Alsace-Lorraine & Arzviller Barge Lift

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Nancy to Saverne (Cruise runs Saturday to Friday)

Highlights: Stunning Place Stanislas in Nancy - Zorn Valley - St-Louis-Arzviller Inclined Plane - Beautiful Lutzelbourg - Magnificent scenery

The stunning city of Nancy in FranceYou'll join the barge right in the heart of the stunning city of Nancy, a short walk or tram ride away from Place Stanislas. A architectural gem of a central square created in 1750 and recently 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! 

After a substantial continental breakfast and leisurely start, on Sunday morning we'll steam out of Nancy on route to a lunch stop near the small town of St Nicholas de Port. While I get the lunch ready it's well worth the walk into this small town for a visit to the impressive fifteenth century Basilica with its 85 and 87 metre high towers. The scenery is initially quite industrial but this soon gives way to rural agricultural landscapes and small villages. I plan to moor in one such village, possibly Einville-au-Jard tonight and cook you a hearty dinner aboard.

The Basilica in St Nicholas de PortOn Monday the barge 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 near 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 need to be self catered aboard or alternatively we might choose to spark up the BBQ.

BBQ on the canal bankOn Tuesday 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 by taxi from where I hope to moor and I suggest you consider visiting the 13th Century Cordeliers Chapel with its massive Chagall designed stained glass window, maybe also staying on in Sarrebourg for dinner before returning to the barge. Also, in the village of Niderviller is a porcelain factory that you might care to visit if you have time. Alternatively, this evening we can self cater aboard.

Wednesday will 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 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, the barge 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!

Arzvillers Boat lift model at the interesting visitors centreWith 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. You can dine ashore, grab a snack in a 'Bierstub' or self cater aboard tonight. The choice is yours.

The Eye of Alsace or Chateau de Haut barrThursday, our last days cruising takes us through 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, opposite which I 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 an excellent restaurant in the Chateau itself and its possible to arrange a taxi from Saverne in one or both directions. It would certainly be a wonderful finale to your cruise aboard the barge. Alternatively you have plenty of dining opportunities in Saverne itself. 

TGV Trains from Paris to Nancy take just 90 minutes and Strasbourg to Paris around two hours.

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.