Lumes (waters new)


After the last couple of days of unseasonably cool and grey weather it was pleasant to wake up to the sun streaming through the bedroom porthole on Wednesday morning.  Karen and I had a day apart which is most unusual for us.  Well, we spent some of the morning and some of the afternoon separately as I was on car moving duties.  A 10-minute walk took me down the high street to Verdun bus station.  On the way I passed the monument to the soldiers who were awarded the Verdun medal for fighting in the WWI Battle of Verdun.

Monument to the holders of the medal of Verdun

I’d heard of the medal before but hadn’t realised that it isn’t an officially recognised war medal.  The French government only issued medals for campaigns and not battles within campaigns; however, it is one of the most famous medals, probably because the Battle of Verdun was one of the most devastating in terms of loss of life.

Early morning start to find the bus station in Verdun

I had an hour’s bus ride to Commercy and found the car safe and sound where I’d left it outside the velodrome and was back in Verdun an hour later.  The bus and car journeys took the same length of time because the road was a single carriageway and also the fact that the bus only stopped a couple of times for passengers.  As the empty jerry cans were in the car, I took the opportunity to fill them at a fuel station on the way back.

This is where I have to admit to a rookie error I made when we came back to France a fortnight ago.  We arrived back on the Monday afternoon and had got the boat ready for leaving within a couple of hours.  One thing that I didn’t do was dip the fuel tank to see how much fuel we had and that was because in my mind we’d filled up before we’d left and that was the mistake.   When I checked the diesel tank after the first week, I was absolutely shocked that we had less than a quarter of a tank left and, frighteningly, we'd been on the river Moselle: not a good place to have run the tank dry.  Another error to add to those I still make despite my age.

In the afternoon I took the car further downstream to Stenay which was another journey of an hour followed by an hour’s bus trip back to Verdun.  Driving through one of the villages my eye was drawn to a couple of the Lorraine style houses that I mentioned in the last blog update.  These two were ripe for renovation by those with the right skills and mindset:

Having stayed in Verdun for two nights we’ll be moving further downstream on Thursday.  We’re due to meet our éclusier itinérant at the first lock at 10am which means we’ll need to leave by 8.30.  I used the French terminology to describe the lockie because Chris Hutchins had been in touch about my use of, ‘itinerant éclusier’.  He quite rightly pointed out that I should probably be using the word peripatetic instead of itinerant.  I admit I was using an anglicisation so from now on it’ll either be ‘peripatetic lockie’ or ‘éclusier itinérant’.


Whilst staying in Verdun we’ve been moored opposite the old Banque de France building which has been restored and is currently being converted to flats and offices.  Two years ago, we were moored in the same spot and at that time the building was covered in scaffolding and the stonework was very drab and dirty.  We both felt that a good job had been carried out.

The restored Banque de France overlooking the river

We left Verdun in the sunshine at 8.30 on Thursday morning in order to reach the first lock by the agreed time of 10am.

Passing porte de Chaussée, built in 1380, as we left Verdun

Back in 2021 we stayed in Verdun for several days and if you want to find out more about what we did and saw in the town and surrounding area then dip into the blog entries around that time by clicking here.  

By mid-morning the sun had all but gone and we spent the rest of the journey under chilly grey skies.  The Meuse valley was now wide, and we had some wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.

A straight stretch of canal

We saw one boat on the move and by coincidence it was coming out of a lock just as we were heading for it.  The majority of the journey was still on the canal with only a couple of river sections.  As usual the weirs on both sections felt most unprotected.  It won’t be for anther 40km or so until we’re on the river Meuse for the majority of the time with the occasional lock cut.

It was a long cruise for us, five hours in total and we stopped for the day at Sivry-sur-Meuse.  It started raining soon after we moored up and continued for a couple of hours before brightening up for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Evening at Sivry-sur-Meuse

On Thursday we cruised 19km down five locks.


The sun had returned on Friday, and we set off at 9am to meet our éclusier at the first lock 15 minutes later.  We had another long day planned as we’re still travelling through places we visited in 2021.  We’re hoping that by the end of the weekend we’ll be in Sedan which is the furthest north we got to on the Meuse before we had to turn around because the canal des Ardennes was closed due to lack of water.  At least we’ll be able to start waters new next week and also get to slow down somewhat. 

The upper Meuse valley looked so different in glorious sunshine compared with the last couple of grey days:

We had three locks with our éclusier and then we said our goodbyes just before Dun-sur-Meuse as the locks from thereon reverted to automatic, operated by using our télécommande.  It’s been fun being locked down by éclusiers but one positive of being back on automated locks is that we’ll be more in control and will have a lot more flexibility; we always feel a bit guilty if we have to ring the control centre to say we’ve changed our minds.

Approaching Dun-sur-Meuse

When we were in the lock at Dun-sur-Meuse a couple were taking a keen interest in us.  Coming closer, they explained that they’d seen us there two years previously and had spoken with us then.  They lived locally and since they saw us had taken in a Ukrainian couple.  The Ukrainian lady was with them but her husband, who was blind, was back at the house.

The French couple with their pink-coated Ukrainian houseguest

Now we’re getting further downstream the river sections are getting more numerous, last for longer, and still have unprotected weirs.

Cows taking an interest in us in a canalised section

We moored for the day on a spit of land between the river and lock cut in Stenay where I’d moved the car to a couple of days ago.  The campervan park opposite us was bustling with holidaymakers - there were at least three dozen vans parked up and, according to the electronic scoreboard at the entrance, room for another 49.  We're not really up on charges for vans but at 10€ a night including water and electricity and a free drink at the bar it seemed pretty reasonable.

 Moored at Stenay

I know we explored Stenay and followed the town trail before but I can't help including just one picture.  

I just love a waterwheel

On Friday we cruised 26km down seven locks.


Much of my spare time this week has been spent dealing with our UK and French income tax affairs.  The French tax year is the same as the calendar year and returns have to be finished around the end of May of the following year.  The French system is online and the tax return process for 2022 opened this Monday and, as no paper forms are required, it’s been relatively straightforward.  Not so for the UK side of things.  As foreign residents, we’re not able to use the HMRC online system and have to make paper returns each year.  Not too onerous you would think as forms are easily downloaded, but for 2022/23 the system has changed.  Non-UK residents have to ring HMRC to get the main tax return form mailed out as it can no longer be downloaded; strangely, the supplementary forms can still be downloaded.

All this means that the HMRC phone lines are now busier than ever, and it took me more than half a dozen attempts to get through to ask for a form.  I hung on for between 30 minutes and an hour on each failed attempt before giving up.  The girl I finally spoke with was as exasperated as I was and said that she and her colleagues were up in arms because they have had no explanation why the retrograde (and to us and them, a pointless) step has been made thus making the phone lines even busier than usual.

To keep on track for reaching Sedan on Sunday we left earlyish on a sunny Saturday morning.  After a couple of kilometres, we were on the river and stayed there until reaching Mouzon early in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, it started raining once we were on the river and as it wasn’t possible to stop anywhere, we put our wet weather gear on and kept going.  The scenery would be stunning on a beautifully clear day but I’ll include some grey pictures anyway.

Meuse valley vineyards
Raining on the river
The rain stopped for the last hour of the cruise

We both thought that the second lock we dropped down was probably the remotest lock we’ve been through and the steep wooded hillside on the left bank made for a dramatic backdrop.

We know European beavers are now quite widespread in this part of France but have yet to see one.  For much of the journey though we saw evidence of the damage they cause: the bases of trees gnawed through and felled trees laying along the bank or half in the water.

The rain stopped for the last hour or so and then restarted just as we were mooring up in the lock cut in Mouzon giving us a good excuse to stay in and watch the women’s rugby.

On Saturday we cruised 25km down three locks.


We’d stayed in the Mouzon lock cut on Saturday night just up from the port and campervan site.  Mouzon port is one of those where an overnight fee is charged even for boaters not wanting electricity or water.  We didn’t need either, so we opted for our bankside mooring as, with an enclosed grassy bank, it was better for Buddy in addition to being a quieter spot.

Vanners still asleep on Sunday morning in Mouzon

It was a shorter journey to Sedan than we’ve had for the last few days and only a couple of locks to go down so at the halfway point we took a detour up an arm of the Meuse.  The plan being to moor a kilometre or so upstream and go exploring.  A little further up the arm the river Chiers, a tributary to the Meuse, used to be navigable for another 35kms but the industry served disappeared at the beginning of the 20th century. 

As soon as we turned onto the arm to head upstream, we could feel the flow was pretty strong.  The boat was finding it a real struggle, and I was getting a bit concerned about how we would turn around safely as the river wasn’t particularly wide.  I picked a longish straight stretch, importantly without any bridge piers, and started the turn with my heart in my mouth.  I managed to get the bows around and was rather hoping the current would turn them faster than it did.  All of a sudden, I realised the stern wasn’t coming around quickly enough even at full throttle and we were going to drift sideways downstream further than I’d anticipated.  A fallen tree was laying out from the bank, and it was going to be touch and go if we were going to complete the turn in time before being stopped by it.  We just about finished the turn in time and the only damage was the loss of our French flag caught by an overhanging branch.  Once we'd re-joined the open, and calmer, main river we both felt very relieved and admitted to each other that we’d been really scared and that it was the most frightening event we have had on the boat. 

As flying the French flag is a legal requirement, we felt that the cost of 5€ to replace it was a small price to pay.  To add insult to our injured pride it started drizzling and stayed that way until we reached Sedan and moored in the port/campervan park there.

Moored in Sedan

The rain continued off and on all afternoon but we didn’t mind as we had the French girls’ rugby game to watch.  Now we’ve arrived at Sedan we’ve reached the furthest point north that we got to in 2021 before turning back. So, from now on, we’ll be on new waters for us as we head further downstream towards Belgium followed by a trip along the canal des Ardennes.  Since leaving Parroy three weeks ago we’ve travelled just over 240 kilometres through 83 locks.

Our journey northwards so far this year

On Sunday we cruised 17km down two locks.


Looking down at our mooring at Sedan

Another car fetching day; this time a little more convoluted as it involved both a train and a bus ride.  I caught a train from Sedan to Montmédy where I had an hour to wait for a bus to Stenay where we’d left the car at the port.  Those of you who read the blog regularly or have been to the area will know that Montmédy is famous for its citadel and old town on top of the hill overlooking the current town.  As I had an hour to kill, I walked up the hill to reacquaint myself with the place.

Driving back to Sedan I managed to find a couple of lavoirs.  In addition to being stream fed, the one at Laneuville-sur-Meuse had an impluvium style roof to collect rainwater directly into the basin which, unfortunately, looks like it’s kept dry nowadays.

Lavoir in Laneuville-sur-Meuse

Whilst I was away Karen went for a run further downstream and was pleased to find that there is now a cycle path alongside the river for the next 100km to the Belgian border.  This means she’ll be able to run ahead of the boat when we’re on the move without worrying whether the path she’s following will peter out.

We stayed in Sedan for the rest of Monday, mainly pottering around.


With sun forecast all day we were a little put out that it was raining when we woke up, but as it had stopped by the time we’d had breakfast we set off for our next stop.  From now on everything was going to be new to us so we were quite excited at the prospect.  The 23 locks from Sedan up to the Belgian border at Givet are an unusual size.  At 47.5m x 5.7m they are slightly larger than the smallest Freycinet standard locks and apparently Meuse barges were originally built to the same gauge although it would be most unusual for a modern péniche to be built to the same size.

Exiting the lock in the middle of Sedan, the prop began to really judder, so we had to stop.  We were almost immediately on the river and were fortunate to find some railings to tie the back end to while I went down the weed hatch.  It transpired that a long length of plastic sheeting had got caught around the prop which I soon extricated.  This was our first trip to the weed hatch to remove rubbish as opposed to weed during our time in France, so we considered ourselves lucky it hadn’t happened before.  We were also lucky that it happened in a lock as opposed to on the river itself. 

Apart from very short lock cuts, like the one on Sedan, we were now on the river Meuse all the time and, as we were travelling with the flow, we made good time.  We were soon passing the entrance to the canal des Ardennes where we will be returning to in five or six weeks after first travelling further down the Meuse.

The entrance to the canal des Ardennes

We fancied mooring up for a while so wondered if we could make use of some old commercial bollards on the riverbank.  Try as we might we just couldn’t get close enough and had to give up.  It would be a lot easier on a large boat that had some height compared to ours, because a line could be thrown down and around a bollard.  Mind you our rope throwing skills are nowhere near those of the professionals.

The valley flattened somewhat after leaving Sedan and the hills in the distance didn’t seem as high, so the views were quite different to those we’ve been seeing recently. 

When we reached the lock cut at Dom-le-Mesnil we found a likely place to moor for a while alongside a disused barrage keeper’s house.  There were old landing stages either side of the cut that were used to obtain access to the house by boat and we managed to make use of the old railings leading down one side.

Moored in Dom-le-Mesnil lock cut

Later in the afternoon we carried on for a while and moored on a long pontoon in a place called Lumes.  We wondered if Buddy remembered it as we dropped him off here three years ago for a holiday with Nikki and Gorete and their dog Bailey while we went back to the UK for a few days.

Moored in Lumes

Later in the afternoon we went for a walk along the river, coming back via Lumes itself.  There was very little in the way of commerce for a town, but it did boast the ugliest mairie we’ve come across.  The mairie is also the first we’ve seen without any flags flying, not even the obligatory tricolour.

Ugly and flag-free mairie

On the other hand the church was quite a contrast to the mairie:

Next to the mairie, we found a lavoir, this time full of water.  It also had a fireplace at the rear where water would have been heated in the bucket above.

The lavoir was under a building and we did wonder if the building was originally the mairie.  Mairies were often built above a lavoir, so the men worked upstairs while the women worked below.  It did mean the lavandières were protected from inclement weather.

Lavoir entrance to the left of the 'Lumes' hedge

We passed the remains of Lumes castle which was built in the early 1500s.  We searched for a way into the field in which it stood but it appeared to be part of a farm.

Ramparts of Lumes château

On Tuesday we cruised just over 20km down four locks.

Verdun (an unexpected lavoir)


Friday was ‘fetch the car’ day and it was an early start so we didn’t waste too much of the day.  First, I had to take a train to Nancy where I was expecting to wait just over half an hour for a train to Dombasle-sur-Meurthe where we’d left the car.  Apart from people visiting the boulangeries, Commercy was quiet at that time of day, and it was strange to see the hôtel de ville area devoid of tourists and cars.

Château de Commercy, now the hôtel de ville

Rather than clutching the normal wrap of baguettes as they left the boulangerie some people were carrying clear plastic bags full of madeleines.  It had never occurred to me that madeleines were used by some people in place of bread in the capital of madeleines.

Not surprisingly, as the train was going into Nancy, there were quite a few people on board; a mixture of commuters, students and holidaymakers.  The train pulled in on time and looking at the departure board I suddenly realised that if I ran across the concourse to the far side of the station, I could catch an earlier connection.  I made it just in time and spent the rest of the journey worrying about what I would do if the car wasn’t where we’d left it.  Pulling into the station, my worrying stopped as I could see the car still on the street where we’d left it. 

I had a 75km drive back to the boat and, after a quick coffee break, we drove to a fuel station to fill the jerry cans with diesel and then to a garden centre to buy some plants.  Karen told me that VNF had knocked on the boat whilst I was away as they wanted to know what our plans were because a body had been found in a lock further downstream.  She explained that we’d hoped to get through that particular lock later in the day and they said it wouldn’t be a problem, so she wasn’t really sure why they were asking in the first place. 

Once we’d unloaded the car, we set off for Sampigny and immediately passed the official Commercy town mooring. It consisted of a long pontoon and was full of the same unloved boats that were there when we came through two years ago.  It’s a shame that that sort of situation is allowed to develop and persist as it would make a pleasant mooring, handy for looking around Commercy.  Fortunately, we’ve only seen the same thing in a couple of other places during our travels.

Same old boats hogging the facilities at Commercy

We only went on one river section on the journey and soon after the second lock (no sign of a body or a police presence) we were approaching Sampigny.  It was at this point that we saw a great many swallows that accompanied us for probably 300 metres, we assume they were picking off the insects we were disturbing as we went along.  Although we have seen the odd one or two since we arrived this was the first day we’d seen swallows in numbers this year. We haven’t seen any kingfishers since our return either which is really unusual especially as we’ve been on rivers.  Making this comment again when we were watching the swallows reminded Karen that she did see a kingfisher on her run along the Meuse the previous day but had forgotten to tell me.

There are two mooring spots in the village of Sampigny: a set of bollards and a pontoon.  We didn’t fancy the bollards as they were alongside a wood and hence would be quite gloomy in the evening.  We moored on the pontoon even though it was too short for us and as it was quite windy, we secured the overhang at the front with pins and a long line.

Pontoon mooring at Sampigny

On Friday we cruised 10.5km down two locks as well as taking two trains and driving 75km.


We awoke to unexpected rain on Saturday so delayed setting off until the weather brightened up which, according to the updated forecast, it was meant to do.  As we’d not looked around Sampigny when we came through here before, we took a walk around the village instead.  At the entrance to the village a disused railway track ran across the road and the impressive looking building, that we could see from our mooring, turned out to be the old railway station complete with its name plate:

Earlier I’d carried out some research on the web to see if there was a lavoir in Sampigny but there was no mention of one, and a quick look on Street View didn’t yield one either.  Imagine our surprise when Karen caught sight of one while I was still looking at the station:

It was set on a small waterway called ‘mountain stream’, which was a bit strange considering we weren’t near any mountains.  The stream was high therefore the lavoir itself was flooded so, even if it wasn’t locked, we wouldn’t have been able to go inside.  Looking at the number of flower box holders positioned on the bridge and also the railings along the bank opposite the lavoir it must be a pretty location in the summer.  We found it quaint that a sign on the lavoir still indicated it was the ladies’ laundry.

As we’ve come to expect with rural French villages it was very quiet, and we only saw a couple of cars on the move as we walked around.   The grand mairie still had a Ukrainian flag flying but it was now rather the worse for wear:

The war memorial also looked a little uncared for:

Church steeple in the background

The village map outside the mairie indicated there was a château built in the 1630s so we went in search of that next.  We were a bit disappointed when we found it as it was in ruins and surrounded by some modern housing.  As proof that not everything on the web is true, we found out later that it was destroyed in WWI and then another site said it was destroyed in WWII, then a third site told us that it was occupied by the US army until 1950.

Château d’Henriette de Lorraine

As it was at the turn of the 20th century

As we often try to do, we made our walk a circular one and left the village at the far side to find a way back to the boat.  Leaving the edge of the village we went through a field full of wood piles and then followed the old railway tracks back to the station.

The sun was out by the time we returned so we got ourselves ready and set off for St-Mihiel.  We were in a canalised section for a while whose banks were more reminiscent of being on a river:

At the first lock, when we were 10km from St-Mihiel, Karen got off to run the rest of the way while Buddy and I took the boat down the river and two more locks.

There was an éclusier at the St-Mihiel lock who asked what our plans were.  He needed to know as the next 17 locks will be operated for us by itinerant éclusiers so I told him we would be leaving at 10.00am on Sunday.  After those 17 locks we will return to using the télécommande until further downstream when the locks become 185-metre river locks and we will be back to using radio communications.  The éclusier told us that there was only one other boat on the next 100km or so and he was going in the same direction as us and was also moored at St-Mihiel.

Moored at St-Mihiel opposite another lavoir

We’d spent some happy hours exploring the town previously and also walked around the surrounding hills where some of the woods still contained trenches from WWI.  This time we took it easy and potted up the plants we’d bought in Commercy then settled down to watch the England ladies thrash Wales in the Six Nations.  As usual the commentary was fascinating as phrases like, ‘big old unit’ and ‘built like a brick outhouse’ are just not used like they are in men’s matches.

On Saturday we cruised 11.5km down three locks.


A much cooler day greeted us on Sunday and it was positively chilly at times as we cruised to Ambly-sur-Meuse. 

Leaving St-Mihiel on a chilly Sunday

We’d arranged with our éclusier that we would leave St-Mihiel at 10.00am and he would then meet us at the first lock which would be about 11.00am but when we arrived there was no one there but the lock was set in our favour.  We hovered outside for a while and after five minutes Karen opened one of the top gates so we could wait inside the lock.  We’d completely forgotten that the 17 locks that were going to be seen through are entirely manual in that the gates and paddles are opened and closed manually as on UK canals – a rare sight in France.  As we didn’t have a French windlass, and we’d probably have got into trouble anyway, Karen closed the gate behind me, and we tied up before calling VNF.

Once we got through to the control centre at Verdun it soon transpired why the éclusier wasn’t there to meet us.  They’d thought we were meeting at the lock at 10.00am and filled the lock ready for us but had given up after waiting for an hour.  They (and me) were very apologetic about the misunderstanding, and they said it would be an hour or so before our man arrived so we ended up having an early lunch in the lock.

The éclusier turned up in a VNF van, a far superior means of transport compared with the bicycles and mopeds used by itinerant éclusiers on a couple of stretches of the Bourgogne and the Nivernais canals.  These latter two canals are the only other times we’ve had this service.  Our man was apologetic again and was more than pleased that we only needed one gate opened at each end.

Our man in a van

We said our farewells after the fourth lock in a village called Amby-sur-Meuse and all three of us made sure we agreed on when and where we’d be meeting next!

Moored on the short pontoon at Ambly-sur-Meuse

We tied up just in time to see the French girls thrash the Scots in their Six Nations match.

On Sunday we cruised 18km down four locks.


What’s happening to the weather?  It’s the second half of April and it felt more like the end of February when we got up on Monday morning.  We’d explored Ambly-sur-Marne before, but I had a sneaky feeling that what I’d thought was a field barn a little distance from the village was worth investigating further.  Sure enough, when I went closer on the morning walk it turned out to be a lavoir but in a very sad state of repair.

Dilapidated lavoir at Ambly-sur-Meuse

It seemed rather large for the number of houses in the village but then more families shared the farm buildings in those days.  There were six cast contraptions along the rear wall, and I just couldn’t fathom what they were – any ideas?  The best suggestion we've heard so far is that they operated like lock gate paddles and lowered or raised boards inside the lavoir to control the height of the water.

It brightened up a bit after lunch, so we had a little cruise down to the lock at Dieue where we’re meeting our éclusier on Tuesday.  There were a few bollards on an old quay on an inset just above the lock, so we moored up there for the day.  It was next to a campervan stop and it all looked rather dismal, but we were only stopping one night so weren’t too bothered.

Mooring at Dieue

There were two town trails advertised on an information board at the mooring and we decided to follow the ‘old town’ trail.  It was a bit of a misnomer for the most part as the first few sites were in an area of modern housing.  Still, we should be pleased that they were being preserved such as this WWI billet which was also used as air raid shelter in WWII.

The diagram on the information board clearly showed the relative thickness of the walls of the structure, it also indicated that there were still four of these shelters in the town, but we couldn’t find any more.

Cross section of billet/air raid shelter

On a little backwater, not on the trail, we found two lavoirs built in the same style and only 50 metres apart:

The trail sent us into the cemetery to see a copy of a statue, ‘the swooning madonna’ by Ligier Richier.  Richier was a famous sculptor and was born in the year 1500 in St-Mihiel where we’d moored on Sunday and we’d seen a few examples of his work during our visit in 2021.

Not sure why she was swooning

Dieue war memorial

One thing the trail had explained was about the traditional style of Lorraine housing where the living area was shared with animals and their feed.  We’re used to spotting this kind of housing in villages, but were surprised how many had been sympathetically converted in a town like Dieue, leaving the exterior detailing.

In the house above, the living area was to the left

Once we started visiting spots where interesting places once stood rather than the real thing, we gave up following the trail and made our way back to the boat for the evening. 

On Monday we cruised six km through no locks.


The sun was back on Tuesday and dead on 10am, as arranged, our éclusier arrived.  In fact it was an éclusiere, our first female lockie this year.  She stayed with us for the three-hour journey seeing us down the five locks to Verdun.

Our éclusiere for Tuesday

Seeing the girl using a windlass made me think about these 17 locks in the middle section of the canal de Meuse that are still manually operated.  Knowing that there is no commercial traffic, very few hotel boats and no hire boats it wouldn’t be possible to cost justify converting them to automatic operation.  Not only that, but there seem to be very few pleasure boaters as we have already been told that there is only one other boat moving on this upper 100km section of the canal.  On top of that, the towpath hasn’t been converted to a cycle path as they have on most canals so there are no cyclists or walking tourists being attracted to the area.  It seems incredible that the canal is actually kept open with such little traffic – we consider ourselves most fortunate.

Most of the journey was on the canal with just a stretch of river for a few kilometres once we were nearing Verdun:

Arriving at the outskirts of Verdun we left the river and went through a short tunnel under the city walls:

We then rejoined the river and cruised into Verdun passing some of its wonderful riverside houses:

In the centre itself was a very long pontoon alongside the riverfront bars and restaurants.  Not many people were sitting outside as it was quite windy as we found when turning the boat around to face upstream for mooring.  Not only was it windy but there was quite a strong flow on account of the river being narrower through the town and also because it was still higher than its normal level.  We made it without damaging ourselves or the overwintering boat that was already there. 

Moored in the centre of Verdun

Flagpoles had been erected along the quayside since we were last here and it was pleasing to see the Union Jack was amongst the European flags that were flying.  Since Brexit we’ve probably only seen one other town that still flies the Union Jack.

On Tuesday we cruised 13km down five locks.