Road signs and signs on local businesss in Cours-les-Barres, France.

La Chapelle-Montlinard to Cours-les-Barres

The Canal Latéral à la Loire

We are in the middle of a one-week trip on a rented boat, traveling 130 kilometers along the Canal Latéral à la Loire from Briare south to Decize. We have just spent the night tied up at La Chapelle-Montlinard after exploring the down of La Charité-sur-Loire and visiting its famous priory church.

Today we will pass Argenvières, Saint-Léger-le-Petit, Beffes, Marseilles-lès-Aubigny, Jouet-sur-l'Aubois, and then tie up for the night at Cours-les-Barres.

Argenvières

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Argenvières

Argenvières is a village of about 480 people. On our way there we pass another freight barge. They need most of the canal, you have to get all the way to the right bank to allow them to pass. If you're lucky, you may happen to be close to a wider spot in the canal when you see them coming.

Part of map NL-31-2.

Part of map NL-31-2 from the Perry Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas.

Passing a commercial barge on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Passing a commercial barge on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Passing a commercial barge on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Passing a commercial barge on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.

Saint-Léger-le-Petit

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Saint-Léger-le-Petit

Saint-Léger-le-Petit is petit or small, just as its name says. There are almost 370 people living here.

As we approach Saint-Léger-le-Petit we pass a commercial passenger barge.

Passing a commercial barge on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Passing a commercial barge on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Passing modern château on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Modern industry along the Canal Latéral à la Loire: a cement plant

Beffes

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Beffes

Beffes is a little larger, with a population of about 670. There are traces of a Gallo-Roman villa here. The villa was built on an earthen mound, which might be the remains of earlier people.

Limestone quarrying began here in the 1880s, and that led to a cement factory. Today the cement plant, built in 1954, employs 120 people and produces 2,500 tonnes of cement per day.

Modern industry along the Canal Latéral à la Loire: a small railroad
Entering Marseilles-lès-Aubigny on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.

Marseilles-lès-Aubigny

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Marseilles-lès-Aubigny

Marseilles-lès-Aubigny used to be an important shipping port. It is still active, but not as important as it used to be with the railroads and trucks.

You pass the opening into the Canal de Berry, decommissioned in 1955.

Entering Marseilles-lès-Aubigny on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Entering Marseilles-lès-Aubigny on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Entering Marseilles-lès-Aubigny on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Entering Marseilles-lès-Aubigny on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Entering Marseilles-lès-Aubigny on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.
Entering Marseilles-lès-Aubigny on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.

Jouet-sur-l'Aubois

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Jouet-sur-l'Aubois

Jouet-sur-l'Aubois is a larger town, with about 1,400 people. Flint tools show that the area was inhabited in prehistoric times, when the current town site was a large body of water.

As at Beffes, limestone quarrying and cement production became local industries in the 1800s. In the 1970s a local factory built diesel engines for locomotives, warships, and generators. A factory now produces parts for high-power pumps.

Lock house on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.

Cours-les-Barres

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Cours-les-Barres

Cours-les-Barres is a small town where we tied up for the night.

There is a small park on the hillside leading down to the canal from the businesses along the road through town. The town set up a nice area to tie up, with posts so you don't have to drive stakes, and with a water faucet so you can refill your tank. There are two small restaurants where you can get dinner, a grocery, and a boulanger for fresh bread in the morning.

Looking down on the Canal Latéral à la Loire from the town park in Cours-les-Barres.
Church at the center of Cours-les-Barres.
Businesses in the center of Cours-les-Barres.
Businesses in the center of Cours-les-Barres.