The River Marne to Paris

Leaving Reims I headed south to join the river Marne at Conde-sur-Marne then westbound to Paris.


The Marne is a combination of canalised (river with locks) small canals to cut out some of the bends and pure river. It’s very gentle, at least in the summer. The temperature for the first few days remained very high peaking regularly at 38 degrees. My 2 aircon units were working hard and it helped to find moorings with electricity which turned out to be fairly easy. This section is 238kms long, has 23 locks and 2 small tunnels. The locks are mostly automated operated from a remote control given to you at various sections by a lock keeper.

The eastern part of the river was well into Champage country with south facing vineyards on my right covering the hills, at times down to river level.

With every twist and turn there’s a new view, some stunning and fascinating buildings either along side the river or a short walk.

One of the best parts of cruising any waterway has been the other boaters. There are many British boaters and I’ve seen several Pipers the same make as mine. Everyone is friendly, keen to help and pass on their experience and knowledge. Once on one waterway for several days you see the same boats leap frogging each other and build friendships. It’s interesting the international mix of boaters, British and Dutch seem to be in greatest numbers full time cruising, a few Belgians then New Zealanders and Australians. The French seem to enjoy shorter trips. Everyone on the water or banks waves and seems happy to see you there.


Moored against Debbie and Kevin in Piper boat Rangali in Dormans

Most towns and villages have some form of mooring facility. Some just a small pontoon, others have built larger landing stages equipped with water and electricity. It varies whether there’s any cost and what the cost is but usually between 5 – 15 euros a night.

The trip along the Marne took 10 days ending with a refuelling stop at Nogent. A short tunnel, couple of locks and onto the river Seine just south of Paris centre. Unfortunately my plotter software did not extend this far south and stopped working. Also for some reason my phone GPS had a significant delay so any map software was useless. No problem back onto good old paper maps and guides. Just could have done without this distraction entering the Seine. Soon sorted once moored.

The Marne is beautiful, very similar in places and size to the non-tidal Thames. A river I’d certainly like to do again.


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