Bordeaux is a beautiful city, with renewed facilities for plaisanciers and for both maritime and river cruise ships. This is an overview of currently available places to berth.

There are also ambitious plans to develop the Port de la Lune still further.

< The Chaban-Delmas lift bridge (the largest in Europe) opened in March 2013 and cost 157 million euros. It opens for cruise ships and high-masted yachts.

  • Bassin a Flot marina, opposite the submarine pens and close to the Pont Chaban-Delmas.
    Capitainerie – 33 (0) 5 56 90 59 34
    Intended for over-wintering
    Access 1hr before HW
    Waiting pontoon downstream of the lock


But unavailable until at least July 2013 because the large Garonne ecluse is closed for extensive repair works (at a cost of
2.5 – 3 million euros). Both the ecluse and the lock gates themselves have become filled with huge amounts of silt.

  • Ponton des Chartrons
    Temporary stay only
  • Port Bastide
    2 pontoons
    Yard facilities
    Slipway (usable at low water only)
  • Ponton Yves Parlier
    Temporary stay only
  • Ponton d’Honneur (Opened May 2011)
    155m of pontoon
    5 electricity/water points
    Free WiFi
  • Ponton Benauge
    Just upstream of the Pont de Pierre
    Boats on passage use the downstream section (nearerst the bridge)
    105m of pontoon
    Water + electricity
  • Fees
    The cost of mooring in Bordeaux has come under strong criticism, particularly from large boats and barges.
    These are the daily rates –
  • Under 10m – 10€, plus 5€ for services
  • 10m to 15m – 15€, plus 8€
  • 15m to 24m – 25€, plus 10€
  • Above 24m – 100€ + 10€ per m > 24m, plus 20€
  • Bookings must be made in advance – Online Bookings

Halte Nautique de Lormont

North of Bordeaux, in the shadow of the Pont Aquitaine autoroute bridge, East bank, lie the two pontoons of the Lormont Halte Nautique. The tidal ebb and flow can make this a somewhat lively mooring.
Capitainerie with showers – Tel 05 56 38 27 53 or 06 88 30 45 41 (mobile).

Bordeaux, Garonne and Gironde – Cruising in Detail

In January 2012 the river ports of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris (together with a number of other Seine-Oise related port destinations) combined together to co-ordinate, develop and promote their services and facilities as an EIG (Economic Interest Group).

HAROPA is Europe’s 5th biggest commercial port complex and Europe’s biggest inland port and it accounts for a total of nearly 130 million tonnes of maritime and inland waterway traffic. With 14,000 hectares of available and reserved land intended for logistics and industrial use, its economic impact is highly significant, particularly in terms of jobs. The activity of all three ports combined directly accounts for 40,000 jobs – 120,000 indirectly.

Some key projects are –

  • Port 2000 at Le Havre – a 160 million euro cargo terminal investment for 1400 metres of harbour quayside.
  • Dredging the channel up to Rouen (in particular the section upstream from Tancarville) to facilitate new generation bulk carrier ships of up to 11.7m draft.
  • New container cargo terminal at Gennevilliers outside Paris.
  • New aggregates terminal at Rouen
  • Port-Metropole at Conflans, where the Oise (and the potential Seine-Nord canal) joins the Seine. A major road-rail-river hub port scheme.

Detailed information pack

Cruising in Detail – River Seine

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There has been a plan to restore navigation on the River Lez from the sea up to Montpellier and provide the city with an inland marina for something like 30 years –when master architect Ricardo Bofill published designs destined to transform the city. During the time between then and now there have been repeated statements that action would take place soon, but also repeated voices highlighting the cost and practical problems of realising the dream.

In fact, the marina basin has already been dug, as part of constructing the adjoining commercial-residential scheme ‘Port Marianne’ but it is destined to remain a pleasant natural amenity, and not become a bustling port.

In 2011 regional leader Robert Navarro pledged his support for the project and announced that it would be completed by 2015. However, by 2012, expert opinion concurred that it was almost wholly unviable – and then M. Navarro became embroiled in a separate financial controversy. And a decision this week by Languedoc-Roussilon has finally and definitively sunk the project, on the basis that the French State will not contribute the necessary funds.

Key factors in the abandonment decision are –

  • Potential consequences and costs associated with dredging the river bed for upstream navigation beyond the existing port de plaisance, Port Ariane at Lattes.
  • The apparent necessity of constructing two ecluses and a boat lift.
  • A complicated Local-Regional-State ownership situation for the river itself, plus the requirement to purchase privately owned parcels of riverside land.
  • Water conservation, flood, pollution and environmental considerations.
  • Benefits to a relatively few boaters far outweighed by scale and cost.
  • Lack of support and enthusiasm amongst relevant decision-makers.

River Lez / Lattes / Montpellier – Cruising in Detail

World Canals Conference Toulouse 2013

The 26th World Canals Conference (WCC) convened by Inland Waterways International will take place in Toulouse from 16th-19th September 2013. France’s ‘Ville Rose’ is pulling out all the stops to make the event even more memorable than previous conferences of which the most recent were Yangzhou, China in 2012 and Groningen, Holland in 2011.

About 40 speaker presentations will take place at the conference itself, with contributions from Europe, Asia, and North and South America. Major stakeholder participants will include the French state and – naturally – VNF.

Outside the venue itself there are two, slightly more public, events. The first is the Village Fluvial exhibition of stands and displays at Port Saint-Sauveur, centred around the VNF barge La Naïade. The second is the DBA (Barge Association) rally of some 25 historic and modern liveaboard barges, moored at the same location.

Before and after the conference, Euromapping is also organising a series of related tours and visits, led by waterways expert David Edwards-May, in collaboration with So Toulouse.

Canal du Midi – Cruising in Detail

Avignon stands on the Rhone proper – there is a by-pass channel that through traffic uses – and currents flowing past the town quays mean that care has to be taken when manoeuvring , even in quiet summer months. In less quiet conditions resulting from high rainfall, such as have been the case all over France for the last few weeks, the situation at Avignon can get very serious indeed.

The quays are currently flooded (see above left) and, just to add to this problem, this weekend two barges broke free from their moorings, one hitting a passenger cruise ship and the other the TGV railway bridge where the river proper re-joins the by-pass channel downstream from the city.

Rhone : Cruising in Detail

Rouen Tall Ships - click to enlarge
Rouen Tall Ships Armada – click to enlarge

The annual Tall Ships Armada will take place again at Rouen between 5th and 16th June 2013.

Some 48 beautiful sailing ships from many countries (including the UK) will be berthed along the River Seine quaysides, from the Bassin Saint-Gervais under the spectacular Pont Flaubert lift bridge to the Guillaume le Conquerant bridge upstream. In addition, there will also be 14 pleasure cruise boats available.

This is the published programme –

  • Tuesday 4th June – Boats start arriving at Rouen.
  • Wed 5th June to Sat June 15th – various quayside events including a hot air balloon, stalls, stands and exhibitions, and evening concerts from groups, bands and artistes of differing musical styles.
  • Thursday 6th June – The Pont Flaubert bridge is lifted and the tall ships pass under, from 21:00h
  • Saturday 8th June – The official opening, followed by an evening concert and an impressive fireworks display.
  • Sunday 16th June – The ships leave in grand procession, down the river from Rouen to the sea at Le Havre. From 07:00h onwards.
    Expected downstream timetable –
    • La Bouille – 08:30h to 12:30h
    • Duclair – 09:45h to 13:45h
    • Caudebec – 12:00h to 16:00h
    • Tancarville – 13:30h to 18:00h
Macon PdP – click to enlarge

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Macon’s inland marina, awarded the title of Best in France in 2010, has now been significantly expanded and improved.

In a basin off the River Saone upstream from Macon town, near the river’s junction with the by-pass channel, it was originally created from excavations connected with development of the commercial/industrial harbour. It had become less than satisfactory when it was rejuvenated and modernised ten or so years ago.

Now it has seen further transformations –

  • The number of berths has nearly trebled, from 150 to 420, with existing pontoons renewed.
  • Completely new capitainerie building, including chandlery, wifi, bike hire and laundry facilities.
  • 24hr (i.e credit card) fuel pump and foul water pump-out facility.

The marina/port de plaisance is situated at PK83 in parkland to the north of Macon, a ten-minute cycle ride into town.
Macon marina / port de plaisance website      Cruising in Detail page – River Saone.