My Travel Blog

Exploring The Aisne-Marne and Le Chateau de la Ferte-Milon

We headed off to our next chateau, but on the way we passed another World War I cemetery. The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery nestles up against the foothills of the Belleau Woods where most of the 2289 American soldiers who are buried there lost their lives.  It is a beautiful, peaceful yet haunting park with its row after row of grave markers.  To see the names of so many American heroes on the stark stone chapel walls brings tears to your eyes.  Even seeing the German cemetery just a mile away was very emotional.

“Aisne_Marne American Cemetery.”

“The names of some of our fallen heroes.”

“The Germany Cemetery less than a mile away.”

After paying our respects we headed to the beautiful little village of La Ferte-Milon where Le Chateau de la Ferte-Milon sits on a promontory overlooking the town.  Prince Louis of Orleans commissioned the castle in 1398, but was assassinated in 1407.  The castle was never completed.  It was to be one of the greatest ever built as a testament to the prince’s power.  Alas the 340 ft. by 65 ft. front looks more like a stage with the rest of the structure waiting to be completed.  After visiting the remains of the chateau we drove into what proved to be a beautiful village with a waterwheel, flowing stream and lovely parks.

“The remnants of Le Chateau de la Ferte-Milon.”

“La Ferte-Milon with the chateau on the hill.”

“Waterwheel and park in La Ferte-Milon.”

Back on Rabelo, from Chateau Thierry we continued down stream towards Meaux, and our final destination of Paris.  On the way we past by an old friend the locals call the Devil House.  We saw it nine years ago, and Lisa wanted to buy it then.  She still wants to.  I advanced the throttle on Rabelo to speed us past the temptation as quickly as possible.

“Lisa’s devil house.”

Most of the time when we are passing through locks on the French rivers there is a cut-off canal that takes us off the river and out of the current before we get to the lock.  Unfortunately on the Marne there are a number of locks without a cut-off canal.  Instead they are right next to the barrage or dam that the river flows over.  This means that as you’re entering the lock the river is trying to suck you over the dam.  With the recent rains and extra strong current I had the scare of my life as we entered the first lock.  I’m not going to bore you with all the details.  All I can say is that had I been just five feet closer to the barrage I would hate to think what would have happened.

“The barrage that tried to suck us out of the lock.”

“A not so nice view through our kitchen window.”

-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.