About french-waterways.com

Unrivalled Experience, Scope and Enthusiasm

french-waterways.com has become the internet’s leading, most comprehensive and authoritative 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.

Inform, Compare, Assist

Our single-minded objective is to provide the very best information, covering all the boats, barges and ships, enabling you to compare and choose your best options. You can also ask us for some friendly advice and assistance, calling upon our own experience and familiarity with France and her rivers and canals. And you can take advantage of the impartial partnerships we have with all the major fleets, with individual owners and operators, and with specialist cruise agents.

Ten Years Plus – Nine Thousand Kilometres

This unique website was founded in autumn 2003 when we departed the UK to ‘go sailing’, memorably crossing the English Channel (la Manche) in an equinoctal gale to enter the waterways network at Honfleur. Since then, besides sailing the Western Mediterranean, we have cruised over nine thousand kilometres of the French rivers and canals from north to south, east to west, passing through over one thousand five hundred locks (écluses) along the way.

No-one knows the French waterways like we do!

Independent and Authoritative


french-waterways.com is independent and impartial, created and written from first-hand practical experience of (and great enthusiasm for) the subject – and also learning from and collaborating with other sources of expertise. Our primary focus is on the usefulness, quality and clarity of the information provided. Over the past year (up to January 2015) our website has averaged around 1,500 unique visitors each day (peaking at 2,500+ during high season weeks), from all over the world.

Practical Help – Practical Knowledge

ChloeFor the avoidance of doubt, french-waterways.com is not connected with VNF Voies Navigables de France, 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 to provide such advice and opinion as we are able. And also, of course, to receive intelligence 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.

Which Waterways Have We Cruised?

From 2003 to 2016 – 1,795 hours – 9,092km – 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)
  • Canal de la Marne au Rhin
  • Canal de Nantes à Brest
  • Canal du Rhone au Rhin (River Doubs)
  • Canal de Roanne à Digoin
Could you play an important part in our incredible journey into the future?

We are looking for joint venture business partners, investors and collaborators to join the FW team.