From McNight's Cruising French Waterways "During the late 17th century Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, a nun, witnessed a succession of visions of Christ with his heart exposed, but it was not intil the 19th century that the devotion of the Sacred Heart made Paray le Monial a town of international pilgrimage." She was canonized in 1920 and Paray is now the recipient of the second largest influx of pilgrims after Lourdes.
The 11th century basilica was begun by St.-Hughes, the bishop of Cluny and is quite a sight.
The center for the pilgrims, however, is a large collection of tents set up on the outskirts of town that house continuous religious services.
It was still really hot, well into the 90's, but luckily right before town the canal passes through an avenue of trees that almost completely overhang the water. We spent Saturday afternoon there and then moved on Sunday morning.
Sunday afternoon found us in the small town of Genelard and, still looking for shade and cooling breezes, we made it to the top of the Canal by Monday afternoon. Canals follow streams and rivers to provide them with water but when you reach the summit there is usually a lake as you are between watersheds. The Canal du Centre is no exception and just outside of the town of Montchanin we found this weeks version of nirvana, shade all day with a lake just steps away! With the temperature still in the 90's, we spent Monday and Tuesday afternoons submerged.
Wednesday it was off to the town of St. Leger and the beginning of the real burgundy wine country but it was still scorching. Luckily about 4 am Friday the lightning started to flash and by 5 the rain started pouring down. The heat had broken and for once we were not going to complain about rain. As a matter of fact, we had told the lockkeeper we would be getting underway about 9am and we did, getting thoroughly wet in the process. The fresh water rinse felt great!
By about 11:30 the rain had stopped, the sun was beginning to peek through and we were tied up just outside of Santenay. We were back in serious wine country!