We spent from last Thursday up until yesterday in Meaux (Pronounced Mo) which is on the river Marne and is famous for its Brie cheese and Pommery Moutarde du Meaux (mustard). Neither of us wanted to leave and we had to finally force ourselves to leave yesterday. It was a total contrast to Paris- large local town with everything nearby and no rushing around or Metro underground. Even the torrential rain and thunder and lightning a few of the days did not put us off.
The mooring pontoons were in the middle of the town and were almost free (you are supposed to only stay 48 hours and pay €4.50 per day for water and electricity). Someone from the tourist office only came twice to collect the money and would not take for more than one day at a time so we paid a total of €9 for five days and nobody told us to leave- this is France at its best!
We went to a great market on the Saturday and bought loads of fruit, vegetables and some of the local Brie cheese. The Brie that was two years old had an amazing salty taste. Meaux had a good chandlery shop and I got lots of bits and pieces. This allowed me to get the battery monitor working after eight weeks (for the non-boaters very important as it tells us know the exact state of the batteries and when they will die if not on shore power). i.e . when the lights will go out!
A little community of boaters rapidly formed and we had drinks and snacks on our deck the first night we arrived for anyone who was there. Ann & Bret on big barge Kismet (who we had meet last year), Terry and Terry (on Renaissance, a narrow boat from UK), Eric and Damiene (Jura in France on Amulet steel Belgium cruiser). That helped us renew old acquaintances and make new friends. Needless to say we got loads of advice and help over the next five days as the long-time boaters helped us “newbies”. Nuala is using a Gatao wine bottle that we got from Terry x 2, as a water carafe. So we are starting to recycle which is good.
Six of us went to the local Chinese (Nuala said not to tell anyone we were in France and eating in the Chinese) but it was great value. All you can eat place for cost of €10.80 per person and the quality was really good. The two Terry’s recommended it and they were right!
So we got real comfy in Meaux. But we have to shake ourselves and get moving again. What helped us was the others had left before us! Strasbourg is our next target and after that Berlin. At one level you could get used to this leisurely lifestyle with no deadlines. While both of us are enjoying it, we have decided we have things we want to achieve in life and we will go back next year to take up the challenge of life again!
That sounds like a place u could live for a few months!
We could have- but we had to get moving. On doubt there will be lots of other places just as good!
welcome to la ferté sous jouarre!
lovely to meet you last night at your boat, it was the first time for me to see a boat in town with an Irish flag. I’ve joined your blog and will be keen to follow your progress,
I tried to give you as much local tourist info as possible, and I have thought of another interesting fact for you, well la Ferté is very proud of its connection with Samuel Beckett who lived in the neighbouring village Ussy sur marne (the last village you passed through before getting here from Meaux) the latest major new buildings in town are called after mr sam beckett, that is, the lycée, and the bibliothèque/library, (this is on the opposite bank just before the bridge)
there are lovely walks on both sides of the river and you can follow the path next to your boat by bicycle or on foot for the next 10 km or so, very nice
once you get around the next loop, (you have one lock at courtaron), and under the bridge at Luzancy you will leave our beautiful valley, and arrive n the Champagne vineyards, Charly sur marne is a nice little town, there are constant villages all the way to Chateau Thierry, where you can visit the american memorial, and hopefully visit the american cemetry and museum in Belleau (you might want to use your sisters car to get there, it’s a busy enough road for cycling and a massive hill,) there is lots of memorial activities on there at the moment and apparently some kind of “free show” on saturday evening at the museum in the village of belleau on saturday evening (I’m hoping to go there myself with with herself and the kids
also Chateau Thierry has a great medieval chateau with medieval looking people with falcons and such, bit of a climb up, behind the Mairie, (if you take the road leading left from the place de l’hotel de ville it’s a more gentle walk and you get the see a lovely old street from 17th Century) with an old hospital where some resistant women managed to escape the clutches of the gestapo in a darinig attack on a concentration camp destined train) but mostly Chateau Thierry is known throughout France for being the home of French writer 17th century times, Jean De La Fontaine, who wrote a pile of Aesop fable copies and is known to all little kids for stories such as the Crow and the fox (not sure actually I never read them myself) you’ll see some representations of these at roundabouts,
oh yeah the banks of the marne are full of history, la Ferté sous Jouarre is also well know for Mill stone quarrying, (capitale mondiale de la pierre meulière no less) lots of war action here, from hundred years war to 1st world war counter attack by the british expeditionary force, and the German tanks came right down the banks rive here, in 1940. The French tried to make a stand at Luzancy (you will see why as the valley narrows here, and the tanks drove right over them literally), the British and Americans drove right back up through here again in 1944. There are many people living around here who can tell you their memories of these terrible times,
oh yeah the railway bridges here used to get a right pasting by the RAF, one of our neighbours remembers it well as she grew up in Méry sur marne and so her house was in the path of the bombers, and eventually they succeeded in blocking the line, as in Saacy (the next village east) they can remember the prisoners having to walk through the town to reboard the trains heading for the concentration camps… sorry for going on but its nice for you to see more of the background as you whizz by 🙂
anyway greeting from la Ferté sous Jouarre and Minane Bridge county Cork!
my mobile is 07 60 97 25 06 , I might call to ye again tonight
France is my favourite place on the planet and i am reading with envy LOL – really enjoy reading the blogs.
you will have to try this life style. Its great! Many people we have met are liveaboards ( because they can live very cheaply on boats) but its not for us. Long term we have other things we want to do in life
Hi nuala and Adrian, i am looking forward to meet you in Berlin! Meanwhile go on enjoying yourself on this wonderful trip. I Really envy you, France is a great country and you are meeting so many nice and interesting People. Many Thanks for your lovely Blog, I adore reading it! Lots of love Heike
Hi Heike, we are having a super time, Mum and Kate coming tonight to stay for 5 days. we hope to be in Berlin around 3 July… leaving on 22nd to fly home to Dublin for 2 weeks.. then back to Berlin on 5th August. i will get in touch again in June to reconfirm dates and give you address of where our boat will be moored. Love and Hugs Nuala
Hi we stayed in Meaux when we took the kids to Eurodisney years ago, we stayed at an old Brie dairy farm in an amazing converted barn – I couldn’t face Mickey Mouse at breakfast so we looked for somewhere interesting nearby -we didn’t want to leave either:)
Glad you are having a great time well done to Nuala for embracing ‘camping on water’ I would have been checking into a hotel for the day for a hot bath by now!
I have you know we have an excellent shower on the boat!! No camping for us. Look like you enjoyed Meaux as much as we did. – Adrian