River tourism and cruises
A river cruise through France with an houseboat is undoubtedly the ideal way to explore and discover the hidden treasures of various regions connected by inland waterways. You will have, as many opportunities for suggested cruise itineraries in France as there are inland waterways as it offers the largest river network in Europe with some 8,000km of waterways.
The great advantage of this way of traveling is that during the day you can navigate or dock at any point on the shore to walk, visit any town on the route or simply disembark to buy food. The night is forbidden to sail, so it is best to dock somewhere on the route to rest or find a charming restaurant to savour an exquisite dinner.
The cute thing is that you can take on board bicycles, ideal for interesting excursions in the surroundings. The rental company provides information on the possible routes that you can be follow (with the different locks that must be passed) and a small gourmet guide with all the restaurants in the area to be visited.
Whichever channel or river you decide to navigate, one thing is certain: you will discover France from a different perspective with the incentive that you will be the one to decide the places where you want to stop, the towns and cities you want to visit or the natural places that you want to discover. Let’s be seduced by the without licence boat travel.
Discover one of the most beautiful and famous channels in France and Europe.
River tourism in France allows you to travel to a different places and have the time to discover varied landscapes and try all that France has to offer. River cruises in France offer many itineraries suggestions. Renting a without licence boat on the canals of France will allow you to discover 9 sailing regions from another point of view: the deck of your boat, a wonder experience!
Before the train existed, the best, and perhaps the fastest, way to communicate and travel in Europe was through rivers and canals. In this sense, France is the country of river tourism, with its nature and culture. It’s really difficult to choose, but the best way is you go with your own boat.
More than 8,500 kilometres of navigable channels linking five major rivers: the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, the Rhine and the Rhone. The offer of cruises and boat rentals is wide and the experience, of course, must be lived.
Before the arrival of the railroad, the proliferation of channels was favoured in Europe, due to the complicated maintenance of rivers to make them navigable, together with the strategic needs of fast communication routes to transport goods.
Louis XIV’s desire to mark his reign with an imperishable work, coupled with economic and political needs, pushed to put into practice an old chimera of the French rulers: the construction of a waterway that would allow internal communication.
The channels are currently used for tourism, leisure and even as housing. The French State is the owner and its management is entrusted to the public entity Voies Navigables de France.
Among the activities linked to the channel are:
- The flow of ships between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea
- River tourism in rental boats or restaurant boats.
- rowing (in urban areas)
- bicycle touring, roller skating or hiking on its banks
- In urban areas, many barges have been converted into family homes, show rooms, shops, exhibition venues, etc.
The most famous navigable channels are:
- Canal du Midi or Canal de Midi: the one connects Toulouse with the Mediterranean and runs sunny between the vineyards of the Languedoc region. It is one of the most famous navigable canals in the world, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, with a special beauty thanks not only to the landscape, but to the canal itself, with its passage through the locks and the canal bridges.
- Burgundy Canal, There are 1,500 kilometres of rivers and channels where it is impossible not to enjoy
- Loire Valley, Located in the center of France, is the area of the most spectacular castles, the most beautiful and romantic gardens, medieval fairy-tale towns and Roman cities.
- Nivernais Canal: 180 kilometres to link the Loire basin with the Seine basin. They say that it is the most beautiful canal in France due to the calm with which it runs and the accompanying landscape.
The regions concerned are:
- Midi Region
- Burgundy-Yonne Canal
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