A luxurious centre saloon self-drive hire boat for 4+ people

The Confort 900 centre-saloon self-drive hire boat provides space and luxury for 4+ people. Both double cabins (at either end of the boat) – one with an extra single bed – have en-suite shower-rooms. The saloon sofa also converts into a double bed.

Quality is in-built to ensure you enjoy your boating holiday or vacation on the French canals to the full, including a forward terrace at the bow, perfect for relaxing with a nice cool drink and a rear deck for sitting and dining.

The Confort 900 DP model also has an additional steering position to the upper deck. This model is only available in Anjou, Charente, Canal du Midi, southern Burgundy and Alsace, and is slightly more expensive to hire.

At A Glance

Key Features:

  • Length 8.85m – Width 3.40m
  • 2 Cabins – 2 Double Beds + 1 Single Bed
  • Convertible Double Bed In Saloon
  • 2 Washrooms-WCs
  • Saloon Area 9 sq.m
  • 220 Litre Fridge-Freezer
  • 2-Ring Hob – Oven
  • Exclusive Nicols ‘Piscinette’ heated pool annexe option

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

Nicols Confort 900 regions - North Burgundy-Nivernais | Camargue-Mediterranean | Aquitaine-Gascony | Charente


Hire Boating – Northern Burgundy and The Nivernais

map loire nivernais► Self-drive boats available in Northern Burgundy-Nivernais-Upper Loire
Hire Fleets and Bases
 France Afloat/Linssen: Vermenton and Tonnere
 Locaboat/Linssen: Joigny and Corbigny
 LeBoat: Migennes and Tannay
 Nicols: Brienon and Venarey-les-Laumes

Canal du Nivernais – River Yonne – Canal de Bourgogne

A hundred miles south east of Paris, North Burgundy is a region steeped in culture and history and is considered by some to be the gastronomic heart of France, with its Boeuf Bourguignon, its buttery garlicky snails and its Coq au Vin, not to mention its stunning Chablis wine. To the west of it, the Nivernais Canal links the Loire and the Seine basins and crosses the remote and beautiful heathland of the Morvan.

Among the Nivernais’ natural wonders are the Rochers de Saussois, a limestone bluff that soars above the River Yonne which feeds the canal as it goes, while man-made highlights include the Chateau de Tanlay with its romantic moat and famous trompe l’oeil frescoes. The breathtaking abbey at Vezelay is the starting point for one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago di Compostella , while Fontenay Abbey was built by St Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Still on a religious theme, Auxerre is a historic city of such astounding loveliness that it boasts not just an 11th century cathedral, but a 12th century abbey too.

The lives of more ordinary folk are evident Villeneuve sur Yonne and the beautiful half-timbered town of Noyers-sur-Serein with its characteristic mediaeval arcades, where walnuts and truffles were traded and enjoyed as a complement to the fine local wine.

– [below] In the region: Villeneuve sur Yonne, Fontenay, Tanlay, Noyers-sur-Serein, Auxerre, the Morvan, Saussois, the Canal du Nivernais –

yonne-villeneuve-500x300 abbaye-fontenay-500x300 c-de-bourgogne-500x300 tanlay-500x300 noyers-sur-serein-500x300

auxerre-500x300 morvan saussois-500x300 nivernais-lock-500x300 nivernais-liftbridge2-500x300


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 – 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 – River Lot

map river lot► Self-drive boats available in Aquitaine-Charente
Hire Fleets and Bases
 LeBoat: Douelle
 Locaboat: Cahors
 Nicols: Bouzies

River Lot (Upper Section)

One of the loveliest rivers of them all, the Lot rises in the Cevennes and travels west through Quercy, famous for its ravishingly pretty villages and traditional dovecotes made from honey-coloured stone. Two sections of the waterway are navigable, the lower from Nicole to Lustrac and the upper from Luzech to Larnagol.

The river cuts through spectacular gorges and perched at the top of one enjoying breathtaking views is the ancient town of St-Cirq-la-Popie, which was built by three feuding families who attempted to out-do each other with the magnificent architecture of their homes. Where the cliff overhangs the towpath at Bouzies, the rock has been decorated with sculptures by Daniel Monnier, but perhaps the most memorable image of the river is the stunning Valentre bridge at Cahors which was completed in 1378, although legend has it that the master builder made a pact with the devil to help speed up construction. Cahors itself is the capital of the Lot and is best known for its feisty red wine.

– [below] In the region: Bouzies, St-Cirq-la-Popie, Cahors, Laroque-des-Arcs –

bouzies-500x300 st-cirq-lock-500x300 cahors-valentre4-500x300 st-cirq2-500x300 laroque-des-arcs-500x300


Hire Boating – The Charente

map charente► Self-drive boats available in Aquitaine-Charente
Hire Fleets and Bases
 LeBoat: Jarnac
 Nicols: Sireuil

River Charente – River Boutonne

The River Charente in the south west of France is navigable from Angouleme to the Atlantic and the French King Henri1V said it was the most beautiful in his kingdom. Like the Loire to the north and Bordeaux to the south the landscape is covered in vineyards, but rather than making wine they are used in the production of brandy, named after the local town Cognac.

Near Angouleme, the chateau at Verteuil-sur Charente was built in 1078 and was strategically placed on the road between the kingdoms of France and Spain – in the middle ages verteuil meant heavily fortified . Further west downstream the riverside city of Saintes is even more ancient, dating back to Roman times. As well as brandy, the area is known for its succulent charentais melons, its goats cheese and its irresistible salted caramels.

– [below] In the region: Verteuil-sur-Charente, Cognac, Saintes –

verteuil-s-charente-500x300 charente-lock-500x300 charente-cognac-500x300 charente-500-300 saintes-arch-500x300

The Nicols ‘Piscinette’ heated boat pool (optional extra)

Nicols Piscinette boat pool

The French canal and river network is the most extensive, most delightful, in the world. Exploring the waterways, passing through towns, villages and beautiful countryside – usually in bright sunshine – is enjoyable almost beyond compare. Equally enjoyable is the opportunity to ‘take  a dip’ and with most watercourses, man-made or natural, this is very possible.

The unique Nicols Piscinette expands this delight still further, providing one’s own private small pool, with the clean water at a warm temperature, the depth certain and the poolside safe. A great little splashy playground for the young – and the not so young!

The pool is rather like a floating trailer that is fixed to and towed behind Nicols boats. Every recent type of boat in the Nicols fleet is suitable – Sedan, Grand Confort or Estivale. The boat attachment is completely secure and a boat equipped with a Piscinette is as easy to drive as one without. Overall, it is 2.55m long by 3.10m wide and the pool holds 700 litres of fresh clean water that is brought to a comfortable temperature through connections to the boat engine heat exchanger. There is also a circulation pump and filtration skimmer, to keep things sweet, just like its full-size cousins.

The Nicols ‘pool annexe’ has guard rails, storage boxes – and for when the pool is not in use, it has sliding rigid covers robust enough to stand on or keep things on.

All Fleets Option >

Stylish and spacious Grand Confort, Estivale and Sedan self-drive boats from Nicols

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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.


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