Canal Trip: Day 3 La Gazonne to Rogny les Sept Ecluses

Our morning cruise saw us move towards the village of Rogny les-Sept-Ecluses famous for, as its name suggests, a staircase or flight of seven locks.  Built in the 17th century these locks were originally just 27 metres long, far too short for our 38 metre craft. They were extended in the 1830’s to accommodate barges of 32 metres and it was not until a new part of the canal was constructed with six separate locks in the 19th century did boats as large as ours become prevalent.  

This was the time when the locks and canals were at their most important.  Records show that in 1835 nearly 4000 barges used these locks carrying 150,000 tons of cargo. Today, Renaissance remains the largest of vessels able to use this canal and in most locks she has just centimetres of space between the lock wall and the yacht sides.

We chose to take an excursion to Chateau Guédelon a medieval castle in the making. Here a team of fifty or so people have taken on an extraordinary task of building a brand new replica castle using the very same techniques and materials used in the Middle Ages.  Work on the site began in 1997 and it is scheduled to take 25 years to complete.

Guédelon offers a unique if somewhat crowded and over commercialised opportunity to witness the different stages of a castle’s construction with each phase being of interest in its own right.

An alternative and perhaps less commercial visit could have been to the 1000+ year old Castle of Saint Fargeau. In the year 980, Héribert, Auxerre’s bishop and biological son of King Hugues Capet, built this fortified hunting meeting place. It is, we are told wonderfully fascinating.

Renaissance is Operated by European Waterways