Welcome on board - Bienvenue a bord - Welkom aan boord

Parijs, Canal Saint Martin
Canal Marne au Rhin, pont canal
just wide enough
idillic mooring
stairs to the upper town in Bar-le-Duc


Marne, Alsace and Lorraine, the route Choucroute (sauerkraut)

This trip was in our planning for 2014 but we didn't make it and it will probably not happen in 2015. But whatever we keep it on our travellist and will definitely do the route Choucroute one day.
The Artzviller lift, see below, functioned again in spring 2014 but after a short period it broke down again
and now there is talk that it might never be repaired again. What a pity if we will never be able to that one, to be continued.

klik op kaart voor vergrotingCulinary speaking this route offers a lot, like cheese from Meaux, wines from the Champagne region along the Marne and of course the sauerkraut from the Alsace, with the local wines from the Mosel and Alsace regions. And in the Lorraine sausages and quiches.
What it also offers in plenty is the combination of the out-doors and the big cities, walking and cycling tours, being lazy or active; something to everyone’s taste.

The circle from Toul via Trier to Toul again is called the Sauerkraut-route.
Wide valley’s, narrow canals past high cliffs, and cities like Metz, Thionville, Trier, Saarbrucken and Nancy. A unique passage through France, Luxembourg and Germany.

The trip from Paris, starts with the passage through the Canal St Martin, from the north of Paris towards the Seine. A steep descent with 4 double locks and then an underground canal, 1,5 kilometres in length ending in a lock.
We are then on the Seine, going East and after a few kilometres we turn left onto the Marne river. First a lock and a short tunnel and then the well known setup of suburbs at first, then an industrial zone followed by long stretches of the Champaign vineyards.
We go past Meaux, known for the Brie cheese, but also because of the infamous Battle of the Marne during WWI.
We reach Vitry-le-François, a smallish town where 3 canals join. Sleepy and very French it boasts of pretty squares with lots of terraces.

Leaving Vitry we travel East along the Canal from Marne to Rhine, that crosses some more waterways like the rivers Aisne and Meuse.
As far as Toul this is a really nice canal, meandering through the fields. Little villages and the occasional town like Bar-le-Duc.
The old upper-town, reached by staircases and steep narrow thoroughfares, is one of the oldest and best kept in France. In this quarter are the remains (16th-century) of the chateau of the dukes of Bar.
And then Toul, also known for its history and for the battle between the grandsons of Charles le Magne in 612 AC. The old cathedral, together with the ramparts, built by Vauban in the 18th century, al well worth a visit.

Past Toul we leave the canal for the river Mosel. The first really big town, since leaving Paris, will be Metz, 3000 years of history.
It is a town that has it all, from Roman ruins and medieval castles to the most modern public transport. And all that spiced by the French way of living.
Further north we leave France and cruise on the Mosel, the border between Luxembourg and Germany. And we are getting close to the Eiffel as we follow the course of the river as far as Trier, where the Mosel ends into the Saar river.
Trier, as well as the region we are passing, has been crucial to the powers that be, ever since BC until WWII.
We do the Saar upstream, South bound, and we travel a beautiful region, getting to Saarbrücken. History can be felt here everywhere, be it that around this town it is more industrialised. So much that big parts of the town have been demolished by the RAF in WWII and that France annexed the region to reap the profits of coalmining as part of the retribution payments.

Further South we get onto the upper part of the river not navigable, so it was canalised, the Saar Canal. It takes us back into France, into the Lorraine region.
Whatever you can possibly do with a sausage is done here, as well as with mirabelles, from pastries to strong liquor. It also gave birth to the Quiche Lorraine.
We cruise past the village of Harskirchen that, despite its name and looks, is a very French village also offering a nice mooring.
Before we enter into the Canal from Marne to Rhine again we cross a big lake, used as a feeder for the nearby canals.

Here we have to decide if we go East a bit to Arzviller or turn Westwards to Troussey, that is situated at the beginning of the (canalised) Meuse river.
Arzviller houses a very ingenious ships lift that locks you parallel to the mountainside. It is a variation to the lifts ofStrépy-Thieu or Ronquières (both in Belgium).
The lift broke down in 2013. Should it be repaired in time we can go up and down on thePlan incliné de Arzvillerbut right now there is no indication given.

However, eventually we will go West where we meet Nancy. Once it was the capital of Lorraine, that belonged to Stanislasz, King of Poland. The beautiful square still bears his name.

And then a short stretch and we reach Troussey from wher we can go North on the Meuse.


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