My Travel Blog

Old Habits Die Hard — Unless You’re In France

People love their daily routines. They may not want to admit it, but trying to get a person to change can be an arduous task, to say the least.  One of the things Lisa and I love about barging is that in many ways we don’t have a routine. Sure, we wake up, get out of bed, have breakfast, and brush our teeth.  But I’m talking about the big stuff.  We’re never in the same place for very long, so there is always something new to explore.  Sometimes our walks start at Rabelo’s front door, but other times we will drive to a place that we’ve heard about. The other night we were eating dinner at a restaurant we had never been to.  The meal, the patio setting, and the service were all amazing. As we departed Lisa and I both agreed that the Le Petit Prince, just outside of Roanne, was probably the best restaurant we had eaten at all season. What I found most interesting was that it was a brand new experience for us.  Le Petit Prince was not only a new restaurant, but one we had never heard of.  Then I got to thinking and realized that most of the restaurants we eat at our new for us.  Back in California we probably have half a dozen restaurants that we frequent on a regular basis with another half dozen that we go to maybe a couple times a year.  In France virtually ever time we go out it’s a new experience.

The Le Petit Prince patio.

An aperitif before dinner.

A little amuse-bouche before dinner.

One of three main courses we were served. This one was lobster.

One of three desserts we were served.

Of course they had to bring some sweets with the bill.

And just in case we were still hungry we were given a lollypop.

The owner gave us a tour of his incredible wine cellar.

Because we’re always moving we are constantly meeting new people.  Sometimes it’s the Captain of the Port, or maybe a cruiser.  Rabelo draws a lot of attention and some people are not afraid to ask questions.  Just the other day there was a guy taking lots of pictures of Rabelo.  He wanted to talk, but unfortunately he only spoke French.  I introduced him to Alban, and they started talking a mile a minute. As best we could figure out this gentlemen was with the local newspaper, and was so excited to see a boat the size of Rabelo in the port.  When he found out that we are constantly moving he was even more surprised. Of course our biggest surprises are on the canals waiting for us just around the next bend.  Some of the surprises are wonderful, beautiful inspiring scenery while others, not so nice.  Just the other day we were going around a blind turn.  Remember Rabelo’s steering station is a hundred feet from the bow.  Whenever we go around a tight turn we always give the horn a five second blast.  Just as we were entering a blind turn a sixty-foot rental boat came roaring around the bend in the opposite direction.  They were going twice the speed limit, and had ignored our five-second blast.  I threw the gearshift into reverse, as did the rental boat.  I was so mad I actually thought about not bothering to avoid the oncoming boat.  Rabelo’s steel hull would have crushed the lightweight fiberglass rental boat.  Fortunately we managed to avoid a disaster, but I was not pleased.

An early morning walk along the canal.

An interesting fashion statement.

A not so beautiful atomic power plant.

Nathalie made us a Reblochon tart. It was sooo decadant.

– Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


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.