There are a number of hotel barge cruises now being offered to commemorate the outbreak of the Great War 100 years ago. The Canal du Nord and the Canal de la Somme – traversing the lands that saw appalling fighting conditions and devastating loss of life – will be the routes for the cruises.

From various points along the waterways guests will take excursions to some of the most significant sites and memorials, including:

  • The Menin Gate in Ypres for the very moving Last Post ceremony
  • Vimy Ridge, site of the Canadian National Memorial, Canada’s largest overseas memorial
  • The Thiepval memorial, a heart-rending monument to 75,000 missing soldiers who fell during the Battle of the Somme
    The forest clearing at Compiegne where the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918

For full itineraries, departure dates and details of how to book please contact clare@PondersTravel.co.uk and quote ‘french-waterways.com’.

Click to enlarge

The Arzviller Boat Lift, one of the French waterway’s most iconic features,which was closed between July 2013 and May 2014 following a serious incident (photo, left), closed again on July 10th 2014.

Information has it that repairs made during 2013-2014 have failed and that further work is now necessary to the tracks and rails that the tank runs on.

The Marne-Rhine canal is now closed at Arzviller and is likely to remain so until the end of 2014 mid-July 2015. There are serious consequences for self-drive hire boat and hotel barge operations in the area, as well as to private boat plaisanciers.