Mission, Experience, Expertise

Our single-minded objective is to provide the very best information about cruising in France. We help you to compare and choose your best options. We offer friendly advice and assistance, calling upon our own experience and familiarity with France, her rivers and canals, and the kinds of cruises available on her inland waters

french-waterways.com is the world’s most comprehensive and best-loved source of inspiration and information about enjoying the rivers and canals of France – on the water or by the water. In one’s own craft, in a self-drive hire boat, on a hotel barge charter or on a riverboat small ship cruise.

For those wishing to purchase a holiday afloat we offer the benefit of our extensive partnerships with the very best fleets, individual owners and operators, and with specialist cruise agents. We make no extra charge for our expertise, nor cruises nor guides; any products for sale are at the market rate or less.

Fifteen years, ten thousand kilometres

French Waterways was founded in autumn 2003 when we departed the UK to go sailing, memorably crossing the English Channel in an equinoctial gale to enter the waterways network at Honfleur. Since then, besides sailing the Western Mediterranean, we have cruised nearly ten thousand kilometres of the French rivers and canals from north to south, east to west, passing through over two thousand locks along the way.

No-one knows the French waterways and the potential for enjoyment quite like we do.

Watch the french-waterways.com journeys video

Motor cruiser French canals
Motor cruiser French canals

An independent and authoritative team

We are a six-strong team of waterways, travel, marketing and website professionals, focused on France and only on France. We are independent and impartial, and french-waterways.com has been created from first-hand practical experience and developed by learning from and collaborating with other sources of expertise. The site averages around 1,500 unique visitors each day (peaking at 2,500+ during high season weeks), from all over the world.

Practical help and knowledge

For the avoidance of doubt, french-waterways.com is not connected with Voies Navigables de France (VNF), the national waterways management authority.

Although we cannot directly intervene in the event of a lock breakdown or such like, we are very pleased to hear from our readers and customers and to provide such advice and opinion as we are able. And also, of course, to receive intelligence and feedback that amends, expands or corrects our own information.

For ourselves, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many who have befriended and helped us along the way. Boating is like that..


These comments are all genuine, completely unprompted and also very much appreciated.

  • I am gobsmacked. Your website is excellent. Absolutely excellent in all its detail. What a gift to people who, like me, are researching the ‘possibility’. Congratulations and, more importantly, THANK YOU!!!!!
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  • Once again congrats on your web site, I am getting lots of good info and tips from it and think it’s great that there are people such as yourself who are willing to put the time and effort in so that others can benefit. Well done, and thanks.
    If we meet out there I’d be pleased to buy you a drink.
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  • Hey guys I loved reading your input on the trials and tribulations of cruising the French waterways.
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  • Well once again many thanks.
    Your site is the best reference on the web and so usable.
  • You should probably get commission from the French tourist board for the good work you do.



  • Just wanted to tell you that I have sat here for the last two hours engrossed in your blog on your site! I have read everything from beginning to end and loved every word of it. And I really liked your photos, they are wonderful.
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  • Your website, your emails and your friendship have been indispensable, we could not have made a safe journey without all the information we had from you. It was priceless!
  • Hi, thanks for a great website. It’s an excellent resource for a dreamer like me.
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  • We just felt we had to say how much we appreciated all the information and the really well constructed/navigable website you have.
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  • First, please accept my compliments on your magnificent website.

french-waterways.com – the Journeys Video

^ click on to play, pause or resume ^

Read the complete story of our Sailing Through France journey

Which Waterways Have We Cruised?

From 2003 to 2018 – 1,895 hours – 9,892km – 2,032 locks

  • Canal de l’Aisne à la Marne
  • Canal de Bourgogne
  • Canal de Briare
  • Canal du Centre
  • Canal de Garonne
  • River Herault
  • Canal du Loing
  • Canal Latéral à la Loire
  • River Lot Aval (Lower)
  • River Marne
  • Canal Latéral à la Marne
  • Canal Marne à la Saone
  • Canal du Midi
  • Canal du Nivernais
  • River Rhone (Grand)
  • River Rhone (Petit)
  • Canal du Rhone à Sete
  • River Saone (Lower)
  • River Saone (Upper)
  • River Seine Aval (Lower / Tidal)
  • River Seine Amont (Upper)
  • River Yonne

We have also explored (by car)

  • River Baise
  • River Charente
  • River Boutonne
  • River Dordogne
  • River Garonne
  • River Lot Amont (Upper)
  • River Rhone (Upper)
  • Canal de la Marne au Rhin
  • Canal de Nantes à Brest
  • Canal du Rhone au Rhin (River Doubs)
  • Canal de Roanne à Digoin