upper Loire canal port
"Mecca for Winterizing Boaties"
The sea gypsies who choose to live aboard their own boats and travel the French waterways have problems during winter with the weather (too cold in most areas) and with restrictions on available waterways. Typically, maintenance of locks and facilities is done between November and April. Where does one spend the winter? Roanne is one such spot.
Roanne is an industrial city known for the manufacture of explosives. The canal system was vital for transport during earlier times. Today the port of Roanne sees little commercial traffic but every winter score of pleasure boats ranging from 10 metres to 34 metres in overall length moor there:some with the owners on board; some without.
Those staying on board join in the local community activities and form a club. At the start of spring migration to other parts of France the farewell party is followed by the tooting of fog horns each time a long-time-resident sails away. One can tell who they are quite easily. They have letter boxes rigged close to the edge of the quay to accept their inbound mail.
"Mecca for Gourmands"
Probably the major reason for touristic visitors to come to Roanne is to visit the Troisgros Restaurant and Hotel. This three starred Michelin restaurant has long had the reputation of being one of the best in France (if not THE best)! Not just the food : their wine list is world class too.
The owners have a bistro next door. The Central Cafe provides meals at a fraction of the price of TG.