Sunday, March 16, 2008

Planning, planning

We spent an excellent couple of hours down at Haven Ports Yacht Club for which we have finally paid our sub this year, talking to a couple who have spent quite a bit of time in the French canals. They had some great photos which I suspect might well come from 2006 as the weather looked fabulous at all times.

I think we are inclining towards the Marne route, coming out at St Valery sur Somme - Sam now says he is OK to skip Paris, which is good as it will save us 150 miles. If Blogger would let me I would attach my spreadsheet of options here.

We're looking at trains for some of the to-ing and fro-ing. The new St Pancras connection opens up a whole range of opportunities. It would be possible for Ben and me to get from Diss to Sete or Nimes with just two changes (London and Lille). Prices for singles are stonkingly high but I found a superb site, the Man in Seat 61, which gives you all the info - the options are either to book a return (£50 instead of £150 for a single) or to lie and say you come from Spain. You can only book three months ahead so it's all rather speculative at this stage.

In addition we need to think about how we'd get back from St Valery (if we have to leave Kalessin there for a few weeks), which is not exactly a hotbed of transport options. There are good train connections from Abbeville, and I thought I'd found the perfect connection with a little steam train which runs around the Baie de la Somme - sadly, it reaches the key station 1 minute after our connection would leave. I'm not quite brave enough to grapple with French bus timetables on line.

Our canal friends last night pointed out that if we really wanted to go for speed, we could take the Rhone/Rhine canal and then get swept down the Rhine to Rotterdam in about four days. It's full of huge barges, masses of traffic and tremendous currents, so perhaps not...

Random picture of the Saone...

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