2024 Barging France Housekeeping

2024 Plan A, Plan B, Plan C …


Well, we’re off tomorrow. We just managed to finish last season’s blogs but this will go out with our strongest intent yet of keeping a regular update going this year. What we intend to do is focus on shorter posts, with less detail as we travel and then, for our purposes, come back and edit them later with stuff that is more important to us. Yes, I can see your face.

While ‘plan’ is a dirty word in the context of travelling on the waterways in a barge, we do have to have some ideas and means to achieve them. The grand plan has always been to eventually end up on the Midi-Garonne system in the extreme south. To this end, over the last six years, our intent has been to get to central France in preparation to cruise down the River Rhône the next season.

This year, we hope to achieve that.

To that end, we have four months in France, starting in late May and ending in late September to make the journey. We’ve put down a substantial (non-refundable) deposit for a mooring at Auxonne so the plans have been made around a cruise from the River Yonne at Migennes to River Saône at Auxonne.

There are three options we can consider for this trip:

  1. The Burgundy Route: this simply uses the Canal de Bourgogne.
  2. The Champagne Burgundy Route: this involves using the Seine to get to Paris, the River Marne and Canal latéral à la Marne to get to the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne and south to the River Saône.
  3. The Bourbonnais Route: this is a short form description of a trip from the River Seine to the River Saône using the Canal du Loing, Canal de Briare, the Canal latéral à la Loire and the Canal du Centre.

The option of the Canal du Nivernais is denied to us because of our water draft.

Three route options. One section is shared between the second and third options. Click to enlarge.
  • The first option is one we would dearly like to take but most reports suggest that we would have a fair amount of trouble with shallow sections, especially on the northern part of the canal. After our experiences on the Nivernais, we’re a bit shy of this kind of cruising.
  • The second option is the longest, has fewer new attractions for us and has closed frequently and early over the last few years due to low water.
  • That leaves us with the third option which has been our preferred one for a while. Lots to see, most of it new, the waterways are fairly resilient with respect to water levels and it’s well documented.

Which option we actually take will be determined by circumstances as they develop. And, because we are now not ‘babes in the woods’, the ‘…’ in the title leaves open the option that none of this will happen! But whatever transpires, we fully expect to have a memorable and enjoyable time and, hopefully, share it with you in a timely and interesting manner.

Older post:   More recent post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *