DAY FOURTEEN… 69.5 miles (111 km)

We woke early as we felt uncertain about where we would camp later. At 10.15am we stopped for an almond croissant but there were none available. All eaten by the residents already? We had to settle for some rather small almond cake and a chocolate cookie, but unremarkable.

I am hoping for flat paths today, so far so good, a flattish “Voie Verte” and now, from Diou , a canal path. 

Beautiful flat & smooth canal towpath

Basically, we followed the Canal du Centre along roads much of the day, stopping at the pilgrimage town of Paray-le-Monial where a woman saw the sacred heart of Christ.  She seems to have been embalmed and put in a glass coffin so all can view and pray to her and request that she intercede on their behalf.

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

We were headed to a place near seven lock gates promising water, a toilet and picnic tables. It ticked all the boxes. However, when we arrived, we saw that it was a parking place for camper vans, not a campsite at all, and it already had some residents with a very nasty dog and youths on the street, racing noisily with motorbikes, so we rode on.

We spotted a lake on the map and headed there instead, but it was all fenced off as private everywhere we looked, unless you had permits or were guests of the hotel etc, etc. We had the feeling we might be shot if we ventured to camp anywhere near there. Eventually we settled on canal land, uncannily close to a railway line, so close in fact that, at night, it felt like trains might be going right through the tent.