St Jean de Losne
Tom Fenton and Faith Ressmeyer
Sat 4 Oct 2014 16:21
You can probably see from the map that we are in the heart of Framce. It is also the heart of the French inland waterways. This is a great barge and canal boat centre and, appropriately, there is a museum to barges and bargees. The town is as inordinately attractive as Seurre and Verdun, or more so. But the chief feature of the town us the step quay, just above the bridge, on the Rive Droite (ie on our left because we are going upstream). The alternative to the quay is a basin, but we glimpsed it later, a sad collection of washed up boats away from the mainstream of life. The quay was full when we arrived but as we cruised its length, my plan being to enquire when people were leaving, a Brit called Peter hailed us from his river cruiser and suggested we rafted up to him until a space became available. Peter was a fund of knowledge about the river and the canals. He has been cruising them, he said (if I remember right), for 25 years). He knew not only the location of the railway station (30 mins walk away), but also that there was a ticket office right here in the tourist information office. Where we were later able to verify that Faith's ticket would indeed take her to the airport to Lyons, though with enough uncertainty that this was to be a source of stress for the next 24 hours. The German navy (retired) crew of LeBoat that had been beside us in Seurre were on he quay here, but after their last pastis of their holiday they took their LeBoat into the basin to return it to the hirer. We took their spot. First time we had moored on a step quay, with no cleats or bollards, just a few rings some many metres from the water's edge. A new mooring experience. Almost no flow on the river here, and well sheltered, so m usual mooring with bow and stern lines and bow and stern springs was probably superfluous. (I'd like to say it looked impressive, but it probably looked like a cat's cradle.) We checked Faith airport ticket, and bought our tickets for Dijon (I am going to make sure she gets the right train), and then walked around the town, played our last Scrabble together for several weeks, had a drink with Peter, and then ate Faith's amazing tour de force last night meal, which she modestly calls a pilaf but which I would call a feast for emperors and empresses. You would not believe the flavours she conjured out of our boat's meagre supply of spices. Well, I didn't, but I certainly appreciated them, and will again tonight, because there are left overs, ... But that is another story.
Here we are in the step quay. Peter took this at sunset. And here is Faith in the garden or courtyard of the Tourist Information Office in St Jean.
Okay, it may not look much in the photo (the light was difficult) but we were very impressed with its elegance and tranquility.