Port de France Celebrations

On our first Sunday in Toul we had a visit from my brother Thomas, my sister-in-law Vera and their beautiful retriever Dusty.

The weather played its part and it was sunny and warm enough to have afternoon tea on deck. It was great fun having them on the Freshwater and showing them around town.

We even found a restaurant in a neighbouring village which was open on a Sunday night. Usually in the smaller towns of France, the restaurants close on Sundays after lunch and only re-open on Tuesdays


"La Bonne Vie “ also cruised in on Sunday and it was great seeing Jan and Bill again. In true Jan-fashion we were already invited on La Bonne Vie for dinner before the ropes had been tied. It was another lavish, 4 course meal and an entertaining night with the generous Caddys and their friends Vivienne and Neville.

And we haven’t looked back since then! We had to help Ross and Diana drink their champagne, as they insisted they bought too many bottles to drink on their own before their departure. Then more champagne on Austin’s Birthday, followed by lunch at our favourite restaurant “Maison Battavoine”. On the only sunny and dry midday between days of rain, we even attempted an Aussie Barbecue on the deck of Freshwater. But for desert and coffee we had to flee from the cold wind inside.                                                                             

In the meantime, the half empty harbour was invaded by 10 Dutch boats in just 1 day! There was lots of shuffling, and hovering the next morning as they queued up to get into the next lock.

With the rain came also violent storms causing trees to block two of the nearby canals. This has further delayed the arrival of Toul harbour regulars and newcomers.

And although Austin and I really wanted to "diet and detox", we feel obligated to make up for those latecomers in keeping  

with the harbour’s party reputation.

Toul itself currently celebrates with a nightly light show on the facade of the beautiful 15th century cathedral.

Sadly Jan and Bill had to return to the UK early. But even in the midst of packing, they took the time to drive with us to Passavant La Rochère to show us the well known glass factory, a two hour trip, but well worth it! Amazing to watch the glassblowers at work! 

On Sunday we caught the last concert of the Toul Bach Festival, starting with musical pieces of a French hunting horn group - beautiful sounds! This was followed by a cantata of J.S. Bach. The Saint-Gengoult Church was just the right environment and size for the chamber orchestra and 4 excellent singers.

The title of the Bach Cantata ( “Was mir behagt ist nur die muntre Jagd” ) “What pleases me is just the joyful hunt” inspired Austin and me to go on a hunt ourselves. And so the next day we took the bus to Nancy to “hunt" for some urgently needed hardware supplies. 

Unfortunately, the Bricomarché in Toul burned down 2 months ago and there is no other Hardware shop in the area.(Arson investigations are still ongoing. I personally suspect a frustrated canal boat wife). Austin took this very hard, and so the trip to Leroy Merlin Hardware in Nancy was kind of a late Birthday present from me. After walking the aisles and turning over every electrical wire and novelty tool, we finally left with a tin of paint, a LED light and sore feet.

Luckily we had a dinner date with Diana and Ross who were leaving us the next day to return to Western Australia, and so we had to go back before closing time!

© Austin Robinson 2019