Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Canal de Jouy

For a late walk this afternoon, Susie and I strolled south along the Moselle as far as Montigny-les-Metz. We returned on the towpath of the Canal de Jouy, which links the Moselle river with central Metz. It was constructed between 1866 and 1877 as part of the effort to make the Moselle navigable from Toul to the Rhine. The canal starts near the town of Jouy-aux-Arches, about ten kilometers from the center of Metz. Here's the very point where the canal begins in Jouy with water flowing in from the Moselle (in a picture taken later, on April 11).

Looking downstream from Montigny-les-Metz toward Metz, you can make out the city's main stadium, home to the the local professional soccer team, the Football Club de Metz.

The canal and its banks are home to a lot of wildlife. We saw geese, ducks, swans and other waterfowl, including this heron. A man fishing downstream of the heron was catching fish after fish, with bits of bread as bait. He'd throw the line in the water, wait maybe 30 seconds, and a fish would bite. This happened four times in a row as we watched in amazement.

A number of picturesque barges have found moorings on one side of the canal as it passes by the headquarters of the Football Club de Metz. As the "Chambres d'Hôtes" sign indicates, the blue barge offers bed-and-breakfast accommodations.

As the canal nears the center of Metz, the landscape becomes more formal and the canal's banks become part of the complex of parks along the Moselle. We ended our walk by following paths that past a church garden to the Place de la Republic.

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