Tuesday, September 05, 2006


As we continued down the Oise, on a lovely sunny day, we saw some of the prettiest little towns along the river. We stopped at Isle Adam which showed a mooring on the Navicarte, but the pontoon was broken, and there was no access to shore. We decided to continue on to Cergy, since we were pressed to arrive at Conflans, where our friends Michel and Jacqueline from Chauny, were waiting for us. I Called the Port to make a reservation for our boat, the Captain told me where to moor, so we continued on. When we got to the port, the pontoons were so close together and it was o difficult to turn, that we decided to tie the boat outside the port along the quay, where we were still able to hook up to electricity and to top up our water tanks. The port is modern, but very charming, with restaurants and cafes all around. We went for a walk in the village, and saw a very beautiful XII - XVI C. Church, and lovely stone houses in the old town. After dinner on the boat I got some writing done and settled down for a good night sleep.

Next morning we got up early, so we could be in Conflates for Wednesday market, which is set up on the quay. Conflates is on The Seine, as you turn upstream from the Oise. It was very exciting being in THE SEINE on our Biesbosch. The town is quite interesting, especially for those who are interested in barges and their history. It is a place where retired "batelliers" permanently moor their peniches when they retire to live out their days. There are hundreds of them along the right bank of the river. The Musee de la Batellerie is housed in an old chateau, and is really worth the visit.

As we were approaching the town, we were watching out for Perseverance, our friends' boat, which was tied to their friend Daniel's barge. They spotted us, tied us to their boat and gave us a big welcome by preparing us a good cup of coffee. Soon after, we stepped of to the market, not a large one, but most surely an excellent one. We stocked up on fresh vegies and fruits, great meats and, of course, the local cheeses and home made creams and yogurts. Upon our return, we ate together the roast chicken and potatoes from the market. After lunch, I did some laundry and we then went to the museum with Jacqueline and Michael. She is a third generation batelliere herself, so seeing the museum with them, was truly reliving their history. In the evening, we got together for dinner again, a light one this time, but with lovely champagne to start. The next day it was cool and rainy, so we walked down to the Bateau Chapelle, an old barge converted into a church, where the batelliers have their weddings. It was incredible, since it did not feel like a boat at all.
In the afternoon we went to visit a tug boat from W.W.II, owned by the museum. Our stay with our friends was most special. Their friend Daniel, a retired batellier came over with a bottle of wine for us and with his photo albums to show us the history of his boat. His family have owned and driven barges for generations, dating back to the first wooden barges which were pushed by horses.

The next day, we said good bye to our dear friends, and set off for Paris on a cool and cloudy morning. It was a good day to navigate the river, since the commercial traffic is much lighter on weekends. There are only two locks to Paris, but the wait was long. They are enormous, and intimidating, but our Biesbosch, and of course her captain did great. In between locks, we met Bob and Bobbie Marsland on La Chouette. They were going away from Paris to do a bit of painting on their boat. They are the people who sold us Biesbosch.

After a long day of navigation, nine hours, to be precise, we got to Paris, a true dream for us and Biesbosch, and one we were not sure we would realize in this lifetime.


It was very emotional coming into Paris on our boat as we approached the Port of Grenelle, just after The Statue of Liberty gave us her welcome. We tied up the boat at the foot of The Eiffel tower, and the sun, which had not shown its face all day, started to shine for us. We called Sylvia's niece Sylvia and her husband, Laurent to invite them to dinner on Biesbosch. We had a special bottle of champagne and a lovely dinner made by Sylvia. It was a truly special time to share with them. The next day we slept in, took it easy cleaning and organizing the boat and waiting for the rain to subside, without success. We found a Lebanese restaurant nearby, and had a superb lunch. We did a bit of shopping on the way back and walked to The Trocadero to go see the Musee de la Marine, but it was closed. We walked all the way to The Tuileries in the rain to go to the Museum of the Orangerie, which was also closed. We gave up on trying any more museums for the day and walked back to Passy, a lovely area across from the port, where we did a lot of walking and window shopping. We found an Indian restaurant to which we went the next day for lunch.

On Tuesday, our friends Bob and Bobbie arrived back in Paris, so we invited them to have drinks with us on Biesbosch. They brought us a bottle of fine champagne, we had a few things to eat, and a few bottles of wine to go with them. It was great meeting B and B in Paris, and having a visit with them on the boat was very special to us.

After a very good night sleep, we woke up to a gorgeous sunny day, the first one in many, so we o go to market, which they set up on Rue de Grenelle every Wednesday morning. It was quite big, and they had not only fresh produce and meats and veggies, but clothes and all sorts of things. We spent the whole morning there and got some incredibly fresh things. On the way back, we stopped by the supermarket as well, and then had lunch on the boat.
Having been wanting to see the Orangerie since it reopened in the spring, we took the metro and IT WAS OPEN! It is here where Monet first exhibited his Water Lilies, and now the museum has been renovated. There are two halls for his six enormous canvases, which no words can describe, and downstairs they have quite a few others with a very large private collection of fauves and impressionists such as Derain, Cezanne, Modigliani, Utrillo and others. We enjoyed this museum immensely. We had made a date with Sylvia and Laurent to meet them for dinner, so we took a very long walk along the Rue Rivoli to Fg.St. Antoine past Bastille. Each street has its unique character, and the city changes practically with every street that one passes. What a lively city it is. We ate in a little Creperie where we had eaten with them before, a true Bretonne, and a superb one. We left almost at 11:00 PM, said good bye, ant took the metro back to our boat.

Thursday morning we left Paris at around 9:00 AM, said good bye to our friend Bob and Bobbie and to Raul, the captain of the port, who was very nice to us. Our intention was to make it as far as Melun, where there was a nice place to moor the boat for the night, but the wait at the next locks was very long. There was a lot of commercial traffic in both directions and these boats have priority. In one of the locks we had to tie up to one of them, so we were pretty much sandwiched between three monsters. These the size of the ones we deal with on the smaller canals. To exit the lock, we were given the signal to go ahead before them. Bill put Biesbosch on full throttle for the first time ever, and we squeezed past these boats with incredible ease. It was an exciting experience. This day was our longest day of navigation, so after 10 hours, we tied up the boat close to the next lock for the night.
There few other large boats there waiting to go through first thing in the morning.

Yesterday, September 1st, we started off at 9:45 AM. went through the lock with two large boats and the trajectory on The Seine from there was absolutely gorgeous. The river banks are lined with mansions and chateaux whose gardens extend to the edge the river. It was a glorious day, and we had miles between locks. We took turns at the helm, so we set the lounge chairs on the deck, so when I drove Bill sat out there to enjoy the experience, and vice versa. Our destination was the town of St. Mammes on the confluence of the Seine and Loing rivers. We checked out the moorings, which were OK, but we decided to go into The Loing, two kms. away to the town of Moret sur Loing, a very charming fortified town where Clemenceau and Sisley were born. The Port de Plaisance is extremely charming, pontoons before the lock, and lovely river banks lined with willows and beautiful vegetation.
We came in to the last spot available, lucky for us. I had done a load of laundry on the way, so as soon as we tied up, I hung it up to dry, we enjoyed the setting, had dinner on board and went into town to explore. It is absolutely gorgeous. This morning I am going to the Tourist Office to get information, since our friends Debbie and Richard from California will be joining us on Monday. We are going to do some work on the boat today and tomorrow to have it

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