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

french-waterways.com – some visitor feedback

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!!!!!
  • Your lovely website . . . Very informative
  • 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.
  • Have looked back to your website for inspiration
  • I just wanted to say your website has provided me with an endless supply of reading material for what started out as an idea
  • I’ve just discovered your amazing web sight
  • Congratulations on a very well-designed informative website
  • Thanks so much for your speedy, helpful and thoughtful response.
  • Firstly thank you for the informative website.
  • Love your website!
  • Thanks very much for your reply; not only do you do a great site but you also respond with warmth and alacrity to queries: wonderful!
  • Congratulations on a thoroughly professional and engrossing site with that rare element of insider nous.
  • Your site is really informative
  • Hey guys I loved reading your input on the trials and tribulations of cruising the French waterways.
  • Found your site to be very informative and well organised.
  • Your great website
  • I would like to thank you again for your detailed emails. You have been a lifesaver for us
  • What a wonderful site you provide for cruising France by canal.
  • I have been extremely impressed with the content of your web site
  • What a fantastic and informative source of invaluable information. Very many thanks, will keep me occupied for weeks, no months.
  • 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.
  • First, thank you for doing a terrific job on your web site, very informative and helpful.
  • First to all much thanks to you for your website which we find most enjoyable and informative.
  • Thanks for response and that’s more helpful than anything I’ve seen so far.
  • Thank you for your excellent, helpful site.
  • I’m very happy to have found such a useful website.
  • Great web site!
  • Just wanted to say thanks for hosting such a great site. Lots of useful information, well organised, entertaining, and nicely photographed. Sites as good as these are rare. Well done.
  • 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.
  • Many thanks for coming back with such excellent advice.
  • Firstly, great website! I found a lot of info I could not easily find elsewhere.
  • Thank you for your very informative web site.
  • Really interesting and well written to boot
  • We just felt we had to say how much we appreciated all the information and the really well constructed/navigable website you have.
  • Love the website – I found it a long time ago, probably as you were starting off, and always kept the link. I’ve spent the past week reading all the pages and I’m really impressed!
  • I found your Rhone and Saone pages most helpful and accurate
  • I have found your website most helpful
  • First, please accept my compliments on your magnificent website.
  • 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.
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.