Compiegne to Paris
Compiegne - Beaumont (River Oise 57 km 4 locks) cast off 0815 hrs to cover as many km as possible today. The traffic is normally slow on Saturday, Sunday and slightly increases on Monday so it's a good time to make distance. The day went with out problems except for, we were delayed at Ecluse Creil for about an hour because it was Sunday and they needed to go home for dinner. We were also delayed at Ecluse Boran because the lock keeper couldn't be bothered to open the lock, this would happen normally as they see you approach, this time we had to find the frequency and contact him by radio, as these are monitored by VNF he then had no other choice but to open the lock. Other than that no problems today, even with my injured leg, and Debs injured hand. We reached Beaumont at 1715 hrs and rafted onto Tom you had found a nice little pontoon just beyond the bridge, Free of course
Mon 18th June 07
Beaumont-La Frette (River Oise-River Seine 40 Km 2 locks)
0900 hrs left Beaumont to complete the distance to the confluence of the Seine and the Oise, There is a large halte fluviale with chandlers and shops. Two locks to negotiate on the way down the Oise, Ecluse de Isle Adam and Ecluse de Pontiose. Just after the first lock Isle Adam on the left hand bank there is a new pontoon and electric, water and a little row of shops for provisions, all free for using the villages services, worth the extra couple of mile from Beaumont.
Down at Conflans, the confluence of the Seine and the Oise the water is teaming with peniche and there's no where to moor. You reach the junctions of these two big rivers and guess what, no sign posts, no names, nothing. Your just expected to know where you are. Down stream on you right is a lock which takes you to Andresy, the info we have is it's good, with services but crowded with Dutch, because they like all the free places and hog them. We turned upstream here and head or the halte fluviale at Conflans, when we eventually found it, there's no room.
Debs who does all the map work tells us of a place a couple of K's up the river La Frette that has limited services but it would do for one night. Its on the banks of he river so you are exposed to the wash from the peniche. However it's a pontoon next to the local sailing club, shops near by, no showers, toilets or electricity. The River traffic stops about 2100 hrs as the locks all close at 1900 hrs so you do get a quiet night. I even manage to get the tender out and give the engine a run.
La Frette-Paris (River Seine 70 km 3 locks)
0815 hrs cast off for the planned distance to Asnieres just 20 km short of Paris. We thought by doing this and stopping over we could arrive at Paris early on Wednesday. Everything went fairly straight forward, when we arrived at Ecluse De Bougival there's a little notice which says, Warning to pleasure craft, limited mooring availability. That's an understatement, we ended up hanging on to the ladders, Tom didn't bother with anything he maintained his position just using the engines. We arrived at Ansieres at 1400 hrs but couldn't find anywhere to moor due to the large numbers of residential peniche the litter both shores from here just about into the centre of Paris. One of the port du plaisance we stopped at just south of the Eiffel Tower want us to rafted 4 deep into the river,
where you are very susceptible to wash from the trip boats and commercial peniche. We just kept going and at 1615 hrs we arrived at Basin De L'Arsenal, which is entered through a sluice gate at one end and the St Martin Canal tunnel at the other. It's very tight and expensive 29.50 euro a night but what can you expect for the middle of Paris. They even charge you for the over hang on the mast then give you a birth that the mast covers the walk way and I've had to stick a fender on it to stop people walking into it. The trip up the Seine was very good, an ideal way to see the sights as most of the buildings can been seen from the river. We'll spend the next few days here catching up with the normal tasks, cleaning, engine checks and repairs and the laundry.
Then we'll take some time to wander around before we depart for the canal De Loing and head further South. We need a place to leave the boat safe for a couple of days so we can fly home and tidy some loose ends. Oh yes and collect those things we've forgot, like Debs glasses, puncture repair kit for the bikes and the engine and gear box manuals with all the spare part numbers in, only some of the small things we forgot. One thing that was a shock to us, we visited the main head office for VNF (the people who run the canals) We had been told that they would have some information on the remaining sections of the waterways, Navicartes, charts, maps or text information, they didn't have anything at all. Not even in French. The ability of the VNF to supply any information is just beyond them. (There's a good job going here for a PR, they need one)