St. Léger to Santenay


When we stopped in St. Léger yesterday we had a bit of drama. The only deep enough mooring we headed for turned out to be reserved for a commercial barge which arrived shortly after us. Everywhere else was too shallow (1,10 -1,20m), ok for the flat-bottomed "Locaboats" stationed there but not for us. Our boat got stuck on the ground even while shuffling away.


As we were looking desperately around where we could stay for the night, a lovely french couple came to our rescue and offered us to tie up alongside their boat. So we tied up bow to their stern and tried not to climb over their boat more times than necessary.

This morning we moved onto a mooring vacated by a NZ boat and Austin thanked the french boaties with a bottle of Red.

As we were sitting on deck contemplating  to look around town we saw the "Stardust" with Ken and Katie cruising into port. We last had seen them at Châtillion-sur-Loire were their motor was lifted out to be re-vamped. Over a cuppa we were relieved to hear that their 5 week engine trouble was sorted. Amazingly they had kept their positiveness and sense of humour!

St. Léger turned out to be quite a quaint place. We found an interesting antique/curiosity shop with antique dolls and marionettes and quirky things from all over the world. We bought a few items in the small supermarket whose sales lady laughed with us about our wrong French and picked up a fresh baguette at the bakery across the road. One of the best yet!

The local church was in dire need of a paint job as the old paint was flaking off the walls, but we liked the sunflowers on the church entrance. Along the canal were some big properties with large lawns and gardens and a restaurant "Au P'tit Kir". The terrace of the restaurant was full of patrons enjoying lunch in the sunshine. The menus looked very good but more on the expensive side.


We booked in for dinner but the timing in the end conflicted with the announced concert & puppeteers at the port.

All afternoon we watched a group of travelling artists called "TRAM" setting up for the event.


At the quay we were intercepted by a very soulful and demure looking marionette.

Around 8pm we sat down with the locals to watch the concert and were soon joined by the friendly french couple from yesterday and Ken and Katie. The music was in the style of the traditional french chansons accompanied by accordion/piano/accordina and guitar.

The singer, who is also the writer & composer of the songs, was a bundle of energy bopping all over the stage. To Austins amusement he got me up for a dance. He lead very well and avoided being trampled by my boating crocks!



First day of autumn here and the morning and evening air has somewhat cooled down, but the days are sunny and warm.

As it is Fathers Day in Australia, I did what I was told by the girls and made Austin a very special breakfast of a blue cheese omelette finished of by croissants with marmalade. That was it as far as I was concerned: the rest of the day was mine!

After lunch we took off and soon were surrounded by vineyard-clad hills approaching Santenay  We were lucky to still find a spot on a mooring near the village. Even though there is no water or electricity the mooring next to a great bike path and shady trees is a very popular spot.

Cycling back along the path we found one of those romantic old places, Cheilly-les- Maranges with lots of wine caves advertising their produce. We bravely ignored the call of the grape and pedalled on for another few kilometres uphill through beautiful vineyards until we reached "Haute Santenay", the high part of the little town, where a special wine is grown and from where we had a great view onto the lower part of town with its Château. Reaching the "centre villa" we finally allowed ourselves a glass of the local wine on the hotel terrace. 

After a late dinner we watched the 1974 version of "The great Gatsby" with Robert Redford. We will check out the new version once back in Sydney. Knowing Baz Luhrmann it will be at least as lavish as the old one.



We are off to the Château de Santenay, or also known as the Château de Phillipe le Hardi ( no relations to Thomas Hardy/ Australia) to take a tour through the winery! This 14th century fort formerly owned by the duke of Bourgogne called " Le Hardi" for his toughness, was converted in the 16th century to a residential place. Now it is the biggest wine cellar of the area.


We were the only people there for the 10.30 tour and lucky that the guide spoke good English. We learned that 80% of the local wine is Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonay. The Chardonay grapes are machine picked and put straight into the crushers and then fermented, while the Pinot Noir grapes are hand picked and placed into huge vats, where they ferment prior to being crushed.


The wine is placed into 3 different aged oak barrels chosen carefully for their quality of wood. There it ages for a year before being mixed together again, always separating the wines from the diverse local areas. The choice and treatment of the oak barrels is a whole science by itself. 

The tour ended of course with some wine-tasting, it was torture!

Back at the mooring we were hailed by a rowdy Aussie crowd on a huge "Le Boat" cruiser. They turned out to be a happy group of Melbournians enjoying a week on the canals. We got the latest update on the Rudd/Abbott fiasco - glad not being there for election day!

In the late afternoon we cruised through beautiful countryside to near-by Chagny.


© Austin Robinson 2019