Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-29-2018, 04:53 PM   #1
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
The canal du midi

Just like everyone else in the Northern hemisphere it's time for our summer cruise and as you all know by now, if there's no pics, there's no cruise.

Over the next few posts we'll give you the background how, what, why and when the canal du Midi canal was built 'Between Two Seas' or as the French call it the 'Entre Deux Mers' from Bordeaux on the Atlantic coast to Sete on the Mediterranean sea.

Hopefully you will find it as enjoyable and interesting as us.

First, this is a photo our boat 'Snow Mouse' on her winter berth in Narbonne, France.
She's a British built Broom 42' round bilge low wash displacement cruiser, designed by the British marine architect John Bennett.
His commission was to design an easily handled 9 berth roomy hire boat cruiser for the Emerald Star hire boat company in Carrick-on-Shannon in Ireland.
Emerald Star was part of the Guinness group, when Guinness was taken over the company felt that hire boats didn't fit their portfolio as a drinks company.
Emerald Star was then sold to Le Boat (a division of the Tui travel group).

We bought her from Le Boat and then transferred her to Belturbet, County Cavan in Ireland for the first part of her transformation into a comfortable liveaboard home.
The following year we cruised her from Belturbet to Dunkirk in France. You can read all about that wonderful adventure here on TF as the post 'Ireland to the Mediterranean Part1, or in my e-book/paperback called 'Encore' from Amazon.
The next spring we cruised her from Dunkirk to, Belgium, Holland, Germany and down to our winter berth in Narbonne in the South of France, that spawned another book 'Windmills and Wine' also available as an e-book or paperback from Amazon.

Photo's.
1, 'Snow Mouse' our floating home.

2,Emeral Star hire boat base in Carrick-on-Shannon.

3. Self explanatory.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00010.jpg
Views:	108
Size:	196.3 KB
ID:	77976   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00031.jpg
Views:	108
Size:	195.8 KB
ID:	77977   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00028.jpg
Views:	103
Size:	87.8 KB
ID:	77978  
__________________
Advertisement

Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2018, 05:30 PM   #2
Guru
 
Lou_tribal's Avatar
 
City: Quebec
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Bleuvet
Vessel Model: Custom Built
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 2,968
Canal du Midi is a very nice place, only pitty is number of Platane trees they had to cut due to trees "decease" along the canal.

L
__________________

Lou_tribal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2018, 11:27 PM   #3
Grand Vizier
 
Delfin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,867
Looking forward to following...
__________________
Delfin
"Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis." - Jack Handy
Delfin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2018, 12:24 PM   #4
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
Welcome all aboard.
As Lou tribal points out there were over 40,000 plain trees cut down due to a disease which was 'suggested' came from American ammunition boxes during WW2, considering this part of Vichy France wasn't invaded I think someone was chancing their arm for compensation during the Obama era. The plane trees (which incidentally, the different coloured patchy bark gave the first idea for military camouflage clothing), were originally planted to a, reduce evaporation, b, the root growth anchor the banks and c, to provide shade for barge operators.
Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2018, 12:37 PM   #5
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
WHO designed the canal du Midi ?
Msr Pierre Paul Riquet from Beziers who was a local farmer and salt tax collector.

WHAT was the purpose ?
To be able to transport goods across the French isthmus to avoid vessels taking the 3,000 mile plus journey though the straits of Gibraltar and to stimulate trade in wine and grain in the region.


WHY was it so strategically important ?
Because the British fleet under the direction of Horatio (later Lord) Nelson kept capturing or blowing up French vessels. Salpetre to manufacture gunpowder for the French naval fleet was a favourite target.

WHEN was the canal started /
Construction began in 1667 and it opened for traffic on the 15th of May 1681.

HOW was it built ?
Using manual labour including many women, Msr Paul Riquet mainly followed the contours of the land and built one of the very first canal aqueducts in the world at Redorte to cross a river. He also built a massive reservoir at the summit to feed both the canal du Midi and as we shall discover later, the canal de Lateral a la Garonne.


The canal is 240 kms long and has 91 locks. The locks are 30.65 metres/100' 6'' long, 5,80 metres/19' wide.

The barges could carry up to 200 metric tonnes and were behemoths in their time when a horse and cart could only manage 5/6 tonnes.
Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2018, 03:37 PM   #6
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
Correction. I said in an earlier post the trees were plain trees, in fact they are correctly named, plane trees. Apologies.

Now lets orientate you so you can understand the descriptions better.

Photo's.
1, Looking at the map you will see the red line depicts the canal du Midi from the Mediterranean port of Sete to Toulouse.
The green line depicts the canal lateral a la Garonne.

2,Here you can see a little better the canal du Midi to Toulouse, then the canal du lateral a la Garonne. Both are known as the 'Entre Deux Mers' the entrance to two seas. Most cruising people refer to the whole thing as the canal du Midi.

3, A more geographical indication.
Looking in the bottom right hand corner you will see a little spur canal going to the Mediterranean sea. This is called the canal du Robine on which, our home port, the ancient Roman town of Narbonne is situated.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	2 canals.jpg
Views:	70
Size:	43.7 KB
ID:	78012   Click image for larger version

Name:	Entre Duex Mers.PNG
Views:	70
Size:	188.7 KB
ID:	78013   Click image for larger version

Name:	Overall France.jpg
Views:	77
Size:	32.6 KB
ID:	78014  
Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2018, 03:55 PM   #7
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
So before we leave to start our cruise I will show you some photo's in and around Narbonne.

Photo's.
1, Roman mile marker, the Romans built these not only as mile markers but also to bolster the morale of the marching troops who could count off the miles to the next rest halt.

2, This is a giant Roman Amphorae for display on a roundabout.
Narbonne was the largest garrison town outside of Rome during the occupation around the turn of the century.

3, This is an actual Roman bridge dismantled stone by stone and rebuilt as a feature on a roundabout.

4, Roman sign post.

5, Roman galleys would arrive at the mouth of Port la Nouvelle where the river Aude disgorged into the sea and unload their cargo onto horses and carts for transport up to Narbonne.
The Roman governor of Narbonne, Agrippa (so called because he was born breach birth) decreed that the river bed be excavated so that the Roman galleys could dismast their sails and be pulled up to Narbonne by horse or mule for discharge, thereby cutting out the time consuming double handling and transportation.

6, To cross the river Aude, a bridge was built in Roman style with a road down the centre and lined with shops and houses.
This is one of the finest surviving examples in Europe today.

7,This is the actual foundation of the Roman road, looking dead centre between the buildings is the Roman road, the via Domitia.

8, Roman anchor.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P131112_11.59.jpg
Views:	60
Size:	97.4 KB
ID:	78015   Click image for larger version

Name:	P131112_12.05.jpg
Views:	60
Size:	185.1 KB
ID:	78016   Click image for larger version

Name:	P131112_12.12_[02].jpg
Views:	59
Size:	191.4 KB
ID:	78017   Click image for larger version

Name:	U boat pens 014.jpg
Views:	60
Size:	172.3 KB
ID:	78018   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010005.jpg
Views:	60
Size:	131.6 KB
ID:	78019  

Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010001.jpg
Views:	57
Size:	142.1 KB
ID:	78020   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010004.jpg
Views:	58
Size:	147.9 KB
ID:	78021   Click image for larger version

Name:	Roman Anchor.jpg
Views:	59
Size:	154.3 KB
ID:	78022  
Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2018, 05:36 PM   #8
Veteran Member
 
La Mer's Avatar
 
City: Perpignan
Country: France
Vessel Name: La Mer
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 42 Classic
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 53
I was still hoping to identify a bunch of French people or resident over here, one should never give up hope about anything . I will enjoy to read your summer cruise along the lovely Canal du Midi, a peaceful waterway winding through the southwest of France.
La Mer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2018, 12:27 AM   #9
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
As we've seen from the previous post Narbonne had enjoyed prosperity since the Roman times and was already connected to the sea.
When the canal opened in 1681 it was originally called the Royal canal du Languedoc and passed some 60 kilometres North of Narbonne and brought untold wealth to the region.
Naturally Narbonne wanted some of the action so a short section of canal was built Northwards from Narbonne to connect with the Royal canal. The town also enjoyed prosperity as can be seen by the fine merchants town houses with ornate masons carvings around windows and doors in the old town.
Narrow side streets kept out the sun and funnelled any breezes to cool the residents.
After the revolution and the communists/socialists took power anything 'Royal' was taboo so the canal was renamed the canal du Midi.
When the canal was dug Northwards to join up with the canal du Midi it passed through the small town of Salleles du Aude, so named because of the nearby river Aude and by chance just 2 kilometres out of town an old Roman pottery.

This pottery was sited here by the Romans because of the argile(clay), as there was no fresh water they did what Romans do and built an aqueduct from the nearby mountains to supply the pottery.

Photo's.
1, Amphorae on display in the museum. These were the Roman equivalent of a pallet. They were made in various sizes and when filled could be laid flat in the bottom of a boat or cart so that they interlocked.

2,These photo's were taken in the museum and show also wicker baskets used to transport goods.

3,These are amphorae that haven't been 'fired' in the ovens.

4,Remains of the small aqueduct that supplied the pottery.

5,This model in the museum shows how the amphorae were stacked for 'firing' in the oven.

6, This is the remains of one of 7 ovens that were used on this site. They used local cut wood and when in use could reach up to 900 degrees. The one intact remaining oven is used occasionally for demonstrations and of course everything thing is monitored and filmed for reference and education purposes.

7, A reconstructed Roman house.

8.If you think bricks and tiles are relatively new inventions you'd be wrong. The Romans also invented concrete which they called Putalanium which was used for building harbours, foundations etc.

9. These is a replica herb garden from that era. Various plants were used for treating things like ladies menstrual problems, gastric sicknesses, headaches and various creams for skin ailments from locally grown plants. These were placed in very small amphorae and the top was hermetically sealed before distribution.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	U boat pens 033.jpg
Views:	54
Size:	101.6 KB
ID:	78031   Click image for larger version

Name:	U boat pens 034.jpg
Views:	50
Size:	138.3 KB
ID:	78032   Click image for larger version

Name:	U boat pens 035.jpg
Views:	50
Size:	82.8 KB
ID:	78033   Click image for larger version

Name:	U boat pens 049.jpg
Views:	51
Size:	201.5 KB
ID:	78034   Click image for larger version

Name:	U boat pens 042.jpg
Views:	49
Size:	111.8 KB
ID:	78035  

Click image for larger version

Name:	U boat pens 043.jpg
Views:	51
Size:	137.6 KB
ID:	78036   Click image for larger version

Name:	U boat pens 052.jpg
Views:	50
Size:	145.2 KB
ID:	78037   Click image for larger version

Name:	U boat pens 053.jpg
Views:	49
Size:	209.1 KB
ID:	78038  
Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2018, 08:24 AM   #10
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
The canal du Robine which we're travelling on at the moment has automated locks, the old lock keepers houses are either vacant or have been bought for a low price by the old lock keepers.
Even with automation humans tend to screw it up from time to time !
Children love to get off the boat to go and push the buttons to operate the lock gates, unfortunately with no guidance.
When they push a button if there's no instant clap of thunder, flashing lights or bells ringing, they push another button which confuses the system, then it stops working.
The roving lock keeper then has to be called to reset the system.
9 times out of 10 people don't read the instructions for lock operation, so adults aren't without fault too.

Why do I rant and complain about it ?

I had to spend 1 and a half hours baking in direct sunlight at 35 degrees centigrade waiting for the lock keeper to finish his lunch break (the locks close from mid-day to 1 o'clock for lunch break, even though they're automatic) before coming to reset the system after a 9/10 year old boy screwed it up.

You may also notice that the stone built locks on the canal du Midi have a concrete extension.
When the canals throughout France were built everyone had a different agenda, no two were exactly the same so goods had to be transhipped from one size of barge to another, typical SNAFU.
In 1877 a minister of public works was appointed called Charles Freycinet who realised how much time/money was being wasted transhipping goods and he gave a million Francs to have all the canals and locks standardised to what is still known today as the Freycinet dimensions.
This also upped the standard payload to 350 tonnes, truly a giant of a transporter in the 1800's.
By 1856 the canal was carrying 111 million tonnes of cargo and over 1 million people.

Charles Freycinet also gave the new fangled railways 3 million of a grant which sounded the death knell for the canals.
Ironically French trains 'drive on the left' because they were designed by an English engineer called Thomas Brassey.

This post refers to the parts of our summer cruise.
If you wish the full description of the whole length of the canal I've written a book called 'How To Cruise Between Two Seas' some 5 years ago which is available from Amazon as an eBook or paperback.
Thank you for your support.
Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2018, 12:24 PM   #11
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
Reaching the 'T' junction we turned to port onto the canal du Midi and our first port of call was La Somail a beautiful village famous for 2 things, its old Roman Auberge (now a hotel) and a bookshop !

The lady who owns the bookshop was originally from Paris and is reputed to have the building and all the books it contained transported to La Somail.
Whatever the truth it's a fabulous tribute to her, obviously its predominant language is French but there are also sections in other languages and you can find books on all subjects, if you're a book lover like me you'll be in literary heaven
If you search carefully you may find rare books, a friend of mine bought an original book on golf for 12 Euro and it was valued at 2,000 in Ireland so he presented it to the golf club of Ireland as a gift. Did you know that Golf stands for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden ! I think it spoils a good walk myself.

Photo's.
1, Hotel barge moored in front of the old Roman Auberge. A barge in France is called a Peniche (Peneesh).

2,This is an ice house which was used for the guests in the Auberge. When it froze people would collect the ice and store it in here to use later in their drinks.

3,This old Peniche has found a new life as a canalside shop.

4,5,6,7, Inside the library.

8, This young lady accepts books, cleans, places plastic covers and indexes them

9.An old wooden British Cruiser passing under the road bridge.

10, With these fresh figs we could start a new movement !
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00406.jpg
Views:	54
Size:	182.3 KB
ID:	78228   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00409.jpg
Views:	53
Size:	197.0 KB
ID:	78229   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00410.jpg
Views:	53
Size:	197.6 KB
ID:	78230   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00412.jpg
Views:	56
Size:	188.9 KB
ID:	78231   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00413.jpg
Views:	50
Size:	190.4 KB
ID:	78232  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00418.jpg
Views:	49
Size:	175.6 KB
ID:	78233   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00415.jpg
Views:	51
Size:	137.8 KB
ID:	78234   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00417.jpg
Views:	51
Size:	115.8 KB
ID:	78235   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00429.jpg
Views:	51
Size:	197.2 KB
ID:	78236   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00430.jpg
Views:	52
Size:	145.8 KB
ID:	78237  

Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2018, 12:42 PM   #12
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
The town of Homps has a hire boat base and some overnight moorings and a rare 32 amp electricity hook up, the only one I've seen in France.

More photo's to enjoy.

1,2, Hotel barge Caroline exiting from a lock, the photo's aren't great as it was taken in blazing sunshine.

3, The canal at Homps with the hire boat base to the right under the footbridge.

4, This peniche Berendina was owned by an American gentleman and it now plies its trade as a hotel barge under British ownership.

5,Canal du Midi with the Alaric mountains to the left of the photo.

6, An old bollard with ancient rope marks from the heyday of commercial traffic. The stump of a plane tree cut down due to disease.

7,diseased plane trees lining the canal awaiting the timber jacks.

8,From the canal looking left, in the foreground the canal bank, wheat fields and vineyards with a backdrop of the Alaric mountains.

9,For those who aren't aware this is an Aloe Vera plant.

10, This portion of the canal is what people associate the canal du Midi.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00438.jpg
Views:	41
Size:	138.0 KB
ID:	78241   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00437.jpg
Views:	40
Size:	127.4 KB
ID:	78242   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00441.jpg
Views:	42
Size:	198.4 KB
ID:	78243   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00443.jpg
Views:	42
Size:	202.6 KB
ID:	78244   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00445.jpg
Views:	40
Size:	194.8 KB
ID:	78245  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00447.jpg
Views:	43
Size:	198.8 KB
ID:	78246   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00448.jpg
Views:	43
Size:	195.7 KB
ID:	78247   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00449.jpg
Views:	45
Size:	195.5 KB
ID:	78248   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00432.jpg
Views:	39
Size:	198.3 KB
ID:	78249   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00463.jpg
Views:	43
Size:	200.6 KB
ID:	78250  

Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2018, 02:48 AM   #13
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
Continuing our journey I know from past experience that this section is very hard work and slow going. The reason is the frequency of locks, the volume of inexperienced hire cruiser holiday makers along this particular section. On the canal du Midi there are lock keepers at each lock and who live in houses provided by the VNF organisation that employs them and runs the French canal system.
Being French government employees they work a 35 hour week and of course take their days off and holiday entitlement, in their place are temporary keepers who are usually staff taken on for the summer duration. These keepers don't have the experience of the 'old hands' to facilitate smooth running. To be honest they certainly need a lot of patience when you see some of the temporary skippers antics.

Photo 1.
Some of the double and triple locks look daunting to the inexperienced.

2, This old guy with his donkey is termed an SDF sans domicile, homeless.
He doesn't seem to care as he follows the canal path.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00451.jpg
Views:	39
Size:	197.9 KB
ID:	78359   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00454.jpg
Views:	38
Size:	198.4 KB
ID:	78360  
Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2018, 03:02 AM   #14
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
We called in at one of my favourite places along the way.
Here you can sit on the terrace under and umbrella of trees and eat a delicious meal.
A 3 course lunch of Gazpacho, Roast duck and Dessert cost just 13,95 Euro per person including a pichet of wine, the fresh food is cooked before your eyes in the open air kitchen by father and son chefs.

This family run friendly business and to top it off there are a couple of chickens running around picking up scraps given by diners.
These chickens are tame and as cute as could be.

Next door to the restaurant is a building looking like an old church, in fact its a winery and the thick stone walls keep it lovely and cool, you can take a tour around the winery to see how its made and processed and of course buy bottles of local wines.

Photo's.
Apologies for them being horizontal, they were taken by phone, even though I righted/saved them they still come out horizontal when I uploaded them.

1, 2, Chickens looking for chips !

3, Entrance to the restaurant

4, This old barge once transported barrels of wine from around this region along the canal du Midi up to Bordeaux port from where it was shipped around the world.. It was refurbished by a group of retired artisan shipbuilders who try and pass on their skills to younger people. It travels along the canal and attends various functions and villages showing people how life was 2 centuries ago.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	20180629_132749.jpg
Views:	38
Size:	106.5 KB
ID:	78361   Click image for larger version

Name:	20180629_132837.jpg
Views:	33
Size:	103.7 KB
ID:	78362   Click image for larger version

Name:	20180629_153908.jpg
Views:	39
Size:	183.0 KB
ID:	78363   Click image for larger version

Name:	20180629_153954.jpg
Views:	33
Size:	143.3 KB
ID:	78364  
Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2018, 04:56 AM   #15
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
Approaching the little port of Trebes we pass up through a triple lock.
In the small town of Trebes you can moor on the left for free, on the right is a Le Boat hire boat base and you can moor for 20 Euro's a night with electric and water (if they have space).
When we were there it was still full of hire boats awaiting holidaymakers. It can work out as an expensive holiday by the time you travel there, hire the boat, plus your normal food & drink and any diesel you use.
Cheaper hire boat prices might encourage more people.
From Trebes, you can take a No 10 bus for 1 Euro (service every half hour)to visit nearby Carcassonne and it'll drop you of at the castle.

Photo's
1,There's a sign at each lock giving distances and lock names. This also shows that there's an intermediary control nearby, they simply take a note of your boat name and verify by computer if you've paid for your cruising permit. These permits can be bought for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or 1 year. We buy the yearly permit and if bought before the end of March earns a 10% discount.

2, Entrance to the triple lock.

3,4, Looking back down.

5, I know you guys like to look at different types of boats and get a bit of background knowledge.
This is one of Le Boats 'Horizon' class boats, these only started to arrive into the fleet last year.
Le Boat bought a very experienced and respected boat building company in England called Porter & Haylett, after a year or so they began to bring in cheap Polish labour.
They then opened a factory in Poland and transferred all the equipment and tools to there, some of the craftsmen and engineers were taken to Poland to help set up production.
Once it was all running smoothly they were made redundant, the factory now runs totally on cheap Polish labour.
The quality of build is simply not up to the old Porter & Haylett standards.
If you forgive my baseness there's an expression in Ireland which says about something that looks good with no substance.
'It's all fur coat and no knickers'.
The Irish are straight talkers or to quote another expression 'There's no back doors on them'.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00457.jpg
Views:	35
Size:	196.2 KB
ID:	78365   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00451.jpg
Views:	34
Size:	197.9 KB
ID:	78366   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00453.jpg
Views:	34
Size:	196.4 KB
ID:	78367   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00456.jpg
Views:	33
Size:	195.0 KB
ID:	78368   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00462.jpg
Views:	34
Size:	197.3 KB
ID:	78369  

Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2018, 05:37 AM   #16
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
Carcassonne, best known for it's castle that's one of the most visited monument sites in France. The English visited in 1355 but didn't manage to capture it after fierce bombardment. If you are there on the evening of the 14th of July there is a massive firework display with classical music depicting this event.
If you are a cinema goer you may remember 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' with Kevin Costner, parts of it were filmed around the battlements.
When we arrived it was a festival of music week and we were entertained by various groups, some for the young with C rap music ? and others for old wrinkly rockers like us that played our kind of music from Elvis to Aretha Franklin etc etc it was free for every one to enjoy but as the stage was a couple of hundred metres from the port you were not going to get an early nights sleep.

Photo's,
1,2,3 Carcassonne castle. I can't justify a drone so stock photo's suffice.

4,
Carcassonne railway station (le Gare) there are flags and a poor banner above the fašade put there by striking railway workers. Unions were once very powerful in France and they would strike at the drop of a hat, the workers continued to be paid and in the past the socialist government always caved in. With the current prime minister they have met their match and don't get paid if they go on strike which is helping to concentrate their minds, currently only about 15% are still on strike.

5,7
Entrance to the port of Carcassonne.
The lock keeper, port captains office, shower block in the building on the left.

6, These cute little ducklings are taking advantage of the empty lock to take their lunch under the watchful eye of Mama who shoo's them out if the lock gates begin to close.

8. Site of the concert. Very cleverly the French have built an underground car park beneath this open park space.

9,
Decorative parasols down the main street.

10, Spare a thought for this poor guy trying to get his deliveries done.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Hoardings at Carcassonne.jpg
Views:	28
Size:	145.0 KB
ID:	78370   Click image for larger version

Name:	Vineyards, Carcassonne..jpg
Views:	28
Size:	166.8 KB
ID:	78371   Click image for larger version

Name:	Snow in Carcassonne.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	180.6 KB
ID:	78372   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00473.jpg
Views:	30
Size:	163.9 KB
ID:	78373   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00477.jpg
Views:	31
Size:	198.2 KB
ID:	78374  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00474.jpg
Views:	33
Size:	94.5 KB
ID:	78375   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00478.jpg
Views:	33
Size:	193.7 KB
ID:	78376   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00479.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	198.8 KB
ID:	78377   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00480.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	196.5 KB
ID:	78378   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00483.jpg
Views:	28
Size:	198.3 KB
ID:	78379  

Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2018, 09:52 AM   #17
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
Here's a bit more information about the castle as it's the central attraction in Carcassonne.
It's stone walls are 1.9 kms around.
There are 52 massive towers and during its bloody past it's Roman tower held Cathars during the Catholic inquisitions.
The Cathars were a separate religious order from around this region and that nice Catholic church of religion and peace thought they were becoming a threat to their dominance of this area so this nice friendly religion of peace ordered them all wiped out, in the same way and for the same purpose as they annihilated the Knights Templars.
Carcassonne castle was the first to use wooden hoardings (look at the first photo on the previous post) around the top of its wall a, to help protect the defenders and b, to pour boiling water or pitch onto its attackers.

The castle fell into disrepair as its power and dominance diminished over time.
Napoleon refused to pay for its refurbishment and the mayor began a campaign to raise the funds for its restoration, an architect named Eugene Vollet-Duc was engaged to oversee the works as and when funds became available. The castle renovated you see today is the result.
There are 50 permanent residents in the castle as well as restaurants, shops etc to cater for the tourists.
It's also worth noting that the castle is Carcassonne's biggest tourist money spinner thanks to the foresight of the mayor, followed secondly by the port. During our short visit to the port we could here people from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Scotland, Belgium, Sweden, Germany and of course us Paddy's all speaking English as well as the French tourists.

When the canal du Midi was built the people of Narbonne refused to contribute to the construction of a port so Pierre Paul Riquet chose the natural water course and followed the contour of the hill.
When the canal was finished and the burghers of Carcassonne saw how much money it was generating in trade and how other towns were benefitting from canal traffic they swallowed their pride and had the port excavated and canal re routed through Carcassonne to get their share of the profits.
Thanks to the foresight of that genius canal engineer Pierre Paul Riquet the town is still enjoying the fruits of his brilliance today.
To really appreciate Riquets ingenuity you have to travel the canal and as you do so bear in mind there was no GPS, aerial photography, hydraulic excavators or computers to help him.

Photo's.
1,2, Carcassonne port full of hire boats along with some private ones too.

3, free music festival.

We don't normally do personal photo's so I make an exception.
4,Patrick and Geraldine Butler, our cruising companions.

5. Irish Rambler, (Geoff) with 'Snow Mouse' (Evelyne).
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00467.jpg
Views:	23
Size:	130.8 KB
ID:	78392   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00468.jpg
Views:	24
Size:	128.9 KB
ID:	78393   Click image for larger version

Name:	20180706_223710.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	113.2 KB
ID:	78394   Click image for larger version

Name:	20180706_223805.jpg
Views:	34
Size:	54.5 KB
ID:	78395   Click image for larger version

Name:	20180706_223912.jpg
Views:	30
Size:	47.4 KB
ID:	78396  

Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2018, 11:43 AM   #18
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
Long before supermarkets one of the traditions in France is to hold twice weekly markets, farmers could sell their fresh home grown produce meet with other producers.
We love them and eat extremely well and economically with healthy food.
It's also a social event as local farmers and neighbours meet up and have a chat.
Food bought here is fresh and untreated with preservatives (you have to tread carefully here as a preservative in France is a Condom) Condom is a town in France.

Photo's.
1, Flowers and friendship underneath a canopy of plane tree's.

2,3, From potato's to peaches.

4,These tomato's are known as the Marmande variety with sweet juicy centre's they also make great stuffed tomato's cooked in the oven, nearly a meal in itself.

5,6 Every variety you can think of, most French people still eat veggies and fruit in season, certainly in the country.

7,A street musician entertains passers by with his accordion.

8,Sadly its time for this hire cruiser to return to base, the boat in front is a daily tour boat.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00484.jpg
Views:	23
Size:	203.7 KB
ID:	78400   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00485.jpg
Views:	28
Size:	205.5 KB
ID:	78401   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00488.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	198.3 KB
ID:	78402   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00489.jpg
Views:	27
Size:	123.7 KB
ID:	78403   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00490.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	200.5 KB
ID:	78404  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00491.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	202.2 KB
ID:	78405   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00497.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	141.7 KB
ID:	78406   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00501.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	179.1 KB
ID:	78407  
Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2018, 12:06 PM   #19
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
Come with me on a little trip along Pierre Paul Riquets masterpiece of engineering.

Photo's.
1, Were going up in the world !.

2,Looking out over the canal bank at the vineyards. Now think of the terrain and how the canal was designed to minimize locks to keep the cost down.

3, Lovely friendly lock keeper.

4, The hire boat in the distance is called a 'Vision' and part of Le Boats fleet.
Le boat thought they would go eco friendly and have a hybrid boat fleet to appeal to the greens. Designed by a company with more enthusiasm than experience they were an absolute disaster continually breaking down until finally they ripped out all the electrics and they are now reverted back to a simple diesel driven cruiser.
With an interior layout like a train carriage, long corridor with cabins with a small saloon up at the front. Built badly and bought for 350,000 Euro's each they are now for sale at 250,000 Euros.

5, Before washing machines this is a Lavoire where the ladies would come down to the canal and do the families washing while gossiping as they worked. The washing was hung out to dry on bushes and in this weather sheets would be dry in half an hour. They would hardly have time to ridicule someone's new hairdo !

6,Peace and tranquillity.

7, Small 2 person hire cruiser.

8, Looking out from the canal over rolling barley fields, several farmers were cutting and carrying the grain as we passed.

9.More than boats enjoy the canal, these camping cars are escaping the pace of life too.

10, This beautiful swan is sitting on her eggs just waiting patiently for a miracle of nature.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00505.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	199.1 KB
ID:	78408   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00506.jpg
Views:	28
Size:	207.2 KB
ID:	78409   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00509.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	194.0 KB
ID:	78410   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00508.jpg
Views:	28
Size:	197.1 KB
ID:	78411   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00511.jpg
Views:	28
Size:	197.2 KB
ID:	78412  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00513.jpg
Views:	27
Size:	198.7 KB
ID:	78413   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00524.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	200.1 KB
ID:	78414   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00530.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	98.6 KB
ID:	78415   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00531.jpg
Views:	28
Size:	199.7 KB
ID:	78416   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00460.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	208.9 KB
ID:	78417  

Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2018, 02:09 PM   #20
Guru
 
Irish Rambler's Avatar
 
City: NARBONNE
Country: FRANCE
Vessel Name: 'Snow Mouse.'
Vessel Model: BROOM FLYBRIDGE 42.
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,165
Our journey takes us along the canal to the town of Castlenaudary, famous for 2 things, it's Cassoulet which is basically a bean (similar to chick peas) stew in tomato sauce with bits of duck in it.
Personally I think its overrated, if you eat it you certainly need to avoid company the next day.
The other thing its famous for is that it's the French basic training base for the French Foreign Legion,
The legion was raised by King Louis Phillipe in 1831 and it's membership is restricted to foreigners.
You must be in France and attend one of their recruitment centre's which are open 24/7 365 days of the year to join and serve a minimum of 7 years.
They form part of the Commando Parachutists brigade but they're not designated special forces such as the British SAS or the US navy seals.
The maximum age for joining is 39 yrs and 6 months and not a second older, just bring along your passport, they ask for a birth certificate but are not a bit fussy if you can't present one.
Squads of these young men can often be seen round 5 am on their early run along the canal towpath.
Photo's aren't allowed.

Castlenaudary was a thriving port during the canals heyday, now its holiday makers in hire boats that are the main customers.

Photo's.
1, Entrance basin to the port.

2, Hire boats awaiting customers, Le Boat's reputation suffered over the last few years due to bad management. It's now American owned and has it's work cut-out to return to its former glory.

3,View of the barge quay where once cargoes were loaded/unloaded.
Now it's a pleasant stopover for us.
Thankfully the burghers have seen sense and reduced the prices to an acceptable level, 16 Euro for 1 night and the subsequent nights at 10 Euro including el electricity and water.

4,Tribute to the canal builder.

5, Self explanatory.

6,Ancient religious cross dated 1809.

7,Canal bridge built in the 17th century, renovated in 1991 and still working.

8,An old wind mill which used to grind corn to flour for export by barge.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00534.jpg
Views:	24
Size:	98.3 KB
ID:	78419   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00535.jpg
Views:	27
Size:	89.4 KB
ID:	78420   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00545.jpg
Views:	28
Size:	146.5 KB
ID:	78421   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00555.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	74.0 KB
ID:	78422   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00558.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	121.0 KB
ID:	78423  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00552.jpg
Views:	27
Size:	195.8 KB
ID:	78424   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00551.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	183.0 KB
ID:	78425   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00553.jpg
Views:	27
Size:	140.3 KB
ID:	78426  
__________________

Irish Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012