We love Saarlouis

Here are the reasons why- not necessarily in this order:

  1. A charming town with plenty of things to do and see.
  2. Free, quiet mooring- room for maximum 3 small boats - no services, but felt very safe.
  3. Great nearby supermarket “Globus”, maybe not the cheapest but in contrast to before mentioned shop in Merzig very well organised and lots of choices,
  4. Nice cafes and bars, great outdoor seating, blankets and TV screens for soccer fans available.
  5. Very helpful people in Information Centre, printed out bus timetables etc. for us
  6. An amazing Hardware shop, called “Bauhaus”, 10 minutes bus ride with bus no. 406 from "Kleiner Markt” to “Ensdorf Baumärkte”. This Hardware has absolutely everything, including a great chandlery section. Comes with warning “husbands have been lost there”!!! 
  7. Ikea in neighbouring Lisdorf, bus no 415, stop “Ikea Kreisel Lisdorf”, less than 10 minutes away.

And no, I am not being paid by the Saarlouis tourist office! - Yet!

From the mooring there are two ways to access town. Just behind the cruise boat jetty is a path to the town park. Several bike and walking tracks run along the old fortress walls and bastions to a section of casemates. We noticed that a casemate door was ajar and were soon hailed by a gentleman to enter. He introduced us to an amazing glass sculptor currently exhibiting in the vault.

On top of the casemates a foot bridge crosses the old Saar arm to the Vauban Island where the statue of "forgotten Soldier, Lacroix" holds fearfully onto his weapon. He is said to have been left behind by his French mates when they retreated from the Prussians in 1815.

The Prussians soon reinforced and expanded the fortress to add more earth covered casemates as bomb proof shelters and defence posts. These casemates can be found when using a more direct approach to town, along the street to the “German Gate”. They are today known as “The longest Counter of the Saarland” and house multiple stylish bars and restaurants.

Walking along the “Deutsche Straße” you hit  the big market place (“Großer Markt”), currently taken up by a huge TV screen and fenced area for viewing of the European Soccer Cup. From here the street name changes to “Französche Straße” (French Street) which ends at the “Kleiner Markt” (Small Market).

The town of Saarlouis is shaped by the 17th century fortress built by Vauban and Choisy on orders of Louis XIV. The old centre is bordered by the “Kaserne VI” barracks which serves now as municipal museum, library and police inspectorate. The museum is well worth visiting, displaying archeological finds, the towns evolution over 300 years and some other interesting collections. We were amazed about the number of fortresses Vauban was involved with. There was a list of 69 of them spread throughout Europe.

The barracks aptly stand in a street called “Brauereistraße” (Brewery St.) just off “Bier Straße”! Austin tried a dark "Weißbier“ (White Beer), a contradiction in itself, while we watched France knocking Albania out of the Cup. 

It was easy to imagine how lively the street cafes would be, if it wasn’t for the constant showers and cool breezes. But for a couple of nights we toughened it out, warming up with a hot soup and a glass of red.

Yesterday was Austin’s favourite day! We took the bus from Kleiner Markt to the “Bauhaus”, a huge hardware/building supply shop in neighbouring Ensdorf. To our amazement we found a section called “Nautic”, where we not only found the right LEDs for our boat lights, but also a couple of fittings we couldn’t find in any chandlery so far. They had the diverse ropes by the meter, fenders, life jackets, top lac and all kinds of boat paints, flags and flagpoles, books of the waterways a.s.o. So we left with an extra lifejacket, fittings, boat grease, stainless steel washers, a boat cover……2 hours later. I know now where to take Austin for his Birthday in September!!!

Today we made the brave attempt to leave while the rain continued, but only made 4km. When I announced us over the phone to the lock keeper, we were told: "the lock is being repaired. Just make yourselves comfortable and relax for the rest of the day." Thanks! But with no certainty of when the repair would be completed we returned tail between our legs to the mooring in Saarlouis where our Dutch boating neighbours had wisely remained waiting for the weather to improve.

© Austin Robinson 2019