River Charente – Bordeaux – Canal de Garonne – River Lot – River Baise – Canal de Montech – Toulouse
Between Toulouse and Bordeaux, the south-west corner of France has a network of peaceful, scenic canals and tranquil rivers. The Canal de Garonne (together with its lovely side-branch canal at Montech) follows the Garonne valley, often directly alongside the river, visiting delightful towns and villages rich in history, such as Montauban, Moissac, Valence, Agen and Buzet. Arriving at Castets, the canal feeds into the river itself for the onward journey to Bordeaux. This is a fabulous waterway region, not well-known, but loved above all others by those that do. It is a land of fine local produce – fruit orchards, grapes and cornfields – fine local cuisine (much appreciated by world-leading chefs such as Rick Stein) – and fine wines from Bordeaux, the Medoc, Sauternes and Saint-Emillion.
Along the way, at Buzet, two charming rivers connect into the Garonne canal – the delightful Baise, which has flowed north from the Pyrenees through pretty, fortified ‘bastide’ Gascon villages such as Vianne – and the enchanting Lower River Lot, a secret Shangri La that is not always possible to get to.
Independent from this network, there are two memorable waterways, the magical Upper Lot, which winds its way past flowery cliffs, clifftop villages and the captivating small town (and wine region) of Cahors, and the Charente. The tranquil Charente is judged by many to be one of France’s most beautiful rivers, with clear waters providing swimming, fishing, kayaking and wildlife-spotting. It passes through historic Cognac and Angouleme, a great cruising ground for boating holidays and vacations.
We feature a comprehensive array of self-skippered (bareboat) hire boats from France’s leading fleets. You can enjoy a superb holiday – vacation aboard your ‘floating home from home’ in Aquitaine.
Taking a luxury hotel barge vacation cruise in Aquitaine is one of the most enjoyable, most relaxing ways to appreciate its many hundred years of history, heritage and culture; its wine and cuisine!
Memorable all-inclusive river cruises in and around Bordeaux, the Medoc and the Gironde. Stunning views from your cabin window, wining and dining, and fascinating vineyard excursions.
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Canalside towpaths are flat and well-maintained. Perfect for some enjoyable, gentle cycling or walking through the gorgeous French countryside.
France: fresh local produce, superb simple food, sophisticated fine cuisine, Grand Cru wines, Champagne AC, vin ordinaire, boulangerie bread, croissants, gateaux and 246 types of cheese!
french-waterways.comis the internet’s leading, most comprehensive and authoritative source of inspiration and information about enjoying the rivers and canals of France – on the water or by the water. In one’s own craft, in a self-drive hire boat, on a hotel barge charter or on a riverboat small ship cruise.
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french-waterways.com (founded in 2003) is independent and impartial. It is not connected with VNF Voies Navigables de France, the national waterways management authority.
The information published here results from ten years direct personal experience cruising the waterways from north to south and east to west; and has also been gleaned from other sources, accounts and opinions. This is a guide only and is neither definitive nor to be relied on. We recommend obtaining a pilot book for each river or canal you travel.
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