Monday, 25 August 2014

Belleville Sur Meuse to St. Mihiel

8 Locks, 24 miles, 8½ hours, + a 1 day 2 night stopover

We stayed another day at Belleville Sur Muse because there was a music event on the Saturday.  Graham and I arrived back from our vehicle move and cycle ride back to find the beer trailer open and a delightful accordionist playing traditional French tunes, so to show our appreciation we had a couple of pints and the girls eventually found and joined us.  Not that they were looking for us, they were loured out by the music too.


This was about 2pm and it went on until near 1am with quite a large crowd at the peak. As well as the beer trailer, a large BBQ selling burgers and sausages and some inflatables for the kids.  Unfortunately the successive cover bands singing the same covers got progressively worse and like all bad bands they seem to think louder makes it better.  It don’t!


Belleville Moorings

We set of on Sunday for St. Mihiel passing through Verdun.




Not long after the town was the first lock with a small tunnel.


This is a section of the map for the trip.

Verdun to St. Mihiel

As you can see we are still going up hill.  Most of the locks are between 2.5m and 3m.


The scenery is becoming attractive again


Here’s the new flag pole

We are still in manned locks.  The lock keepers sit in little huts because I guess the original lock keepers cottages are now sold off.  They are charming, this is a typical example.


7 locks later we arrived at


MR had arrived earlier by about 20 minutes and confirmed there was space for us but only just.  So in we went, piping another cruiser to the post that had just come down the next lock.


Here were had free water and power and decided to stay a day as there was no rush and it was a very pleasant village with good dog walking.  The only downside was the noise of the TGV about a mile away which was actually quite loud at first, but like most noise pollution you soon tune it out.  The trains are very frequent. It’s a busy line for sure so of course I wanted a closer look and took the bike out to explore.

Under the flyover


And on the flyover

Lacroix Sur Meuse in the distance

The next day we set of for St. Mihiel. We were first to leave setting off before 10am.  A real first for us.  Just one lock today and the last of the manned locks. Again there was some great scenery.


Oh look another TVR, you have to be bloody quick though


A few hours later we arrived at St. Mihie.  Now this really was a tight fit on this mooring.  I’m getting well good at parking.



Note the removal of my new flag pole Sad smile

The boat behind is a Thomas and is a design by the same designer of Avalon, and the boat in front has the same engine and gearbox as Avalon.

We got quite comfy on the town moorings staying 4 nights in all.  At on point all the boats were DBA  members.


and all had the same idea about staying.  Within a few hours we were all introduced to each other over drinks and nibbles which went on each evening culmination in a mass BBQ on the Friday evening.



In attendance were a Dutch couple Andy and his wife, Alison and Roger on Iron Lady , Chris & Paula on Claes Compaen, Tim & Val on Doorengone, and Steven & Heneritta on Le Canard de Oz.

We all brought meat and accompanying nibbles, sauces and side dishes and of course beer & wine flowed until late in the evening when a chill suddenly hit as the sun went down over the trees. A quick clear up and we all de-camped to Claes Compaen for further chat and coffee.  The following morning we were the only ones left on the mooring as we were waiting for company to arrive mid morning.

We enjoyed St. Mihiel with a couple of lunches out and a few drinks with Jill and Graham.  They had moored up above the next lock as it was more rural for the Daisy the cat.

Deb avec Salade Niscoise

Seeing that we decided to stay and the weather was sufficiently good I got on with some painting chores on the boat roof.. I hate painting but the teasing amount of sun made it tolerable. Now that’s prepped I can get on with a full recoat of paint on the roof should the weather ever improve.

St. Mihiel once again was a town with plenty of long shut up shops with a disproportionate amount again of financial shop fronts.

On Saturday my brother and girlfriend arrived complete with shopping list and redirected deliveries for me and Graham.

Malcolm and Dawn

I now have a bigger chain wheel for my bike so should be able to keep up peddling in top power assist, a book for boaters in France with 100’s of useful phrases most of which like my boat is sinking (Mon bateau coule) {Moh bat-toh eh teh-shoo-eh} and I have been boarded by armed men  (J’ai suis aborde pas des hommes armes) {Zhuh sweez ah-bohr-deh pahr dez zuhm ahr-meh} I hope never to need, a new water filter and a new edition waterways map of France.  Graham got a repaired iPad, the phrase book and a gas bill. the gas bill is actually better news than it sounds.

After a brief walk round a very sorry for its self market we cast off for Commercy which would be our stop for the night.

Just to let you know also, mobile internet in France is SHIT!! hence the lack of blogging. Tonight is the first time I have had an upload speed of over 500mb/s for more than a week.  Trying to upload any slower just times out.


  1. Didn't Debbie object to your girlfriend arriving?

    1. My brother and HIS girlfriend? or my brother and Girlfriend? same amount of people but one is divorce material!

    2. Oh I see.

      It's gratifying that you guy's read my blog in such detail. Thanks.