Despite being a town mired in events of wartime, Verdun was a lovely place to moor for a couple of nights but it was soon time to cast-off and head further south towards our final mooring of the year at St Jean de Losne (StJdeL), which we are hoping to reach in time for the Salon Fluvial where we will be one of the Piper show boats.
The big hills and slate cliffs of the Ardennes valley started to give way to the more rolling landscape of the southern Meuse as we sedately cruised further onwards. Our first sight of Storks and spectacular ‘big skies’, perhaps a little more grey than we hoped for – the skies, not the storks, kept the long journey to our next mooring interesting.
The words “long journey” are not usually associated with our modus operandi (I must be reading too much crime fiction!) but in this case needs must. These particular needs really centre around the time scale we have to get to the afore mentioned boat show in StJdeL in time to get Anticus spruced up before opening day on the 25 September. Not only that, but we also need to plan a visit by Nicola back to our home in the UK for a couple of appointments and to check on the general well being of sons and house. For this we need a town with a station that will get her into Paris and onwards to London – this put Nancy firmly on our radar which would fulfil the travel needs, was about 3 weeks from StJdeL and about a week from our present location. This meant though that we would have to push-on a little to meet these deadlines, so necessitating a couple of long days. In this case a 25 mile, 10 lock, 7 hour cruise to St Mihiel!
Imagine then our disappointment to arrive in St Mihiel to find no available mooring spaces in the town! No problem however, we have a Piper 49M ! Designed to be able to, amongst other things, wild moor on the bank of French rivers and canals. And that is just what we did.
As you can see, the view was beautiful, the dog walking was great, the road quiet, the night pitch black, and we even had a satellite signal to catch up on the Tokyo Olympics.
The following day we untied and set sail – well actually put the engine into gear and pressed on stopping in the pretty town of Commercy and a quiet village, Pagny-Sur-Meuse.
From Pagny it was a short hop through a heavily weed filled waterway to the lovely city of Toul. And here a plans changed a little – no more Nancy, you hoo to Toul. We managed to get a lovely quay-side mooring with water and electricity close by, not to mention a lovely cafe on our doorstep, and a spectacularly beautiful small city 5 minutes walk away. Ou plans changed because we decided to take advantage of the reasonable mooring rates (10€ a night), the proximity of the station (3 mins walk) and the convenience and beauty of the moorings. So here we are for a couple of weeks.
Prepare yourselves for an in depth look at Toul in the next couple of updates!