Le Boat hire cruise discounts

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Fantastic discounts are available for bookings confirmed by 31 January:

March, April* & May, all regions:
15% off all boats for 3 nights minimum except for Royal Mystique, Mystique and the Horizon range
*(8th – 17th April 10% only)

Family discount
5% off for minimum 7 nights except for Royal Mystique, Mystique and the Horizon range. All regions.

10% off for minimum 7 nights on Clipper; Continentale, Crusader and Salsa A and Salsa B. All regions.

Le Boat Discounts
Le Boat Clipper

Nivernais, Loire region
10% off all boats for 3 nights minimum except for Royal Mystique, Mystique and the Horizon range.

Valid for all bookings confirmed by 31 January
Offers are combinable up to 15% discount
Minimum duration 3 nights
Not applicable to Horizon range
Offers can be withdrawn at any time
Subject to availability
Offers cannot be used retrospectively

Are you ready to book for 2018?
Take the Early Bird Discount of 15% on 1- 4* boats and 5% on 5* boats (excluding the Horizon range). Wow!

Le Boat hire cruise discounts

Nicols Confort 900 Discounts

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Nicols discounts can be added together to create a maximum of 10% discount for short breaks or 15% for cruises of one week or longer.

Family discount
Save 5% for 1 child under 16 years old
Save 10% for 2 children (or more) under 16 years old
Any length cruise, all boats.

Seniors discount
Save 5% if there is at least one 65+ year old on board.
Any length cruise, all boats.

Couples discount
Save 10% on board a Confort 900 or Confort 900 DP, Nicols 1000 or Nicols 1010

Nicols Hire boat discounts
Nicols Confort 900 Deck Plan

Long cruise discount
Save 10% on the second week, and every additional week.

Large Group discount
Save up to 10% when more than one boat booked at the same time
5% off for 2 boats
7% off for 3 boats
10% off for 4 boats or more

Offers cannot be used retrospectively

Locaboat Discounts
Penichette 1180 Flying Bridge

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The following discounts can be combined up to a total discount of 20%. They’re valid throughout 2017 for holidays of one week minimum.

The Families Discount
10% discount for any group with 2 or more children aged up to 18 years old
5% discount for any group including 1 child aged up to 18 years old

The Couples Discount
10% discount for just the two of you

The Flotilla Discount
5% discount if at least two boats are booked at the same time

The Long Stay Discount
10% discount for cruises of 28 days or longer
7% discount for cruises of 21 to 27 days
5% discount for cruises of 14 to 20 days
3% discount for 10 to 13 days

PLUS regular early booking discounts – so check back regularly

*Offers cannot be applied retrospectively


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French Christmas
Making merry Christmas cookies

Whether you’re planning a Reveillon feast or looking to recreate a traditional French Christmas, how many of these French holiday traditions will make it to your table this year?

What’s Reveillon?

A tradition in French speaking countries and former French colonies. This is a long meal that happens on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Traditionally, the feast takes place after Midnight Mass. Across Europe, Reveillon dinners still occur in France, Belgium, Portugal and Romania. Around the world, Reveillon feasts are popular in Brazil, Quebec and New Orleans.

An aperitif to begin

An aperitif or apero is typically served with amuse-gueules, which might be light nibbles like nuts or full scale canapes. Will your aperitif of choice be pure Champagne or will you add a splash of crème de cassis to create a Kir Royale? Perhaps you’ll step outside the box with a Lillet over ice, a delightful aperitif wine produced in Podensac, Burgundy. For those with an affinity for gin, switch to Dubonnet this Christmas – quinine features in the red version that rumour has it is a favourite tipple of Queen Elizabeth II.

Now will you say “Santé!” or “Tchin Tchin!”

A canape with that

A reveillon feast would nowadays typically feature caviar. A canape of smoked salmon and caviar combines so naturally and sits perfectly perched upon a blini. A meaty alternative would have to incorporate foie gras. This rich liver parfait balances perfectly with a crisp melba toast that adds wonderful texture to the morsel without impeding the flavour of the pate.

An entrée to really get things started

Foie gras often makes it way to the entrée too. In these larger portions it goes down well with a fruit compote and if in Paris or Bordeaux you might find it accompanied with a sweet wine like Sauternes.

Continuing the decadent theme, how about oysters – might be wise to ask the fishmonger to shuck them for you! They go down beautifully with some shallot and red wine vinegar or break the mould and grill them for a couple of minutes covered in a champagne sabayon.

However, one of the simplest supper talking points has to be escargots in a garlic or herb butter – a particular French Christmas favourite in Burgundy. They might be the Marmite of the dinner table, but just like oysters, until you try one you’ll never know!

The main affair – your plat principal

Sticking to an extravagant thread, you’ll often find game a feature of a revellion main course. And for those closer to the sea or with a penchant for seafood, it has to be lobster and/or crab.

If you’d rather stick to a traditional turkey, fear not it’s the preferred plat principal in Burgundy.

Whichever way you lean, find a way to incorporate chestnuts. Chestnuts feature heavily in French Christmas recipes. They find a natural home in stuffings and are the perfect focus for a vegetarian dish or nut roast.

Next up: du fromage

A cheese that’s only made during the dark months of winter and comes into its own between October and February is Vacherin Mont d’Or. It’s an unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese that you’ll need to spoon from its traditional wooden box if you do right by it and leave it at room temperature before dinner begins.

Now that you’ve got something runny covered, add some texture in the form of Comte and its alcohol infused flavours and firm yet smooth texture. You’ll need a blue cheese too and thoughts naturally turn to the sheep’s milk Roquefort – it’s as old as the tradition of Christmas. Bring some nuttiness to the board with a goat’s cheese log.

You’ve left room for desserts haven’t you

Yes, we do mean multiple desserts. Thirteen, in fact if you’re celebrating Provence style. A traditional platter of 13 desserts to represent Jesus and his 12 disciples doesn’t have to be as extravagant as you think. Often a curation of dried fruit, fresh seasonal fruits, candied fruit, pain d’epice, nougat, pate de coing (quince cheese) oreillettes (think, pastry like waffles) a pompe a l’huile cake, and some regional variations like biscotins and calissons d’Aix.

Outside of Provence we’ll let you off with a portion of buche de noel – a traditional Yule Log.

After all that you deserve to celebrate, so bring out the Champagne again before retiring in time for Saint Nicolas (or Pere Noel) to make his appearance.

While we don’t expect you to indulge in the tradition Reveillon supper after midnight mass – you’ll still be going in the early hours of the morning – we do hope you savour some of these delicious French foods this Christmas.

A very Merry French Christmas from us all at French Waterways!

French Christmas Cookies

These past few months we’ve been beavering away behind the scenes to bring you fresh new look hotel content, extra navigation pages and heaps of new waterway and self-drive downloads.

When you’re browsing through the boats and barges to find your holiday boat or hotel barge, or the best route for your own adventure, you’ll notice we’ve added layer upon layer of new and extra details. We’ve organised this new content in clear and descriptive tabs.

New look hotel barging in sumptuous detail

New look hotel barge detail page
Looking for a vacation of a lifetime? With our gloriously detailed hotel barge pages you can meet your hosts, delve into the opulent itineraries, or fall for the gourmet food and impressive drinks cabinet.

View each barge holiday in detail with a summary of the barge, its capacity, history and location. Get to grips with the available itineraries on the Cruising tab and get a feel for the region the barge cruises on the Region tab.

The on board facilities are handily listed on the Facilities tab. Then the real lure begins: the Cuisine tab let’s you in on the culinary highlights that’ll woo you to want to stay in France forever.

Under Gallery you’ll find exterior and interior images of the barge as well as a floor plan, in most cases. So you can get a feel for cabin size and communal space.

Under the Advice tab we provide some personal insight from our own experiences of staying the barges. We’ve known the barges and their owner-operators for many, many years. We’ve cruise the routes they meander and in most cases we’ve experienced their itineraries, their hospitality, their open bar and their culinary skills first hand.

If you send a booking enquiry via the Booking tab, we’re on the other end ready to answer your questions or provide more information. We personally handle your luxury barge cruise booking and liaise with the barge owner-operators and partners directly to secure the dates and itinerary you’re looking for.

See what we mean with Aurora

New look hire boating: all you need, all in one place

new look hire boat detail page
Desperately seeking a fun vacation with family or friends? Hire boating is a sunny, healthy and culturally fulfilling holiday in France. Choosing how, when and where is now easy too.

We’ve brought the boats and their cruise location information into one place. We’ve added images and videos too.

Each hire boat detail page starts with a Summary tab. Here we introduce the boat, its capacity, drive-ability and suitability for various group type.

On the Cruise Locations tab you’ll be able to see from which hire bases each boat is available from. Some hire boats are available to rent on a one-way route where you cruise from one base to another. Others routes are only suited to there-and-back routes or loops.

The Gallery tab will uncover exterior, interior shots as well as a flat plan of each boat so you can see how the living space is laid out. Now you can really imagine yourself aboard!

It’s easy to send your booking enquiry via the Booking tab online form too. We send this direct to the hire boat partner responsible for your preferred cruiser. They’ll be in touch directly to answer any questions, provide more detail or to process your booking and payment.

See for yourself with Horizon

Want the latest luxury hotel barge news?

new hotel barge latest news page
We’ve added a brand new page that’s dedicated to providing news and updates from our hotel barge partners.

Here you’ll discover first when we add new barges to the French Waterways fleet. We’ll also highlight stand-out itineraries and not-to-be-missed cultural experiences.

These might include dining experiences, exclusive tastings or chateaux tours.

See what’s new

Easy on the eye hire boating FAQs

self drive hire boating FAQs
Forget any horror stories of pages of Q&A. With this new look page we bring you videos and easy to digest bullet points. So you can quickly understand the ins and outs of self-drive hire boating.

If you’re never considered hire boating in France, this refreshed section of our site will hopefully clue you up. We also hope it’ll convince you to give self-drive waterways holidays a go!

Using the new look tabs on this page we walk you through the different types of boats at your disposal. You’ll garner enough information from At The Wheel to appreciate how accessible an adventure holiday this is. And under Locks you’ll appreciate that, in most cases, the days of winding or unwinding them manually are gone.

With more than 8,000km of waterways open to you in inland France, where should you go first? Under Where? we steer you through the various canals and rivers, their regions and what’s to love about each of them.

The Season provides additional insight for those with travel date flexibility. If you’re debating when to travel to France, this section will provide expert and personal guidance on the pros and cons of spring, summer and autumn cruising.

Start your hire boating revelation 

Did someone say holiday bargains?

special offers, deals and discounts page
We’ve also done a light-touch new look for our special offers page.

Our hire boating partners tend to provide a selection of deals and discounts at the start of each month. These are available when booking within the month. Some of the best deals relate to the immediacy of your booking. So if you’ve got the freedom and flexibility to take a last minute holiday in France – keep your eyes peeled.

Throughout the year, we add the odd offer for hotel barge cruising too. These significant holiday discounts due to the high value of these vacations.

To stay abreast of the best vacation bargains, drop us a line to request to be added to our regular newsletters. We typically send two a month, occasionally more depending on what news and offers we have available to us.

And if you’ve got this far, it’s definitely time to have a wander around the site and see how we can make your next holiday to France smooth in every sense of the word. Calm waters, the relative peace of the waterways, a very unique way to uncover the real France.

Take a peek and as always, let us know if we can help.