September 27: Nevers to Paris

Woke up and packed and then walked to the Avis office to see if the car was still there as I had left something in it. Sadly the car was in Rennes and who ever cleaned the car found nothing. We then went to the boulangerie and had piping hot croissants for breakfast. We had an espresso each and walked to the train station. The train to Paris was non stop and we arrived at Gare de Lyon at 12. Dave got a map of the metro and Paris and we went to buy a day pass for the public transport. With that done we went to find the A line. Dave had left the map at the SNCF office so we got out at Aubert where the Opera is, and walked around a bit. Finally an hotel provided us with a map and pointed us in the direction of the Air France office. This was closed! We then walked to our hotel and checked in. We had baguette, ham and cheese for lunch in the room before heading to Maillot to the Air France office there. I got to see the Arc de Triomphe and we found Air France. The queue was at least an hour long. After a quick walk through an upmarket supermarket we came back to the hotel. I spent half an hour on the phone before discovering our flight is not yet cancelled. Despite the pilots strike continuing until the 30th. Until it is we cannot change our flight, which is confirmed. We then relaxed for a bit – me in the bath before getting dressed for the Crazy Horse. Saw the Eiffel Tower from the road. We arrived early so had a glass of Montepulciano wine each before going to see the show. It was OK but nothing to rave about. We then went for supper at a local seafood restaurant. Dave had whiting and I had mussels. We left everyone there and came back to the hotel. Dave’s metro card did not work properly so he entered on my card, and I entered on another persons card. She was not happy but they gave her another ticket. We got back and just as I was about to turn off the light and go to sleep Nico banged on the door and invited us for a drink. We went across the road and had a cider for some and white wine for others. It was after midnight when we got back to the hotel and the noise does not stop where we are!

"September 27"
September 27

September 26: Vauclaix to Nevers

I woke up with an upset stomach. I broke my golden rule of travelling and had some tap water. Thankfully by the time we were showered, packed, eaten breakfast and ready to go I was feeling better. We were offered a very good continental breakfast and I had honey with the most interesting flavour. We went to Corbigny and walked through the street market. Saw amazing mushrooms and bought some strawberries. Then headed to Leboat to see about doing the canal Nivernais next year. We stopped at a series of locks (16 in a row!) and looked at where the canal goes through the tunnels. We drove into Châtillon-en-Bazois and had lunch at the side of the canal. We shared a bench with 2 French workers. The one offered us his wine to have with lunch. To them drinking at lunch time, while on a work break is normal. We then drove to Decize and walked around before heading back to Nevers. We handed the car back and checked into the Best Western Hotel. We went to the train station and changed our tickets to an earlier time and then went and had 2 Paulaner beers where we had supper the first night. We relaxed for a bit at the hotel before going to Tomate et Chocalat for dinner.

"September 26"
September 26

September 25: Nevers to Vauclaix

Woke up, showered and went for an express breakfast – one croissant, one coffee and one glass of juice. Checked out – the bill came to €119.7. Which meant not having a kettle was 24 centime cheaper. We collected a hire car – Renault Clio from Avis at 10am. We did a quick shop at Carrefour for lunch and then headed on the D978 to start our drive.  We stopped at Chatilon de Bazois alongside the canal Nivernais which will probably be our April destination. An espresso and croissant was our mid morning snack. We had a picnic lunch on the side of the road just after Château-Chinon. We then drove to Volnay and stopped at Domaine François Mure and Fils for a wine tasting and bought a bottle to bring home. They have the tiniest bottling plant in their cellar. We stopped in Beaune where Greg is from and walked around the old city and had an espresso. We then drove through Dijon on the Rue de Transvaal and through the Parc Regional du Morten. We stopped at a Logis hotel in Corbigny but they and all the other hotels are fully booked. They called the Hôtel de la Poste and organized a room for us. We had dinner at the hotel. We started with a large tot of Obanand a plate of snacks. We were served an amuse of gezpacho and guacamole. . I had the terrine de lapin to start which was very tasty. But it had an average salad. My main course was coq au pinot noir which was served with an amazing smooth pumpkin puree and good haricot vert. I chose 3 cheeses off the vast plateau de fromages bourguignons et nivernais. Dave had the croustillant d’Espoisses to start whcih had a thick creamy cheese inside pastry. He had the bavette à l’échalote done bleau. Dave had the nougat glacé to end with a lot of caramel beurre salé. We had a serious glass of Cointreau to end the night before heading for bed.

"September 25"
September 25

September 24: Nevers

Woke up feeling totally deflated and utterly exhausted. This holiday has been ruined for so many people because one person ignored their boss! Did not realise how much stress this has been but I have certainly felt apprehensive and anxious since we found out at the rugby about the second barge. I have had an outbreak of eczema. Dave spent the morning trying to hire a car and book us a self catering place to stay. There were no cars available so we decided to see if we could find a place to stay in Paris but that too was not a possibility. We showered and dressed, had an express breakfast and walked to the station. Avis have a car from tomorrow so we will explore the region for 2 days. We have booked a train back to Paris on Saturday. We would prefer self catering so that we can cook. Not only is it cheaper, it is much nicer. We walked around Nevers, had an espresso break and had a baguette with chicken in it for lunch, and an ice cream for dessert. I had chocoláte noisette and Dave had caramel. We walked back to the hotel and I read a bit and dozed. We are in a smaller room with no kettle! We bought water and coffee at a small shop but that was not going to help much. We were given a jug of barely boiled water and cups but no teaspoon. Not the best coffee I have had! Dave was online and saw that Air France strike is due to continue till the 30th. I have sent an email requesting specific flights so let’s see what happens this time. We left the hotel and finally I felt like I was on holiday. I realized I was doing so much on the barge to be in control of what I could control. But that did not help! Cooking is my bliss. On our walk through the old city we stopped at La Pause for beers. Fischer for me and Pelforth Ambree for Dave. We had a long chat about everything and then walked to St-Sébastien for supper. We had a lovely meal and an excellent bottle of wine before walking back to the hotel.

"September 24"
September 24

September 23: La Charite to Nevers

I did not sleep well at all and woke up quite early. After getting showered etc. Dave and Nico went for a cycle ride and I read. Breakfast this morning was croissants and we got on our way at a reasonable time. At the one lock where the lock keeper Nico wrote a fine for Tim for disobeying orders (i.e. being where we were). The fine was €10 but it meant nothing! We stopped at a lovely place for lunch. Just past Cuffy and tied up along the Dutch couple we met yesterday. Here the water and electricity are free of charge. I washed dishes then we had lunch and I washed up so we could top up with water. Annie doesn not grasp the concept that the water is limited and Nico was surprised at how much we had used in a day. We hooked up to the electricity mainly for Nico’s phone but his one charger was damaged and Wanette could not find the other one. After lunch we headed on our way – Wanette then found the charger! Nico went for a lie down and I read the waterway book. I discovered that the Ligier museum is 10km away and discussed with Dave getting to Nevers for the night.We had a proper (deep) double lock to navigate and then a passage over a river.  The plan was then to tie up and charge up and go out for dinner. The two locks into Nevers are automatic and quite something!  Between the 2 locks I heard Joyce (Tim’s wife) and she was on the barge. Tim had left Sancerre at 10 according to what he told Nico and caught up with us! Nico told Joyce that they were to turn around and leave us alone. But heyho, they tied up in the port. I packed my suitcase before I knew this but when Dave went to see the port master he saw them. He came to pack as well and had a long chat with Nico. I feel terrible for them that we left the barge but my happiness has to come first. Dave went online and found us an hotel and we took a long walk through the old city to get there. We went to a brasserie to eat the beef of the region and came back to the hotel.

"September 23"
September 23