and we hope that 2010 will make you feel that way often.   We wish you many joyful moments with family and friends in this brand new year.


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