Join Barge Nilaya right in the heart of the stunning art nouveau city of Nancy, a short walk or tram ride away from Place Stanislas. A architectural gem of a central square created in 1750 and fully restored by UNESCO as a breathtaking world heritage monument. Nancy's old town was founded in the 11th century but transformed in the 18th by Stanislas Leczinski, Duke of Lorraine. It is a masterpiece of 18th century town planning. The opportunities to dine out are vast so its definitely your best course of action! There are some FABULOUS eateries in Nancy. We would certainly recommend staying in a Nancy hotel the night before your cruise!
After a substantial breakfast, you'll have time to further explore this beautiful city before returning to Nilaya for a light lunch on route to tonights mooring in or near the small town of Crevic. While lunch is prepared, it's well worth enjoying a circular walk into and around this sleepy agricultural hamlet. Today, the scenery is initially quite industrial as we pass through Dombasle, once home to one of the largest privately owned barge fleet in the world. This soon gives way to bucolic pastoral landscapes and small villages. We plan mooring in another such place, possibly Einville-au-Jard or agricultural Bouzemont and cook you a hearty home cooked dinner aboard.
Nilaya climbs gently through more rural landscapes toward the mighty sixteen metre Rechicourt-le-Chateau canal lock. I plan to stop in a small village for lunch or take it on the 'hoof' while we cruise towards tonight's planned mooring somewhere above or below this mighty ecluse (lock). You'll have plenty of time once moored to explore the five overgrown lock chambers that were replaced by the new lock in the late 1960's. It's certainly a very interesting and explorative walk. Tonight's dinner will be aboard or alternatively we might choose to spark up the BBQ.
We find ourselves on the 33 kilometre lock free canal summit level between Rechicourt and either Hesse or Niderviller. We cruise through reservoirs, dense forest and the gentle scenery of the 'Parc regional de Lorraine'. It is really quite lovely up here! The city of Sarrebourg lies about six kilometres away from where I hope to moor and this afternoon, you might like to visit the 13th Century Cordeliers Chapel with its massive Chagall designed stained glass window. In Niderviller village is a porcelain factory that you might care to visit if you have aditional time. This evening we'll drop you at a very good restaurant in Niderviller or if you really wish to splash out on a top Michelin eatery, we can drop you at the Soldat de l'An 2.
Today will likely be the highlight of the weeks cruising. Not only do we have to navigate through the two tunnels of Niderviller and Arzviller spending three kilometres underground, we then have to drop down the side of a seriously steep hill via the spectacular St Louis-Arzviller boat lift. The unique, spectacular and thrilling 'St-Louis-Arzviller Inclined plane' as it's correctly known, is a wonder of 1960's engineering that replaced seventeen locks and by using counterbalanced weights lifts an 850 tonne trough of water containing you, me, Barge Nilaya and possibly another barge, floating inside it, sideways down the side of a cliff! The views over the forests of the steeply sided Zorn valley are wonderful from here. It's an experience you won't forget! Hold on tight now!
With luck we'll find time to explore some of the now abandoned and empty ecluses by either bike or on foot. These offer quite a spectacle, still being complete with their lock keepers cottages, narrow gauge rail tracks and lock gates. Below the boat lift the 'Marne-au-Rhin' canal takes us through a stunningly rural section of Alsace-Lorraine to tonight's mooring in the beautiful Alsatian town of Lutzelbourg. Few canal side villages in Alsace are as beautiful as Lutzelbourg. We sugest that tonight you dine ashore in the local 'Bierstub'
Our last days cruising takes us down the wonderful Zorn Valley to the bustling town of Saverne, full of half-timbered houses and the huge summer palace of Cardinal Louis-de-Rohan, near which we hope to moor. Ruined castles dot hilltops high above where we cruise, one such ruin commanding views through the 'Col-de-Saverne' as far as Strasbourg. Chateau-de-Haut-Barr or the 'Eye of Alsace' is however, at least a five kilometre uphill hike from our proposed mooring but the breathtaking view is well worth the effort. There's even a simple restaurant in the chateau itself and if you'd like to eat up there, we'll happy drop and pick you up. You have plenty of dining opportunities in Saverne, but to be honest, theres knowhere as quinticencially 'Alsacian' as Taverne Katz, so in our view, thats where you should go.
You'll be leaving Nilaya after breakfast on Friday morning. Saverne train station is around five minutes level walk from the mooring. Fast TGV Trains from Paris to Nancy take just 90 minutes and Saverne to Paris around two hours. Strasbourg, a great place to extend your holiday lies about 25 minutes train ride to the east.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Unforeseen circumstances sometimes affect our cruising schedule. These can include, but are not limited to: illness, floods, weather, canal closures, canal maintenance, lack of moorings, bureaucracy, strikes, civil disturbance, acts of god, the engine, and whims and fancies of both skipper, guests and crew. All of these things might cause last minute changes to the above and cruise routes. Although rare, we reserve the right to alter any and all routes accordingly. Flexibility is the name of the game and any such changes cannot be considered grounds for cancellation of the cruise.