May 25, 2012
The sun came out at last, and the rain clouds receded, as we departed the Paris Arsenal for the next stage of our journey up the upper or Haut Seine. Actually, the weather changed completely, and we experienced many days of brilliant and hot sunshine as we made our way up this attractive part of the river. Our first stop was the well-appointed little harbour (or Port de Plaisance) at Draveil where we stayed for a couple of days enjoying the local parkland and the excellent wifi signal. We made friends with some Irish neighbours (Shane and Frank) and we set off with them in their motor launch ‘Atlantis’ the next day, finally reaching Melun – while our friends decided to press on. After a little difficulty identifying a suitable mooring, we enjoyed a pleasant riverside evening meal. Travelling further up the Seine the following day, we saw some beautiful waterside properties, presumably owned by French bankers, or the such-like. Eventually we arrived at St Mammès sur Seine, another gathering-ground for retired Péniche owners, where the first of the Bourbonnais canals we planned to take (the Canal de Loing) branches off south.
A particular delight awaited us just a couple of kilometres into the canal – the unspoiled, historic town of Moret sur Loing. Basing ourselves at the little Port de Plaisance, we spent a couple of pleasant days amongst the cluster of Pèniches, walking around the local area, including a rather hot walk through the Forest of Fontainebleau. Despite an effort to reach a verdant high point, the palace itself remained beyond our view deep in the woodland. By this time the heat of the day was upon us, and we stumbled rather stickily back to the boat for a shower, vowing never again to enter this extensive forest without a decent map!