Dôle and beyond


We hugged Pam and Angus goodbye in the morning and around lunchtime we headed together with the “Beau Jolie” down the Canal du Rhône au Rhin towards Dôle. We thought our boat was wide, but seeing Rob steering the 4.7m wide Beau Jolie into the locks in front of us with just a few cms to spare was quite nerve wrecking. 

With just a couple of hairy moments in the locks, we arrived in Dôle under the fanfares of marching bands and high pitched screams of young girls. To Austin’s disappointment it was not just the excitement of his arrival, but originated mainly from the fairground opposite the moorings.

It’s not easy to back in between the pontoons at Dôle. One has to slip in slowly and at an angle to counteract the current.

A friendly couple stood in readiness at the pontoon to catch our ropes.


We learned that the Nicole harbour lady advised them that we all had to leave again as the council was setting up for fireworks for the Whit Sunday celebrations. We decided to stand our ground as a group and were granted a reprieve until 8am the next morning.

After sticking my sun fried head under a cool tap, it was straight to the shade of a tree with chairs and “safe arrival” drinks with Rob, Sue and Rebecca. Cheers Pam and Angus! Have a great trip down the Nivernaise on the fixed Equinox!

The next morning we rose at 7.30am and took a photo of our 3 rebel boats on the marina.


We cast off just after 8am. Coming out of the lock at Dôle the canal is lined by old plane trees with long, overhanging branches. Signs warn about the danger of branches breaking off and falling onto parked boats but there were plenty of boats ignoring the signs while seeking cover from the hot sun. Sue and Rob joined them planning to return to Dôle and stay for the next few days.


We carried on to Rochefort- sur- Nenon where we found a great mooring along a grassy treelined picnic area in front of a limestone cliff. Exploring the rural village took us all of 5 minutes - another place where you cannot get lost. 

However, laying on the Europe Bike Route Rochefort even has a small "Hotel Logis" where the lycra-clad bikers can rest their weary legs.

Another sport which seems popular in this front garden of the Jura is rock climbing.

We took the easy way up to the top via some newly concreted steps.  An old town wall turret offers a great view over the area.


In the afternoon we cycled back along the canal to Dôle visiting our New Zealand friends under the green canapé and checking on the festivities of the “Faites de Pentecôte”. We heard that the French have a great tolerance for noise and that seems to be true, as at least 5 bands were playing at diverse street corners their loud tunes melting into a cacophony of sounds. There were also street theatre, dance and magic shows.

When the fireworks started we were back in Rochefort, recovering from a busy Whit Sunday.


© Austin Robinson 2019