48° 51′ 8.3376” N 2° 22′ 4.6992” E
July 5. – 2014
We are moored in Port Arsenal. In the heart of Paris. We almost feel, that we are moored to the Place du Bastille. Additional danish flags of paper adorn Ronja. It is Per’s birthday.
Henrik and Susanne explore Paris. Kirsten and Per use the first half of the day to check the water depths in the canals further down to the Mediterranean. People keep telling us, that they do not think we can get through with a draft of 1.75 meters, so we research with the French water authorities, VNF’s website (which is pretty poor), we knock on the door of other sailboats in the port (in addition to us there are only two, the other 110 are motor boats), and we get the port captain to call the lock posts along the Briare Canal.
It turns out that there is a problem. Briare Canal cannot meet the minimum depth of 1.80 meters. There has been too little water from the Alps this year. It is missing 10 to 20 centimetres, in some places more. It is a no-go. We buy new charts at the port office and plan a new, more northerly route along the Marne River and two canals, the Canal Lateral de Marne and the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne. The very name of the latter channel makes it easier to swallow that a whole winter’s preparation for one specific route has changed totally with the snap of a finger.
Improvisation requires thorough preparation.
48° 51′ 3.9636” N 2° 22′ 4.6992” E
July 24.-28. – 2013
Arsenal port is located in the heart of Paris, right up to Place du Bastille. We cannot have a better starting point for a visit to this amazing city. Here there is shopping, jogging, sightseeing, dining and relaxation – all within walking distance. We are here for five nights. It costs 40 Euro per night, and the port of Arsenal thus runs with this summers price records. But it has to be like that, with only this one port to choose from, and as the harbour at the same time is perfect with its location.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we are with Nellie, Lasse and Tianling in the sense that we are all together in the afternoons and evenings, and that we then “kidnap” Nellie and take her on the boat at night, where Jørgen and Hanne stay while Lasse and Tianling sleep at a hotel. Fine arrangement.
Lasse and Tianling arrive during the morning, and then we explore Paris. Nothing wild. One day we basically visit only the Jardin du Luxembourg. In the evening we eat us through the red Michelin-book finding the best restaurants in Paris, which have not yet been giving stars, but are eager and bubbling to get it.
On Wednesday evening, Hanne ordered Villaret near the metro station Parmentier. Also good. Not quite on par with Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes though.
On Thursday we say goodbye to Lasse, Tianling and Nellie who will fly home on Thursday night. Back on the boat, we eat bread, cheese, lettuce and sausage with Hanne and Jørgen.
The next day it is quiet. We run along the Seine in the early morning before the heat gets too oppressive. A couple of the nights we have powerful thunderstorms, but otherwise it is typically 24 degrees in the morning increasing to 34 degrees in the early evening.
We’re doing things together with Jørgen and Hanne. And we also do things alone. Hanne and Jørgen take a day trip on bikes where we meet each other at the Louvre, which is open in the evening and we eat late dinner at Willie’s Wine Bar near the Louvre. Excellent restaurant.
At the same time we plan for the final week of the holiday. Hanne and Jørgen have suggested that we go to Burgundy and celebrate Hannes’s birthday along with a few of their friends who are vacationing in that area, and that we follow them to Denmark in their car through Alsace and Germany with the goal of being back in Denmark Thursday at midnight. But before we can call this a plan, we must have found a berth for Ronja in a safe winter harbour.
It is not easy.
Arsenal port has no room for us in 2014 and 2015, and it will anyway cost us DKK 35,000 for nine months of harbour fees, and on top of this come the months of June, July and August, when you can only be in the port at high season price of 40 Euro. With the assistance of a couple of Ebbe Dal’s friends and the port captain of Arsenal and with Hanne as interpreter, we examine some possible ports both south and north of Paris, and it ends up that we decide to sail back to Port St-Louis, where Jørgen and Hanne have their car.
We must get used to the fact, that the French have a different culture surrounding their boats in winter. They do ensure against frost and they change oil. But they keep the boats in the water. Since we have become accustomed to this idea, then it becomes easier to find a winter port, and we suspect at the same time that it would be possible also to sail at other times of the year than just the summer holidays.