Nantes – Nantes-Brest Canal – River Mayenne – River Sarthe – River Vilaine – Rennes – Ille et Rance Canal
River Charente – Bordeaux – Canal de Garonne – River Lot – River Baise – Canal de Montech – Toulouse
Toulouse – Canal du Midi – Carcassonne – Canal de la Robine – Narbonne – River Herault – Agde
River Rhone – Avignon – Arles – Petit Rhone – Rhone-Sete Canal – River Lez – Montpellier – Etang du Thau
River Seine – Rouen – Paris – River Marne – Marne Canals – Reims – Aisne Canals – River Somme – Amiens
Marne-Rhine Canal – Meuse Canal – Nancy – River Moselle – River Sarre – Strasbourg – River Rhine – Rhone-Rhine Canal
Burgundy Canal – Dijon – River Saone – Rhone-Rhine Canal – Canal du Centre – River Seille – Macon – Lyon
Loing Canal – Briare Canal – Loire Lateral Canal – Nevers – River Yonne – Auxerre – Nivernais Canal – Burgundy Canal
France has an amazing 8,000 km (5,000 miles) of wonderful navigable rivers and canals. At an average leisurely speed of 5 kilometres an hour, plus the days spent exploring all the fascinating places along the way and in extended stays in port, that means there’s actually many years of happy wandering waiting for you to explore and enjoy!
And the concentrated richness of scenery, history, culture, leisure and pleasure is such that even just a few weeks spent voyaging the canals and rivers of one small part of France is an experience you’ll never forget. Such a variety of places, such a variety of scenes, such a variety of different waterways to explore and people to make friends with.
Use the links below to explore each region and discover the self-drive hire boats, luxury hotel barges and river cruises available in each area.
The eight holiday and vacation waterways regions of France
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Our eight approximately drawn waterways regions relevant to waterborne holidays and vacations. Use the links on this page to explore each one and discover the self-drive hire boats, luxury hotel barges and river cruises available in each area.
A unique and world-famous place – Honfleur, Rouen and incomparable Paris on the Seine – the Somme and Oise rivers – and Reims and Epernay to the Marne-Champagne east.
The Seine, Somme, Oise, Marne and Aisne rivers
With a backdrop of the magnificent Vosges Mountains, Lorraine’s memorable waterways visit deep green forests, battlefields, half-timbered towns and cities like Strasbourg, Nancy and Metz. Canals Vosges, Marne-Rhine, Ardennes; Meuse and Moselle
A gem, Celtic Brittany boasts one of the best river and canal networks in France waterways – one devoted purely to pleasure cruising. Breton culture, unspoilt countryside, picturesque towns and craggy castles.
Nantes-Brest Canal and Vilaine, Blavet, Sarthe rivers
Sumptuous royal chateaux, castles, gardens and follies. Historic waterfront towns, red-roofed churches, lush meadows and productive vineyards, delicious gastronomy and superb wines.
Canals Loire Lateral, Loing, Briare and Nivernais
This historic region brings together historic towns (including Dijon, Beaune, Besancon and Macon), world famous vineyards, attractive countryside teeming with wildlife and Michelin starred restaurants.
Canals Bourgogne, Centre, Rhone-Rhine and River Saone
A network of scenic rivers and canals, a place to discover historic cities (Bordeaux) and chateaux. The culture and architecture is enhanced by the region’s delicious gourmet cuisine and its fine wines.
The Canal de Garonne and the Baise, Lot and Charente rivers
A World Heritage Site, France’s most productive wine-producing area is ideal for both experienced and novice cruisers with a range of sights, historic attractions and superb wildlife along the way.
The Canal du Midi and the Canal la Nouvelle.
Between mountains and sea, from the Camargue delta northwards along the Rhone, this beautiful area combines a sunny Mediterranean climate with culture, history and an abundance of nature.
The Rhone, the Petit Rhone and the Rhone-à-Sete canal.
Benefit from 10 years’ first-hand French waterways experience. Call Ruth or click for assistance
Self-skippered boats from France’s leading fleets. Enjoy a perfect fun vacation aboard your ‘floating home-from-home’. . . .
Hotel barge cruises – unique relaxing ways to discover France, with thousands of years of history, heritage and culture . . .
Beautiful landscapes, wonderful wining and dining, fascinating excursions, romantic evenings and good friends . . . .
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.
The site currently receives ± 1,000 unique visitors per day, from all over the world. Feedback here.
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.
We welcome comments + corrections.
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