Our best decision this week is to move a short journey of 10k with 6 locks to Tanlay, primarily so we can watch the evening firework display at Commissey. Firstly our lock keepers Rémi and Manon must be the friendliest lock keepers in France. As its July the 14th and Bastille Day they have bunting, sun glasses all in the French colours and look wonderfully patriotic. They even delay their lunch break to get us through the last lock before Tanlay.
There is a very popular Pizzeria in the Port and as there is a free table it would be rude not to have lunch there. Then we meet two of the lovliest people; Matthew and David from Hotel Barge Elisabeth moored just behind us. They’ve recently taken it over and after enjoying a G & T on their deck they show us inside – as I am a nosey so and so I am keen to take a look and they have made such a good job of making the interior look fresh, airy and cosy and any guest will certainly enjoy their trip.
Commissey is a very small village and we do not have great expectations but at 10.30pm take a walk up the canal and are surprised by the number of people gathering – we are even more surprised by the quality of the firework display – not huge but bigger than we expected and glad we made the effort.
On Sunday after a 14 mile run we go across to the Pizzeria for our Sunday lunch and join Matthew and David who had arrived just before us. We enjoy a couple of pichets of Rosé and laze away the afternoon before they return to watch the Wimbledon Mens Finals and we watch France beat Croatia in the World Cup Final – I’m not a bitter person but as Croatia beat us I’m over the moon with the result.Then we start drinking again with Matthew and David joining us and as the liquid flows we all miss dinner but instead David bobs back to his boat returning with a variety of cheeses which are delicious. Not only do we get some good suggestions of wines and places to visit Matthew also offers to collect us to take us shopping if we need to whilst we are in the vicinity – how nice is that!! The website for the hotel boat is: http://www.hotelbargeelisabeth.com
Before we leave Tanlay on Monday (16th) we take a walk to the French Renaissance Château and enjoy a guided tour spoken in French but we grasp most of it. It was built in the 16th and 17th century and is surrounded by a moat. Our stop today is at Lézinnes a trip of 10k and 5 locks are pleased to find Rémi and Manon looking after us one again but we have to say our goodbyes as they don’t work any further along the canal.We are up early on Tuesday so I can get a 5 mile run in before we get into our first lock of the day at 9am. Once again we travel 10k but with only 4 locks to Ancy le France where we intend to stay a couple of days. We get the bikes out and make a 21 round trip ride to visit la Forêt des Geants Verts – climbing up the steep hill I hope it’s worth it.
Well it is really bizarre as we make our way around the forest we suddenly come across a sculpture and with a good bit of imagination can make out a giant fish or couple embracing. It is quite fun but had I known in advance I’m not sure I would have punished myself cycling up the hill. Charles had to push his bike some of the way but felt the journey was worth it and really enjoyed the displays.
On Wednesday we decide to cycle to Noyers a medieval village on the recommendation of Tom and Carol (Vivante). Its only 16k they said, it’s a bit hilly they said…… our definition of ‘a bit’ and theirs is completely different…. ha ha!!!
On route we pass a field with a farmer muck spreading who on seeing us definitely speeds up and aims his tractor towards us – that gives us both the incentive to pedal harder to get past the field – surely it is just our imagination; do farmers actually have a sense of humour?
All I can say it’s a good job the village is interesting and we enjoy a lovely salad at Restaurant Les Millesimes and a couple of glasses of Chablis for me and a couple of bottles of Artisan Beer for Charles. We take a different route back in the hope of avoiding some of the hills but to no avail and I have to admit there are a few grumpy words bandied about before we get back to the boat. It was worth the effort though….It doesn’t take us long to recover and we decide to walk into the town to the 16th century Château of Ancy for the candle lit music and dancing within the grounds – interesting!! It certainly looks impressive with a mixture of Italian and French styles built in the 16th Century at the request of Antionee lll de Clermont. He died in 1578 and his grandson Charles-Henri de Clermont completed the interior and once completed hosted a number of prestigious guests including Henry lll, Louis Xlll and Louis XlV – plus of course Charles and I in 2018.
There is also an ‘Apero’ evening in the village square complete with a jazz band. We stay for a a few minutes but decide we are too weary to enjoy it so walk back to the boat and bed. Both Charles and I now feel we have had enough culture for now so decide it is time to move on.