Paul and Sheryl Shard are the pre-eminent award-winning sailor-filmmakers. Cruising onboard their Southerly 42 and 49 yachts “Distant Shores” they have sailed 90 000 nautical miles together, crossing the Atlantic five times and making superb – inspirational and practical – films along the way. There are 91 film episodes of their journeys to date.

Through the French Canals - DVD - Distant Shores

In 2012 (using french-waterways.com as one of their guides!) they sailed from the UK and through the French canals. Taking the Bourbonnais route, this DVD follows them from Le Havre to Paris, through the Loire-Centre canals, to the Saone and the Rhone and into the Mediterranean.

Not only a superb 140 minute long video documentary, the “Through the French Canals”
DVD also covers practical aspects such as preparation, fendering and lock technique.
> Purchase on the Distant Shores website <

Piper steel Dutch barges
Piper steel Dutch barges

New on french-waterways.com, we’re very pleased to publish information about Piper Dutch barges.

All over the world, people dream of living aboard in style, comfort and safety, exploring world-famous cities, historic towns and beautiful countryside whilst cruising the network of French (and European) canals and rivers. With all the features necessary to make the voyages both easy and enjoyable, there is no finer way to do this than in one’s own modern steel Dutch style barge. Piper Boats, based in England, are the premier craftsmen builders of these superb boats.

Detailed information about Piper Dutch Barges

Opened in 2008, the port de plaisance (inland marina) of Rouen rapidly became highly popular and with good reason. Located in the 3.4 hectare (8.5 acre) Bassin St Gervais, on the north bank of the Seine, a short walk west of the city centre, it provides a full range of facilities including secure pontoon moorings with all services, travelift, mast-stepping, ‘on the hard’ storage for 50 boats, bicycle hire, laundry, pump-out, etc. It is an excellent resource for British sailing yachts (and motor boats) because it allows safe and comfortable passage up the Seine, mast-up – a considerable advantage compared with Le Havre or Honfleur.

In 2013 the port addressed increasing demand from both British and  Parisian (and local) sailors and expanded its capacity from 60 places to 100. A slipway was constructed, a wash-down, repair and maintenance area created, a fuel dock provided and WiFi now reaches all pontoon moorings. 2014 will see the capitainerie and its facilities comprehensively renovated.

Cruising in detail – River Seine and Rouen to Paris

France has been the world’s favourite tourist destination for a number of years. More recently, the country has also seen river cruise companies expanding their operations to meet increasing customer demand for French waterway holidays and vacations.

AMA Amalegro
AMA Amalegro

Tauck introduced a 118 pax (passenger) ship, the Swiss Emerald, to the Rhone in 2011 and expanded partial season operation to full in 2013. In 2014, the river cruise line will introduce a sister ship, the Swiss Sapphire, onto the River Seine. Increasing capacity to meet demand looks like a sensible move, because pre-season bookings for 2014 are up 650% on 2013 and 1,300% on 2012.

Rival river cruise line Uniworld will launch the 164 pax Catherine on the Saone-Rhone route in 2014 and will move their current Rhone cruise ship, the River Royale, to Bordeaux for 2014 sailings.

Also in Bordeaux, Viking will introduce their new 190 pax vessel, the Viking Forseti, to ‘Chateaux, Rivers and Wine’ cruises in 2014. In fact, Bordeaux has become a new, highly popular, destination. Already sailing there at full capacity, CroisiEurope have their 138 pax Princesse d’Aquitaine and (new for 2013) 176 pax  Cyrano de Bergerac river cruise ships.

Recognising the significant increase in market interest in France, both AmaWaterways and Scenic Cruises have moved ships from Danube routes to French rivers. AMA moved their 150 pax cruise ship, the Amalegro, which gave them 43% more French capacity than in 2012 and Scenic switched their 169 pax ship, the Scenic Emerald to operation in France.

River Cruises in France (Seine, Saone, Rhone, Bordeaux)