Along the River Yonne – Auxerre to Sens

We had intended to stay a further day in Auxerre but we change our minds on Wednesday 27th June so say farewell to Charlie and Marion as they set off before us as I clean the boat and Charles does the shopping. We say good bye to The Nivernais and hello to the River L’Yonne. It’s a very slow day because the locks take ages to fill and then to empty plus the exclusiers appear to be on a go slow. So although we only travel 10 k with 5 locks we don’t arrive into Gurgy until late afternoon and as expected find the quay full. We find a stretch of bank to moor against but I decide to walk back to the quay and sweetly ask a hire boater if they wouldn’t mind moving back and radio Charles to come down as I’m convinced we can fit it, Charles is not as convinced but we did fit maybe with only a foot to spare but in we are.

Only just ….. inches to spare! Very helpful fellow boaters squeezed us in.

Unfortunately on his way down Charles didn’t notice a row of fishing lines out and he snagged one receiving a tirade of abuse but as it is in French it doesn’t matter as he didn’t understand the abuse so I go back with a bottle of wine as an apology and whilst initially reluctant he takes it with much appreciation and bon hommie.

Thursday: after a run we squeeze out of our space to continue along the beautiful River Yonne with stunning scenery.  It is refreshing to be on a river for a change and appreciate the space.

IMG_0690 3
Free mooring and electricity at Laroche-St-Cydroine

We are still waiting for the generator part so are in no hurry and don’t want to go onto the Canal de Bourgogne until it arrives so travel pass the entrance and continue up the river a short distance to moor at Laroche-St-Cydroine (14k and 4 locks) with a stone wall plus free electric and water but with a pushbutton tap unsuitable for hose pipes. It is quite remote although there is a village behind us but very peaceful and we enjoy the tranquility until its time to watch Englands third match this time with Belgium which we expect to be the hardest one so far and the result says it all 1-0 to Belgium but it was our second team playing and we are still in the next stage.


We enjoy a cruise of 26k and 5 locks to Villeneuve-sur-Yonne – although the locks on the Yonne have sloping walls either on one side or both in which case a pontoon is provided for pleasure boats.  Friday is Charles birthday so we want to find somewhere nice to celebrate and Charlie (Moondancer) recommended an Auberge in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne where apparently one of France’s Presidents used to travel by helicopter from Paris to have a meal so it must be good. When we pop in to book a table we are told it is “complet, complet, complet” – in other words full and for the whole weekend too!!

One of two old city gates

After walking around the pretty village which is a very old fortified town founded by King Louis V11 in the 12th century and served as the royal residence in the middle ages in the centre of which is a large church which beautiful stain glass windows.

Yes another stunning church

Determined to eat out we find the only other place open – a Pizzeria and really enjoy the meal with very friendly staff.

Empty quay at Sens

Saturday 30th we move on to Sens a distance of 17k and 4 locks and are surprised to find the quay empty. We have visited this town before but have forgotten how big it is with plenty of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.

Sens Cathedral
Harley Davidson bikes and Veteran American Car parade

The Cathedral of St Stephen is the first great Gothic cathedral in France and it certainly takes centre stage. Having booked a table at Thai Tei  after reading good reveiws on line we are not disappointed. The proprietor could not have been more helpful in ensuring I get a vegetarian meal to enjoy and the flavours are amazing.

Taking advantage of the free electricity I get up to date with all the washing and ironing and we enjoy not doing much at all. On Sunday morning we are pleased to see a familiar barge approach and recognise Tom and Carole on Vivante so enjoy an aperitif or two and a catch up on their boat in the evening.  They are very familiar with The Bourgogne and provide us with lots of places to visit and restaurants to sample.

Still lots of room


We stay put until Wednesday the 4th July when we decide it really is time to move on so have a long day travelling to Joigny 35k and 7 locks.

Lovely quiet mooring in Joigny

There are 5 possible mooring on the river but for a barge of our size not so easy so we moor on the outskirts of the town with stunning views of the Gothic and Renaissance styled St Thibault Church.

Carved wooden exterior

This is a pretty town built in terraces at the edge of the Forest of Othe with many old houses still standing through narrow winding streets.  The only down side was a slight feeling of unease by a number of groups of youths who seems truculent to visitors.

“Do I smell steak and chips … ?”

On our walk back to the boat we pass Anthonia with Jeremy and Carol enjoying an aperitif on their deck and they invite us to join them. It is interesting to hear of their travels through Belgium and Holland which whets our appetite to explore these countries in the near future. Thursday is a rainy day so we stay put and I manage a run in the afternoon in between showers. We also take advantage of the large supermarket a few minutes walk away to stock up once again.

Jeremy and Carol on ‘Anthonia’
Early morning departure from Joigny

Jeremy and Carol join us in the evening for a few drinks  and we have a very pleasant evening.On Friday the 6th of July having received notification that our long awaited part has arrived we travel 19k with 3 locks to The Canal de Bourgogne and moor in the port at Laroche-Migennes and arrange with Simon to fit the part on Monday. Apart from hire boats the ports only other resident is Belle Vie a one year old wide beam recently arriving in France from the UK with Steve and Maggie and their very friendly 18 month old boxer dog.

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