4th May 2018
In January the region saw some large winter storms, which brought with them torrential rain, flooding the river Yonne. The river levels rose and the speed of the river was phenomenal. The Luciole clung to her mooring in Auxerre as water levels rose above the height of the quay. It also washed down many trees, stumps and wood that remain on the river bottom from the days of wood transportation. As a result the dam/barrage in Vaux was badly damaged and requires repair, the river section above is empty and impassable even to the smallest of boats.
The maintenance on the canal is the responsibility of the authority called ‘VNF’ which stands for ‘Voies Navigables de France’ (Waterways of France) This is not an easy job, mostly due to conflicts of the funding and aging waterways across France. The Nivernais is a beautiful and quiet canal, with less boat traffic, however it cuts deep into the heart of Burgundy, providing jobs and opportunities through tourism across a poor area of the region.
Simply, due to failures within the organization the dam has not yet been repaired, work has not yet even started 4 months later! The knock on affects of this are huge to many small businesses in the valley. The impact has made national news in France and headlined the regions papers.
Tensions came to a head and a meeting was called, attended by senior VNF officials as well as representatives from the region’s business, local officials, mayors from the towns, boats and barges, Penny from the Luciole attended, to make it very clear the impact that this has on so many people.
Thankfully the importance of the waterway has been conveyed and work is due to start next week -optimistically scheduled for completion at the start of June. This means that we are visiting the canal du Burgundy to the East in the meantime, providing us with logistical challenges but an opportunity for the Luciole to return to the canal she once plied her trade. We are fortunate to have an alternative option to still provide our guests with a great cruise route as well as some of the usual visits.
Hotel barge Luciole
Cruising since 1976
Phone: 00 44 1625 576880
From USA: 011 44 1625 576880
23 Adlington Road, Bollington
SK10 5JT England
1-2 Quai de la Republique, Auxerre