Nantes – Nantes-Brest Canal – River Mayenne – River Sarthe – River Vilaine – Rennes – Ille et Rance Canal
The western corner of France – the Celtic Nation of Brittany (not part of France until 1532 and culturally very independent) and Royal Duchy of Anjou – has hundreds of kilometres of distinctively beautiful waterways, devoted purely to pleasure cruising. It boasts one of the best-equipped river and canal networks in France with many moorings, ports and locks operated by lock-keepers. This network converges on Breton Nantes, denoted as ‘The Most Liveable City in Europe’ by Time magazine, but also designated by the E.U as the clean-air European Green Capital.
East from Nantes, the waterways of the Loire, the Mayenne and the calm Sarthe pass through lovely countryside and the towns of Angers, Le Mans and Laval – a very special itinerary, with few locks.
North-west from Nantes, the quiet and memorable Nantes-Brest Canal goes through the heart of Brittany, replete with granite buildings, slate roofs, turreted castles and half-timbered houses. Many towns and villages display the coveted “ville fleurie” award for their floral displays and gardens. It is, of course, also a land of crepes (pancakes) and cider.
Bisecting these, between Brittany and Anjou, the River Vilaine is continued by the Ille et Rance Canal to create a cross-country North-South link between the English Channel (‘La Manche’) and the Atlantic, passing through the Breton capital, historic Rennes (currently France’s second fastest-growing city).
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 Brittany.
Taking a luxury hotel barge vacation cruise in Brittany is one of the most enjoyable, most relaxing ways to appreciate its many hundred years of history, heritage and culture; its wine and cuisine!
Planned for 2015 – A unique, specially designed and built, shallow draft, hydraulic propulsion riverboat, for cruises on the River Loire.
Benefit from 10 years’ first-hand French waterways experience. Call Ruth or click for assistance
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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