The forecast was for another fine and sunny day, so it was easy to get the canopy down for another day of mast up-and-down cruising. In fact, after the low bridge near the moorings at Meaux, the rest were at least six metres despite this stretch of the river being classified in the Navicarte as 3.5m air draught.
We made a lunch stop at the new-looking Halte de Plaisance at Mary-sur-Marne, next door to the inviting La Chateau Marysien restaurant. A one-man circus was in town, and was grazing his flock of goats and donkeys on assorted grassy patches whilst preparing for his afternoon performance. The advertised butcher and baker in Mary were not to be, with the former closed and now for sale, and the later closed for reasons of 'health' (ill-, presumably).
After lunch we continued in the hot sunny weather along what had by now become a thickly wooded and rural waterway. Although some books describe the Marne as undeveloped with few facilities, we have found several new Haltes de Plaisance, many of which are provided with free electricity and water. A growing hire-boat business may have something to do with the increase in facilities, as may a decline in barge trade. But whatever the reason it makes a pleasantly quiet but well-provided for cruise, with the added interest of forming a WW1 battle route.
This particularly piece of history was commemorated at our evening's destination of La Ferté sous Jouarre, whose Pont de l'Europe replaces a temporary bridge put up by the British Expeditionary Force whilst under heavy fire. Next to the bridge stands a monument to 3,888 officers and men of the BEF lost along the Marne in the autumn of 1914 who have no known grave.