On the road again and our first stop is in the Lorraine region of France. Our plan is to head west over the coming week to the Brittany area where we will be meeting up with friends. We spent a couple of nights at the municipal campsite in Parroy, a tiny village on the north bank of the Marne-Rhine Canal, the campsite also provides berths for boats exploring the canal. It is a peaceful spot, with bird song and the occasional splash of a fisherman’s lure, or a passing boat in the canal, as the soundtrack to camp life. And like so many other canals, there is a lovely path along the bank of the canal for exploration.
We made our way into the pretty and historic town of Lunéville, once the home of the Dukes of Lorraine, this town has a long history. The Château and its grounds are a lovely place to spend a few hours and we ate our picnic under a shady tree by the river and watched the baby ducks negotiate the lily pads. After lunch we explored the town a little and then headed cross country back to the canal at Einville-au-Jard and the 10 km along the bike path back to our campsite.
As we biked along I noticed a large dead fish floating in the canal, then another and another, there were way too many and they were spread all along the canal. What could be causing this? We stopped to ask a fisherman. After he initially thought we were asking if he killed the fish he caught, with some Fren-glish and many hand gestures later, he explained he wasn’t certain but thought it might be the hot weather. I had read that fish were dying in a river in Germany due to the heat. We couldn’t help wonder if this was an every Summer occurrence or if Climate Change was having a direct impact on this idyllic spot in rural France.
I will say that there is an obvious and concerted effort being made in France to raise awareness on climate issues and green initiatives are everywhere. Towns are spotless, local farmer’s markets are in almost every small town, recycling and bike paths abound, bee friendly meadows, renewable energy etc. I will say though that their plant based menu and food choices are a lot more challenging than I have experienced in other countries, but French cuisine is a pillar of French society and may be a little resistant to change. There is always room for improvement but France has the ambition to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and they seem to be taking the task seriously. Unfortunately this will be too late for the poor fish we saw in the river.