Come with us as we travel round Europe in our floating home

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Marne and Seine

Hi, nice to see you again.

We continued to enjoy the river Marne which was practically devoid of pleasure boats. In one week we only saw 3 moving boats. With free moorings like this one at Saint Jean les Jumeaux I just don't understand why it isn't busier. This village had the best boulangerie we've ever found, with perfect bread and cakes to die for. Apart from a few cooler cloudy days the weather continued to be glorious.

The grape harvest was in full swing and we kept getting glimpses of the pickers through the trees.

The Marne gets quite narrow in places and you don't expect to come across a sight like this when you come round a bend. It was OK though as the skipper motored the barge close alongside the tug that was unloading it and merrily waved us past.

We were going down one of the locks when a lady came out of the lock cottage and sold me a big bowl of mirabelles (cherry sized plums) A few hours later and we had jam 😀 

At the end of the Marne Roger tried to persuade me to turn right and head back through Paris but we're now on a schedule heading for a rendezvous with friends coming over from UK, so we turned left back onto the Upper Seine. 12 months ago I would never have envisaged me saying this, but I really like the big rivers. There's always plenty to see and the big boats no longer scare me. The only problem with the Seine is the lack of places to moor. Unless you're a residential houseboat that is and they come in all shapes and sizes too, although this tiny homemade one was the exception to the norm.

The moorings on the Seine tend to leave you vulnerable to rocking and rolling in the wake of passing vessels, although to be honest we had more problem from the passing ski boats than the huge commercials.  You can see the difference in the wakes here

One night it was just going dark and a huge one crept slowly past. It was 4 dumb barges at 40m each, being pushed by a 15m tug - 175m long WOW  The locks here are 180m long and I always feel guilty for using so much water when they let us go through on our own but, as you can see here, there's plenty of water rushing down the weirs beside the locks and we'd be quite willing to wait to share if they asked.

We stayed for one night in Melun which is a large town and we'd be told by several people that the moorings were free and we needed groceries. After walking 25 minutes to the nearest Lidl I was shocked to find BIG beefy security guards on the doors. It was a very run-down store with hardly any alcohol so I rushed round as fast as I could.  We later tried the Carrefour supermarket which was a bit closer to the moorings and again they had security guards checking bags at the entrance and we weren't allowed to take our collapsible trolley into the store with us. We had to chain it up in the foyer with all the other shoppers bags and trolleys. Once instore we managed to buy beer and wine but the choice and stock levels were very limited and there were 3 additional security guards patrolling the store.  I know security is a sign of the times but surely this was over-kill?  I wasn't sure whether it was for anti-terror measures of if there is a mega problem with shoplifters in this town. Whatever the reason I found it very intimidating and doubt that we'll stop there again, especially as the "free" mooring actually cost us 12 euros. We hadn't intended plugging into the electricity or taking on water but having paid I made sure we got the full benefit and started doing the laundry.

The next stop after Melun was in the beautiful village of Samois-sur-Seine. There is only enough room for 2 boats on the wharf but it's sheltered behind an island so there was absolutely no wash from the commercials at all and consequently we weren't woken at 6 am when they started work.

This used to be the village laundry "le lavoir" and dates back to the 18th century. It was at the top of the hill and the water was fed by underground aqueducts from a stream outside the village.

Samois is a very picturesque village and the houses were covered with ivy, wisteria or these ancient, strange but beautiful trees.

We're moving again today to find somewhere good for the weekend so Roger can watch the Grand Prix.

See you soon X