Briare 

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25/7/2013 - 27/7/2013

The pretty town of Briare, where the Loire river and its lateral canal unite with the Loing, has 2 ports. A newer mainly commercial one en route to the Canal láteral à la Loire and an old port for pleasure boats in the middle of town.

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After branching off into the old arm of the canal we were welcomed at lock No.2 by the harbourmaster of the old port, a very friendly man with excellent English. He guided us from the beautiful old capitainerie to a suitable mooring spot, helped us tie up and provided us with information about the town.

Right on the quay we found the by boaties recommended restaurant " Le Petit Saint Trop" and contrary to our "lets watch our figures" intention we had another 3 course lunch!

But who wants to cook in this ongoing heat?! The only relief has been a few thunderstorms, our deck shower and the fan we have going all night long.

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Though in saying that, we haven't been too lazy. We have walked extensively through the town and cycled 3km to the supermarket and back.

Everywhere we went we discovered mosaics. They grace shops, flower pots and park benches.  Mosaic plates also mark the diverse sights. So we visited the Mosaic and Enamel Museum of Briare and learned that the local inventor and engineer J.F. Bapterosse turned the art into an industry producing tiles and buttons which apparently put Briare onto the world map. The museum itself with it's 3 rooms of display we found somewhat overpriced. But the tile collection in the actual factory showroom is beautiful and there are also some great examples of mosaics in the local church.

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The St. Etienne church also has a colourful, if unusual rosette with the Zodiac signs signifying the passing of time.

The most fascinating feature of Briare has to be the "Pont Canal", the 662 meter long aqueduct, designed with help of engineer Eiffel and built in 1890-1896. This steel channel, the longest in Europe, guides the canal across the Loire river.

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I am currently contemplating tossing Austin over the edge of the Pont Canal. He constantly makes me beg and uses bribes to let me view photos of our grandchild, Jaxon, on Facebook, after making long drawn-out sounds like"aaaah!"

Watch this space!




28/7/2013

We are still in Briare and like it so much that we even consider to winterise our boat here in 2014.

The commercial harbour has a boat mechanic and some boat supplies. We ordered 2 more fenders- you can never have too many- which should arrive tomorrow. We also discovered that in front of lock 2 is a quay-side diesel filling station which is not mentioned in our waterways guide.

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After getting some well need exercise biking along the old canal, we visited Briare's "Le Musée Des Deux Marines Et Du Pont Canal". Phew! A long name but   well worth a visit. It has great displays and videos of the history of the canal, boats used on the waterways since Roman times, river and canal life throughout history and the engineering of the aqueduct.

Well, Austin survived another day! 

He is trying very hard to improve his French. On top of his standard and very well pronounced phrase:"Parlez vous Anglais?" he now answers when asked after the name of our boat:"Freshvo-téur!"

Tomorrow we leave here and move down into the Canal láterale de la Loire.

© Austin Robinson 2019