A 10 hour flight to Paris, a TGV fast train to Lyon, where Rob meets me at the station – he’s been in port de-winterising Sojourn. This means refilling the tanks with 2000 litres of water, refilling with diesel fuel, servicing the engine, organizing new batteries for the bow thruster, and cutting off the top bar of the wheelhouse so we can get under the low bridges on the Canal du Midi, southern France. It’s an hour and a half “slow” train to Roanne and then I’m home on board Sojourn, our 107 year old Dutch Tjalk. We’re back in France for our 4th season and it’s great to be back
It’s poppy season, Wild flowers growing in fields abound, popping up everywhere.
Why is France so special? What do I love about being back? Life is simpler – and time slows down. Time to savour the moments. The colours seem brighter, the air fresher, old and new blend seamlessly. And of course the food…
Shopping is a pleasure! A ride along the canal to shop, We each carry satchels, Rob carrying the bigger one of course..
Vegetable shopping is a pleasure. Few packaged vegetables.
In fact, all shopping is a pleasure. The art of display which the French have perfected with great elegance.
In Les Halles Diderot, the flower seller displays next to the tea stall. Beauty and style.
And Madame Chocolatier deftly wraps a gift of chocolates.
Special cheeses from la Mons, perhaps the best known cheese shop in the Roannaise valley.
First meal back on board. A simple meal, simply delicious… Cremante (bubbly made the same way as champagne but not grown or made in the designated Champagne area) with crisp nutty bread and salty butter, Comte cheese, endives and chops straight off the braai.
We are invited for lunch with a couple who are bargees and have bought a wonderful restored home which was a Chateau, now with the remains of the historic buildings.
Part of the old Chateau and buildings built a thousand or so years ago.
The restored home
Georgina our hostess, a breeder of champion Lipizzaner horses
Her View from the kitchen window
Her table setting with pinks and views out each window or door to delight
Our cheese board, mature Comte, creamy goats cheese, and a ripe cheese that looks dangerous but tastes superb
Chocolate coated strawberries … simply decadent and irresistible
More views… even a swimming pool to cool off in mid summer..
We’re meeting a couple to play boules now… and then sharing a glass or two with the other bargees in the port. Our Neighbour barge has invited us to dinner on board tomorrow night, so we’ve had to delay leaving till Saturday…