Fourth day: from Roche-lez-Beaupré to Besançon
Is has rained tonight but it's dry again this morning. We are navigating to Besançon, the first two kilometers on a canal section, the rest on the river. We are navigating again through high hills which give the landscape an intimate character. At the last lock before the city some canoeists are training on a circuit near a weir. Then we make a large turn to the right and we can see on our right the fortress of Besançon highly above us. Vauban built between 1668 and 1711 an enormous fortress at a height of more than hundred meter above the river. It is built on enormous rocks which stick out of the river almost perpendicular. Besançon is situated in an large meander of the Doubs in the shape of a horse-shoe. On the place the two end of the horse-shoe are close to each other the citadel is situated. It is very special that on this spot also a tunnel is made so we can navigate under the citadel. You also can follow the river and navigate directly through the town.
We are doing both. We go to the tunnel first and then we navigate upstream around the city. The tunnel is 394 meters long. At the end a lock is situated. After the lock we turn right and navigate along a weir. We see the walls of the city with some watch-towers at our right-hand side. The channel is marked by fetters. The river is very shallow. We moor at a little port at Moulin Saint Paul. Moulin Saint Paul is a huge watermill with a lock next to it. It is the only lock which has to be operated by hand by the shippers themselves. It's a pity all the other locks are mechanized and operated without the help of lockkeepers. Sippers for pleasure, as we are, don't have to do much in the locks.
As we are moored, a penichette arrives. It's the type of boat we used on our first navigation trip in the Midi. It's a sweet little boat to see, more beautiful than the caddish boat we are navigating now.
After lunch we wander through the city and climb up to the citadel. We buy a ticket and climb on the enormous walls of the fortress. At 'le Tour du Roi' (downstream) and 'le Tour de la Reine' (upstream) at the other site we have a magnificent view. We also look, with an uncomfortable feeling, almost perpendicular own on the river.