Roanne, France
"Oldtimer," originally a working barge in The Netherlands transporting grain, was built in 1927 and converted to a live aboard barge in the 1990's. The barge is 16 meters and the style of barge is called a Steilsteven. We are the second owners and have owned the ship since October 2005. We are Americans from Colorado who with our Tibetan Terrier "Tulah" now live in France and "Oldtimer" is our home.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Come to France !

We are hoping this will inspire some of our friends and family to visit France this summer. We will be traveling on the Nivernais and Bourgogne Canals this summer - 2009. Below is a link to a map of the canals .

When you look at the map on the very southern part you will see the Roanne/Digoin Canal. This is the canal that takes us to our winter mooring in Roanne each year. We will leave Roanne sometime during May - we think perhaps the end of May and start traveling north. We will go along the Loire Lateral Canal to the Nivernais Canal first . The Nivernais Canal is a lovely remote part of France. If you are coming for tranquility it is the best. We go so slowly through the country side that there is a lot of time for biking, hiking and exploring. Honestly we have become so lazy we are like the fair weather skier.
A normal - what ever that is - day is getting up around 7:00-8:00 - Sudi goes for a run with Tulah and Eric goes to the local bakery for a baquette and croissants. Perhaps we stay for another day and spend this day riding bikes. Sometimes we stay for a week to 10 days if we really like the village. If not we will get moving with the boat about 10:00- 10:30am - this is good for an hour or so of cruising as the locks all close during the lunch hour - yes this is France. After this pause (fruit , yogurt,left overs) we will go for another 2 or so hours to the next mooring. Sometimes we just wait and go after the lunch break and cruise for 3-4 hours in the afternoon. As you can see this lifetyle is fraught with schedules, deadlines, lists of things to do and places to be. So if you are coming for the "8 countries in 8 days trip" cruising is not a good choice. The evenings in the summer in France are long as darkness does not come until 10:00pm or so. Dinner is often around 9:00pm. We have a barbeque that we use almost every night with what ever the local market has in stock, salad, baguette, tart for dessert and ofcourse copious amounts of good and inexpensive red and white wine.

We would be excited to see you. The boat is small but there is a seperate bedroom for our guests. A double size bed. We share a bathroom which is fully equiped just like a normal bathroom. We have all the comforts of home just in minature. Eric calls it "advanced camping." We will endevour to meet you at the closest train station but we do not have a car during the summer and rely on our bicycles for transport. The weather - what can we say - not ours to control - June can be lovely or rainy, July is often quite hot and beautiful, August is hot in the beginning and cools toward the end but remember this is the traditional vacation time for Europeans , September is usually just lovely (we plan to be on the Centre Canal , the heart of Burgandy,by the end of September for the vendage) and October although short days and considerably cooler - often with fog in the mornings is really delightful and quiet.

Let us say a little more about August. Although this is vacation time for Europeans it does not effect us very much. It will also have little impact this year as the Bourgogne Canal (we think we will be there in August) is not heavily traveled as it has an enormous number of locks and is quite remote with few shopping opportunities.

So come and visit - it is an adventure. You can eat all the pastry you can stand, enjoy endless fresh fruit, laugh at our and your French, delight in the wonderful French people, see many extraordinary secret corners of France and relax to the point of no return.