The next morning we set off on our final leg of the Canal de Briare before we venture out onto the Seine. It is a lovely day and we enjoy a gentle voyage, passing through the final lock and handing back our nifty remote in the late afternoon. Sally is keen to stay at Moret-sur-Loing and we nearly did until Charles saw that the price was 22 euro; we had to breast up against another barge and we can’t reach either the electricity or water points so in typical Yorkshire fashion we cast off and carry on. It might have seemed a good idea at the time but we turn right off the Canal du Loing and enter the River Seine – if we had carried straight on we would arrive in Paris but we are keeping that delight for another day. We know we are on a river because it’s about four times as wide as the canal and we find ourselves amongst the huge working boats which give me the jitters. They are so big and always take priority but fortunately the majority of the captains slow down for us tiddlers. Moorings are few and far between on rivers so we have to carry on until eventually we arrive at a huge lock full of commercial boats all coming our way!
We follow a barge into the lock feeling quite small by comparison and emerge unscathed to moor in Montereau-Fault-Yonne on a lovely sunny evening.
We have travelled a lot further than we had initially intended and are now not far from Sens so we decide to stay a couple of days – good decision as the weather takes a turn for the worse. The mooring at Montereau is very good although the approach is a bit difficult as it is on the junction of the River Seine and the River Yonne. We go out to help a Sagar barge, about the same size as Bluegum, moor and watch with some trepidation as it approaches at an angle which puts it on a collision course – and sure enough we have a bit of a bump. No damage is done and the crew are clearly upset about it so Sally pops round later to reassure them that there isn’t a problem and they invite us aboard for a drink. Richard and Elizabeth have been boating in France for quite a few years but have now decided this will be their last and they are putting ‘Larabesque’ up for sale. We spend a lovely evening with them and then share the locks on our way up to Pont-sur-Yonne on the following day. The French are anything but consistent and sure enough we are now confronted by locks which have sloping sides! Why? – we can’t work out. We just know they are a nightmare!
Getting a rope onto the bollards is near impossible although the lock-keepers do help and then the boat bumps, bangs and grinds off the slope as the lock fill. We are not impressed. Things improve considerably after the first three – the rest have a pontoon which you moor against and it then runs up the sloping side on a rail. Much smoother and easier.
Pont-sur-Yonne is a lovely mooring and the town is interesting so we stay a couple of days. The weather is very hot and humid and we are treated to yet another spectacular thunderstorm.
We arrive in Sens on Friday afternoon which is a lovely town and has moorings with free water and electricity. There are a number of boaters here from the UK, New Zealand, Australia and France and, as seems to be the norm, everyone is very helpful and friendly. A large steel boat flying a UK flag bears the name ‘Mornington Croissant’ – quite a clever pun; or bun.