Arzviller Barge Lift & Alsace-Lorraine

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Saverne to Nancy (Cruise runs Saturday to Friday)

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

Barge Nilaya moors in the heart of NancyYou'll be joining Barge Nilaya in 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 be moored. 

High above the canal we'll be cruising tomorrow lies a ruin with commanding views through the 'Col-de-Saverne' as far as Strasbourg. Chateau-de-Haut-Barr or the 'Eye of Alsace' is at least five kilometres uphill hike from our mooring but the breathtaking view is well worth the effort. There's an excellent restaurant in the Chateau itself and it would be possible to arrange a taxi from Saverne in one or both directions. It would certainly be a wonderful start to your cruise aboard Barge Nilaya. Alternatively you have plenty of dining opportunities in Saverne itself. 

On Sunday, after a leisurely continental breakfast, we'll be steaming out of Saverne through the wonderful Zorn Valley. 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.

Monday will provide one of the highlights of the weeks cruising. Not only do we have to navigate through the two tunnels of Niderviller and Arzviller spending three kilometres underground, we first have to climb 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, Barge Nilaya and possibly another barge, floating inside it, sideways up 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! 

The Eye of Alsace or Chateau de Haut barrBefore climbing up in the boat lift, 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. Above the boat lift, we cruise through the tunnels to my proposed mooring near either Hesse or Niderviller. The city of Sarrebourg lies about six kilometres away by taxi from where I hope to moor and you might 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 Barge Nilaya. 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.

On Tuesday we find ourselves on the 33 kilometre lock free canal summit level cruising through rural landscapes toward the top of the mighty sixteen metre Rechicourt-le-Chateau canal lock. We cruise through reservoirs, dense forest and the gentle scenery of the 'Parc regional de Lorraine'. It is really quite lovely up here! I plan to stop near a small village for lunch or take it on the 'hoof' while we cruise towards tonight's planned mooring above Rechicourt. You'll have plenty of time to explore the five overgrown lock chambers that were replaced by the new lock in the late 1960's. It's 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.

Arzvillers Boat lift model at the interesting visitors centreOn Wednesday morning we'll drop down through the lock and cruise onward through 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. 

Thursday, our last days cruising will see us enjoy 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. In the afternoon we cruise on through quite industrial scenery before arriving in the heart of the stunning city of Nancy. Our mooring is just 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! 

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

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.