Hire Boat: Le Boat Classique

At A Glance

Key Features:

  • Two rear cabins, each with two single beds convertible into one double bed
  • Two forward cabins, one with double bed and the other with two cross over single bunk beds
  • Spacious central saloon with steering position, CD player and access to the outside decks
  • Two separate showers, two toilets and washbasins
  • Top sundeck with steering position
  • Lockable safe

About canal boat rental holidays and vacations

Self drive hire boats are easy to operate and clients are always given thorough hands-on instruction before setting out – including about dealing with the locks that punctuate French inland ‘voyages’, that are straightforward to become familiar with, and that actually provide lots of interest for the boating holiday or vacation. Steering positions are located either inside the hire boat or outside (in the sunshine) on an aft (rear) deck or on the boat’s roof. Controls are simple – a steering wheel for direction and a throttle linked to an automatic gearbox. Push the lever to go forward, pull back to go into reverse and slow down. Some boats have bow-thrusters to push the boat sideways and help change direction at slow speeds.

On a boating holiday or vacation on the rivers and canals of France it is possible to stop – to moor up – almost anywhere. Against the river or canal bank in the middle of some gloriously peaceful scenic countryside, or to a quayside or pontoon in the middle of a picturesque historic village. Not only does every day bring fresh scenes, fresh pleasures, but also almost every turn of the waterway does the same.

For more information, see the “All About Hire Boating” page


Le Boat Classique regions - South Burgundy-Saone | Camargue-Mediterranean | Midi-Languedoc | Aquitaine-Gascony | Brittany


Hire Boating – The Saone and Franche-Comté

map saone doubs► Self-drive boats available in South Burgundy-France Comté
Hire Fleets and Bases
 Locaboat/Linssen: Besancon and Scey s/Saone
 Nicols: Dole and Port s/Saone
 LeBoat: Gray, St Jean de Losne and Fontenoy

River Saone – River Doubs – Canal Rhone au Rhin – Canal de Bourgogne

The Saone is one of the most peaceful rivers in France: wending its way from the mountains of the Vosges to the Rhone, linking up with the Burgundy Canal, the River Doubs and the Rhone au Rhine Canal and passing through ravishing countryside replete with wildlife.

Formerly an outpost on the border between the historic kingdoms of France and Burgundy, Verdun sur le Doubs is now better known for the delicious stew made from locally caught river fish – Pochouse. Also on the River Doubs, Dole retains much of its medieval character and Besancon, with its spectacular citadel designed by the French military architect Vaubun, is worth the journey further upstream. Auxonne also has military associations – it was where Napoleon was trained as a soldier.

– [below] In the region: Mantoche, Besancon, Dole, Verdun-sur-le-Doubs, Auxonne –

mantoche-500x300 besancon-500x300 dole-500x300 verdun-doubs-500x300 auxonne-500x300


Hire Boating – Camargue and Mediterranean Coast

map camargue provence► Self-drive boats available in Camargue-Languedoc
 LeBoat: Beaucaire and St Gilles
 Locaboat: Lattes (Montpellier)
 Nicols: Aigues-Mortes and Bellegarde

Canal Rhone a Sete – River Lez

The River Rhone rises in the Swiss Alps and is joined by the Saone at Lyon becoming one of Europe’s major waterways,  and as it heads south it passes memorable and famous towns such as Valence, Viviers (a beautiful hilltop medieval village overlooking the river), Avignon with its famous bridge and papal palace, and finally Arles, where Van Gogh created his most iconic sun-drenched paintings. Here, the Petit Rhone branches off into the Camargue,  Europe’s largest river delta where the reed marshes are teeming with wildlife – including over 350 species of waterbirds, wild black bulls and the famous white Camargue horses. Not to be missed is the fortified crusader town of Aigues Mortes, founded by the French King Saint Louis in 1242.

Heading west from Aigues-Mortes, just metres from the Mediterranean, runs the lock-free Rhone-Sete Canal arriving at France’s own Venetian-style seaport, Sete, and the Etang de Thau, a large inland lagoon, where waterborne visitors may live like kings on fresh moules marinières and bouziegues oysters, washed down with Muscat wines and Noilly Prat vermouth.

– [below] In the region: Sete, Mediterranean, Camargue, Van Gogh/Arles, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Aigues-Mortes –

sete1-500x300 camargue-beach-500x300 camargue-horses2-500x300 avignon-pont-500x300 aigues-mortes2-500x300



Hire Boating – Midi-Languedoc

map midi languedoc► Self-drive boats available in Midi-Languedoc
Hire Fleets and Bases
 LeBoat: Port Cassafieres, Narbonne, Homps, Trebes and Castelnaudary
 France Afloat / Linssen: Capestang
 Locaboat: Argens-Minervois and Negra
 Nicols: Le Somail and Port Lauragais

Canal du Midi – Canal de la Robine

The Canal du Midi has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of the achievement of architect Pierre-Paul Riquet in linking the Etang du Thau in the south east with the River Garonne in Toulouse, effectively connecting the Mediterranean with the Atlantic. His engineering prowess can be seen in the flight of nine characteristically oval-shaped locks at Fonserannes near the ancient city of Beziers, and if ticking off UNESCO sites is your thing, then you get two for one in Carcassonne, where the canal passes close to the ancient citadel that forms one of the most iconic skylines in the whole country.

The canal meanders between the vineyards of Corbieres to the south and the Minervois to the north and a visit to the wine town of Minerve, one of the most beautiful in France, is a treat. A diversion along the Canal de la Robine leads to Narbonne, which dates back to Roman times when it was a strategic trading centre, and even today its covered market, supplied by local producers, is a kind of foodie heaven.

– [below] In the region: Minervois, Minerve, Canal du Midi, Beziers, Narbonne, Carcassonne –

midi-sunflowers-500x300 midi-lock-500x300 midi-canal-500x300 narbonne-500x300 carcassonne-musicians-500x300



Hire Boating – Aquitaine

map aquitaine► Self-drive boats available in Aquitaine-Charente
Hire Fleets and Bases
 LeBoat: Castelsarrasin and Mas d’Agenais
 Locaboat: Agen and Valence s/Baise
 Nicols: Buzet s/Baise

Canal de Garonne – Canal de Montech-Montauban – River Baise

Aquitaine covers the far southwest corner of France and its capital Bordeaux is a stately presence on the estuary of the Garonne river and is ineffably associated with fine wines, claret in particular. The Maison du Vin in the city centre offers an introduction to many vintages, but a visit to some of the prestigious vineyards themselves is hard to beat.

Helping to link Bordeaux to Toulouse, the Canal de Garonne shadows a popular pilgrimage route to Compostella and one of its outstanding waystations is the town of Moissac, world famous for its Romanesque abbey cloister. There are exquisite country villages to discover, including Serignac with its curiously twisted church spire, and as you travel inland from the Atlantic the vineyards are replaced by orchards growing apples, pears and particularly Ente plums. Agen has become synonymous with prunes and the Pruneau d’Agen is so fine that it has earned itself a Protected Geographical Indication, which governs the location and means of its production.

– [below] In the region: Moissac, Wine Tasting, Canal de Garonne, Serignac, Agen –

moissac-500x300 winetasting-500x300 canal-garonne-500x300 serignac-500x300 agen-500x300


Hire Boating – Brittany

map brittany► Self-drive boats available in Brittany-Anjou
Hire Fleets and Bases
 LeBoat: Dinan, Messac and Nort s/Erdre
 Locaboat: St Martin s/Oust and Melesse
 Nicols:: Glenac and Suce s/Erdre

Canal Nantes a Brest – River Erdre – River Vilaine – Canal Ille et Rance

The Canal Nantes-Brest travels for 385 km through the Breton interior, arcing from the south coast to the west coast at Lorient. Located at the mouth of the River Loire, Nantes was once the seat of the dukes of Brittany and still boasts a spectacular renaissance chateau. The modern capital is at Rennes, which was ravaged by fire in 1720, but its narrow streets with their half- timbered houses retain a lingering appeal.

Arty crafty villages abound: Rochefort-en-Terre is home to a colony of artists and even the post office is housed in a renaissance building. Other attractions include the Chateau de Josselin, a renaissance gem, and Redon, famous for its chestnut festival every autumn. Last but not least is Dinan, a medieval town overlooking the River Rance and still surrounded by 13th century ramparts – the perfect place to retreat to a café and order Brittany’s best loved dish: a crepe.

– [below] In the region: Canal Nantes-Brest, Josselin, Redon, Rochefort-en-Terre, Dinan –

nantes-brest2-500x300 josselin-500x300 redon-500x300 rochefort-en-terre-500x300 dinan-500x300

^ click to enlarge images and open gallery ^


Self-drive Booking Enquiry to Le Boat

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Our Expertise – France, Cruising the Waterways and Hire Boating . . .

We have explored the rivers and canals of France on our own yacht and motor boat since 2003, logging up nearly 10,000km along most waterways, in most regions, at all times of year. Independent, impartial and enthusiastic, we know well every fleet operator partner and every hire boat, published on french-waterways.com. Our expert advice and booking services are founded on this unique knowledge.



NOTE: french-waterways.com aims to provide the most comprehensive selection of the self-drive hire boats that are available for boating holidays and vacations in France. We have partnered with the leading operators to whom all enquiries are directed (we ourselves do not act as agents, make bookings or take payments). Details here have been provided by the operator and are published in good faith. We cannot therefore guarantee their accuracy nor warrant regarding condition. Boats may be subject to availability, price change, or withdrawal without notice.