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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.