My Travel Blog

Stranded for 10 Days?! Plenty of Time for Another Chateau

We’ve always said that flexibility was key to enjoying the barging life, but this is getting ridiculous.  Just after arriving in Montargis we were told the VNF, the agency that runs the canals, might have to close the Seine River 10 more days in addition to the month it has already been closed.  With this latest news we made some changes to our plans, and figured out how to work around the problem.  Well we just threw all our plans out the porthole.  The VNF is closing the Seine for an additional month and possibly more!  This is insane.  The Seine is to France what the San Diego Freeway is to Los Angeles.  How can they do that?

“A small canal that runs through Montargis.”

“Our main course of phyllo wrapped salmon at Oh Terroir. Their specialty is locally sourced fresh food.”

“Lisa had to drag me into this antique shop.”

Oh well.  When our friends Marty and Sara arrive we will turnaround and cruise back up the Canal de Briare.  The scenery and towns are wonderful, and I’m sure they will love it.  Our friends Scott and Lovita, that were supposed to meet us in Brugge, Belgium will now meet us in Briare and get to cruise back down the Canal de Briare.  When we are done Wilco will have a friend help him take Rabelo back to Holland, as Lisa and I will be headed home to California.  I keep reminding myself; be flexible, stay flexible and smile.

Rather than fretting over our shattered plans Lisa and I decided to visit another Chateau.  Catherine and Jacques Guyot purchased Chateau de la Ferte Saint-Aubin in 1987.  I’m not sure why perfectly sane people do crazy things, but they must have had a vision and a ton of money.  After 26 years they are starting to realize their vision, though I’m sure they don’t have nearly as much money. Before they bought the property arsons had set fire to one of the huge buildings, and all that was left were the masonry walls.  The Guyot’s had to rebuild the entire structure.  The slate roof on the other two major structures needed replacing, and that was just for starters.  You can imagine the damage done by years of leaking roofs.

“Part of the rebuilt structure after the fire.”

“This rocking horse was in the horse stable.”

“Some of these harnesses were made by the famous French leather designer Hermes.”

“Practicing for the hunt.”

They have redecorated ten of the rooms with period furniture that are open to the public.  I particularly enjoyed the kitchen as you could smell the coals from the fire place.  You really get a feel for what it must have been like to live in a castle.  As much as I enjoy exploring inside these magnificent homes it is the grounds that I like most.  Chateau de la Ferte Saint-Aubin even has the remnants of an old train station.  There are also three wooded islands that the castles moat encompasses.  One island has a church another a modern home.  I suspect the Guyots live in the modern home.  Lisa said she would never want to live in a castle.  I’m still undecided, but then I want to be the king.

“The sitting room.”

“The chateau has a church on its own island.”

“An old train at the train station.”

“Chateau de la Ferte Saint-Aubin.”


-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.