2018 Barging France

The Final Cruise: 27/09 – 4/10

Sens – Villeneuve-sur-Yonne – Cezy – Joigny


We still had a few days before we wanted to be in our winter port of Migennes so we decided to take relatively short cruises for the next few days. In lovely, still weather we first meandered down to Villeneuve-sur-Yonne.

This small town had a long quay with rubber facings just downstream of the arched stone bridge. The mooring was soon full of barges and cruisers.

View of the mooring from upstream of the bridge.

The town was nice but not particularly interesting. The main street that ran parallel to the river was bracketed by two fortified gates at each end. There was no obvious indication of any access and the church in the middle of the town was similarly inaccessible. So after a wander around, we had pretty much seen all that was necessary.


The next stop was just off the main path of the waterway. The Yonne looped off to the west but was too shallow to navigate so a short canal had been constructed to take the river traffic. However, if you just went a few hundred metres along the Yonne, there was a quiet, free mooring near the village of Cezy.

A little further up the river was a striking bridge, one of the few (only?) remaining suspension bridges in France.

Just room for us and with no one around, we did a bit more work on Catharina before cutting through a track that took us into the village. There wasn’t much there, just a restaurant and a boulangerie but there was a pretty lavoir on the edge of the village.

More impressive was the steel suspension bridge that spanned the Yonne. 90 m long, it was built in 1846 to replace a ferry that previously allowed traffic to cross the river.

It had only a single lane across it and not much room for pedestrians.

While we were taking in the view from the bridge, we could see in the distance, another barge come alongside Catharina Elisabeth.

We generally enjoy having others come alongside and when we returned to Catharina, we had a brief chat to the French couple Muriel and Didier on their converted dutch barge Chamudi. It turned out they would be wintering in Migennes also, so we would likely see them again (as we did – several times on the way to Migennes).


Next morning, we took off back to the derivation canal that bypassed this section of the Yonne, leaving the mooring to Chamoudi. Again, in pleasant weather we took the short jaunt down to Joigny passing pleasant countryside, pretty houses and the occasional interesting boat.

Our mooring in Joigny was another small concrete quay, without services. Opposite us was another mooring outside a Michelin starred restaraunt. With entrées priced at €150, we did not figure that we would be eating there and so weren’t entitled to be tying up at their berth.

The Michelin starred restaurant and its mooring is visible just being the forward hatch.

However, the sister of the owner of that restaurant has her own establishment, ‘La Rive Gauche’ on the opposite side of the river to her brother – just a stone’s throw from our mooring.

A very nice restaurant with spectacular food and splendid service at a tenth of the price. A delicious and memorable last restaurant meal for this season. Recommended.

The mooring provided spectacular views of the town, particularly in the evening light.

The town was very quiet (perhaps because it was a Monday) but the steep streets and roads made walking and cycling interesting. The feature of the visit was the 13th-16 century Church of Saint-Jean. This featured a stunning ceiling

and some impressive statues.

The church was being actively restored and the refreshing of one of the statues to our Lady was expecially impressive in consequence of being retouched.


Time running out, we set off for Migennes and moored up about three deep in Simon Evans’ shipyard. His yard was full of all kinds of boats up on the hard, but, in particular, Simon collects and restores lifeboats. Some are fully restored and working,

others are a work in progress.

We set about winterising and packing to leave and had it all done in about two and a half days. Catharina was moved next to Chamudi where she would stay all winter. Muriel and Didier were staying on board for the winter while their house in Joigny was being renovated so we had ample security.

On the day we left, Muriel kindly offered to drive us to the station and we left for Australia on the 4th of October.

We’re not much for statistics but according to our GPS track, this season’s cruise had been some 970 km, just a tad lower than some previous years.

It had been a full season in France which we enjoyed immensely, the culture, language and experiences were all that we had hoped for and anticipated. Catharina performed beautifully once we provided a reliable source of fuel (following the replacement of the fuel filters) and we had at least started on some of the maintenance.

It had been a season of commercial routes; big waterways, commercial traffic and large locks. We are looking forward to next season where we intend to travel on the more tourist routes.

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    2 Responses

  1. Following your adventures has given me a great deal of pleasure. It’s taken me back to so many places I visited with my husband before he passed away and it has allowed me to relive wonderful memories. I miss the barging life: being an armchair passenger has been a delight, so thank you for the journey.

    1. I’m sure it’s bitter-sweet to reprise the journeys that you made with Peter. However, it is great you still have good contact with the Canal Capers group to chat about old times and offer advice. Hope to see you sometime in Perth.

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