Along the Canals and Rivers of France
The canals of Centre and Burgundy
Crossing Eastern France
Paris along the Seine
The Nord-Picardy basin
From the banks of the Loire to the Atlantic Ocean
The canals du Midi
Going South and to Provence
An expensive way to get away from it all, renting a self-drive boat is a great way to visit the regions of France. From forests to historic towns, boating can take you to hidden places that are often only reachable by waterway and offer, either with family or friends, a unique discovery of France. All you have to do is pick the boat and the region!
On board a self-drive boat, the beautiful landscapes slowly go by as you travel through the locks and pass the historic sites while surrounded by nature.
These regions have over 1000 miles of canals that include the Burgundy Canal, the one that runs lateral to the Loire, the Nivernais Canal and the Roanne Canal. Between rivers and heged farmlands, they take you to Auxerre, Dijon, Beaune, Chablis and Vézelay and travel from vineyards to forests, and chateaux to ancient villages. The Briare Canal and Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses bridges and the Pouilly-en-Auxois tunnel are highlights of the trip.
- www.tourismeloiret.com (Loiret)
- www.canalous-plaisance.fr et www.vacancesfluviales.com
- www.aquarelle-france.fr (Auxerre)
- www.aquafluvial.com (Canal du Nivernais)
- www.charmes-nautiques.com (autour de Briare)
- www.house-boat.net (Bourgogne et grand Est)
From the Ardennes to the Jura, through Alsace, Lorraine or the Franche-Comté, the beautiful waterways follow the Meuse and the Doubs Rivers, along some 1000 miles to reach Strasbourg, Colmar, the Vosges Mountains, the plain of Rhine and the Vauban citadelles in Besançon and Neuf Brisach. Along the route, the impressive Arzviller boat elevator and the great locks of Gambsheim are well worth the visit.
- www.aufildurhin.com (Le Rhin)
- www.canalenchanteur.com (Canal de la Marne à la Saône)
- www.canal-evasion.fr (Alsace-Lorraine)
- www.ardennes-nautisme.com (Ardennes)
- www.saone-plaisance.com (Saône)
Paris, the worlds largest interior port, by number of visitors, can be discovered on the River Seine. Day and night, one can enjoy unique and magical visits along the river and its canals. The trip can be extended on the Ourcq and St-Martin canals, then on to the neighboring Marne and Oise rivers until the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine and its shipping museum.
- www.batobus.com (Paris)
- www.bateauxparisiens.com (Paris)
- www.pariscanal.com (Paris)
- www.bateaux-mouches.fr (Paris)
- www.canauxrama.com (Paris et la Marne)
More than 600 miles of waterways are in this region of great cities such as Amiens, Lille, Arras and Douai and their flamboyant architecture. On can travel by the Saint-Quentin canal, that is partially underground, to reach the extreme north of the region or the capital through the south.
- www.isnor.fr (Nord-Pas de Calais)
Nearly 700 miles of navigable waterways cover Brittany and the Western Loire regions. To reach the ocean on can take the canal from Nantes to Brest or the Manche-Atlantique axe near Rennes. As for the Loire River, it connects directly with the Maine basin (Mayenne et Sarthe department) and goes through Angers, Nantes or Saint-Nazaire to reach Brittany.
- www.maine-anjou-rivieres.com et www.anjou-navigation.fr (Anjou)
- www.canalous-mayenne.com (Mayenne)
On crosses the southwest via a vast network of waterways including the canals of the Marais Poitevin, the Dordogne River and its offshoots, the Garonne River and the Adour network. At the end is the canal du Midi, a UNESCO site, that runs from Toulouse to Adge and reaches the Mediterranean while running through the regions of Midi-Pyrénées and Langdoc-Roussillon. Called the Atlantic-Mediterranean the Canal enjoys a sunny climate and a rich historical heritage as it runs through vineyards, Cathar villages, and by the towns of Carcassonne, Béziers and Trèbes.
- www.midicruises.org, www.castelnautique.com, www.minervoiscruisers.com et www.adnavis.com (Canal du Midi)
- www.gabarres.com (Boat rides le Périgord)
- www.aquitaine-navigation.com (Aquitaine-Gascogne, canal du Midi, Lot)
- www.baboumarine.com (Lot)
- www.lot-et-garonne.fr (la Garonne)
- www.intercroisieres.com (Charente)
Along the Rhône, from Lyon to the mouth of the river, lie Avignon, the sun of Provence, the Mediterranean sea and the marshes of the Camargue. Savage yet, calm, the region is charming with its salt flats, native animals (white horses and pink flamingos) and impressive walled-city of Aigues-Mortes. The river also travels through Montpellier, by the Thau pond, to Marseilles and connects with the canal du Midi.
- www.canalous-canaldumidi.com (Camargue)
- www.caminav.com (Camargue and the canal du Midi)
- www.naviginter.fr (Lyon)