My Travel Blog

Cistercienne Abbey of Auberive and the Fortified City of Langres

One of the reasons I purchased a giant barge was so that we could carry a car.  Well that, and then there’s my oversized ego that needs feeding.  We’ve always found plenty to see along the canals, but on occasion it’s nice to jump in a car and go sight seeing.

“On occasion boats will side tie to us if there is not enough room.”

It was a short twenty minutes drive to the 900-year-old Cistercienne Abbey of Auberive, or Abbaye Auberive.  In the mid 19th century the facility was turned into a women’s prison.  If you think about it a Cistercienne Abbey and a prison are very much alike.  Every minute of a monk’s day is regimented.  All they do is work and pray.  They live in silence.  What little food they have sucks, and you can forget about sex. A wealthy family bought the abbey a few years ago, and it is now maintained for the public.  Scattered about the well-manicured grounds are an interesting collection of sculptures depicting the prisoner’s life.  In one of the buildings there was an art show of creepy pictures and in the original chapel was a creepy Jesus sculpture.

“Gail and What’s His Name imitating creepy Jesus.”

“Enjoying one of the waterfalls at Abbaye Auberive.”

“Having some fun at Abbaye Auberive.”

“Abbaye Auberive.”

After a week of fun, and excessive wine consumption, it was time for everyone to leave.  Wilco went home for the weekend, and our friends dispersed to various parts of Europe.  Lisa and I especially enjoy being alone on Rabelo, so it was a nice break.

Langres was just a 15-minute drive from where we were moored.  Like so many small villages and cities if we weren’t barging we never would have known about them.  Langres is a beautiful medieval fortified city that sits on a rock outcrop.  We ended up walking the entire 3.5 kilometer perimeter wall, visited the 12th century cathedral, and had a wonderful dinner at Cheval Blanc.  Of course we also spent hours at the local McDonald’s using their free WiFi, and shopping at the supermarket.

“I can’t remember, but I think 17 bottles took more than one night.”

“Some of the fortified wall surrounding Langres.”

One of the nice things about traveling in France is that every city has a tourist office where they speak English.  The bad news is that you can’t always rely on what they say.  For example, we were told that there was a concert at La Pailly Castle on Sunday evening.  Late Sunday afternoon we drove to the castle only to find that the concert was Saturday, but it was supposedly a very nice concert.  Alas, all was not lost.  For just seven euro Lisa and I were given a one hour and forty-five minute private tour of the castle and its grounds.  Our guide François could not have been more delightful and informative even though his English wasn’t perfect.  Of course the most important thing we learned from our tour was that, “It’s good to be the King.”

“La Pailly Castle.”

“A giant California Sequoia planted 200 years ago on the grounds of La Pailly Castle.”

“One of two fireplaces in the main hall.”

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.