Nuala and I booked holidays from work and went to France on a trip to find a boat. The Plan was to fly out Thursday morning, rent a car and drive down to Marcigny. This trip took longer than we thought (7 hours).
We stayed in a great guest house recommended by Graham Wharmby of Boatshed.com. It was brilliant and only cost €30 per head.
The next day we went with Graham, a likeable and friendly English man who has changed career from piloting tourist boats in Paris to selling boats in the South of France. He now runs Boatshed sales offices in Bourgogne and Canal Du Midi.While working on the boats in Paris, he fell in love with one of the crew. As they say the rest is history and now 20 years later he is married has two children and never sees himself going back to England. Graham took us to see two boats the next day and while we would have loved to buy a boat from him, neither were suitable foe us.
As planned, the next day we went to St Jean de Losne which had two boat sales yards H2O and Bourgogne Marine. We stayed there for two nights in the only hotel in the town Auberge de la Marine. This was basic, comfortable and family run with a great traditional restaurant. You know its a good restaurant when its hard to get a booking and full of local people. This was an ideal opportunity to look at over 30 boats, all in the one place as H2O had a open sales weekend. We also visited Bourgogne Marine and while we had made an appointment to visit there was nobody there to meet us!
Having spent two days viewing the boats, I was a little despondent. All the boats in our price range were old, well used and not suitable for our needs. All the boats we really liked were way out our price bracket (over €125,000).
On Sunday we left St Jean de Losne feeling very down and drove back to North of Paris to Pontoise. We were booked in to stay on a 95 year old barge with a couple we had meet on the internet who were offering to rent their barge for a year at cost of €24,000.
We would have to decide the next day whether to rent a barge for the year or buy a boat. With what we had seen in boats it looked like the only option was the barge rental.
The next day changed our mind on this !! Story for another blog. But the option of renting this barge was off our list.
On Monday evening we flew back from Beauvais airport tired and were very disappointed that we hadn’t found a boat in France. As we now knew our only option was to purchase rather than rent a boat we decided to have another look at boats in Ireland.