Susi and Austin's

Travelling the Rivers and

Canals of Europe


Tunnelling and Pedalling

Friday 27 May 2022 7:40 PM

Savoyeux, Seveux and Traves

After Gray the river, which we largely had to ourselves, became busier.  For the first time, we had to wait in front of some locks. Yet the Lodi seemed to be one of very few privately owned boats. Hire boats of diverse sizes being navigated more or less erratically by holidayers from Switzerland, Austria, France and Germany were predominant. We still made good time and although the locks became narrower, Austin mastered them well, having gotten used to his new girlfriend’s wide girth. 

So when we finally arrived at the 643m long Seveux-Savoyeux Tunnel it presented no challenge for Captain Austin. Asking the locals if there was anything to see in nearby Seveux, the answer was: "Nothing special". But walking into the village we found an amazingly well-preserved old wash house.

 We stayed the night in Savoyeux and had the obligatory safe arrival drinks, followed by homemade burgers. 

The next day, just before getting to the second tunnel, we decided to take a detour. We turned into an arm of the old river towards the town of Traves. Tom Summers’ notes, which we like to follow, alerted us to old Dolmen megaliths near Traves which we really wanted to see. The 5 km cruise in itself was spectacular! As the waterway narrowed, we cruised through dense pine forest following the bends of the natural river and dodging overhanging branches.


We were a little doubtful of what we would find at the end of this excursion. But finally, the river opened out to a small cove. Four boats were already moored on a couple of very rickety pontoons. In between the first and second pontoon, the water depth was sufficient for us to tie up. Being so remote, the mooring fee was quite high considering the highly suspect, unstable mooring and lack of facilities. The main income for the small marina seemed to come from a scattering of holiday cabins.

By the time we had secured the Lodi as well as possible, we were due for a nap. Then we set off with our bikes towards the tiny village of Aroz to see the ancient stone. This was our first uphill excursion with the new bikes, and let me tell you, it got our hearts and muscles pumping. Luckily the ride was not too long and we soon keenly scoured the fields for what I naively imagined to be a stone structure of Stone Henge proportions. We found the local "Pierre Percée”, a 1m x 1,20m stone with a hole in the middle. However, this stone is thought to be a vestige of a burial dating from the fourth or third millennium BC which once separated the corridor from the burial chamber. The hole was probably a symbol for the passage of the soul of the deceased to the afterlife.

We cycled back and into Traves itself to a more recent burial site, the church cemetery. The gravestones were inscribed with lovely messages. One caught my eye, as I recognised the text as a Henry Scott Holland quote:” Death is nothing at all…."

Ahead of us the next day, was another passage: the Saint Albin Tunnel! The tunnel has much the same dimensions as the previous one. This time I got wise though and wore my puffer jacket while I supervised Austin’s steering from the outside. Again we passed through lovely nature and easy locks and arrived at Port-sur-Saône at 1.30 pm. Passing the town hall we found ourselves in Africa but had no time to find out what this exhibition of African sculptures was all about.

Our stomachs told us to find a restaurant for lunch - fast! We did find a lovely looking place “La Marina" right next to the canal, but lunch was “finit!”.

Silly we forgot that no matter how little business there is, the French have set rules about lunch-time. We call it “French time”.

So it was back to the boat for bread, cheese salad and an afternoon nap! Not so bad either!

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