Speed limits and sensible behaviour on the canals and rivers of France

Hire boaters are an easy target, not without good reason but not always with justification. In our many years on the canals and rivers throughout France we’ve encountered good manners, common sense and proper ‘nautical’ behaviour (e.g speed, locking, pontoon positioning) from hire boaters, private boats, barges, commercials and river cruise ships. We’ve also found a few examples of the complete reverse, from all these. And from port captains and lock-keepers, too. And the different nationalities. If it wasn’t for the hire boat ‘industry’ some sections of the canal network would not still be as open and maintained as they are, for us all to enjoy. Continue reading

The last few weeks have seen heavy rainfall all over the Atlantic margins of western Europe, not the least amount falling on Aquitaine (simply put, the area of France east of Bordeaux). The rivers in this region are fed from the Black Mountains and the Massif Central to the north and the Pyrenees to the south, and when rain falls they fill up fast. Levels rise, currents get powerful and all sorts of detritus (tree trucks, branches, etc.) comes hurtling down. In the last few days the River Lot, the Baise and most particularly the Garonne have risen massively – the Garonne by some 6m at Tonneins, where the river must be running at about 15kph. Continue reading