Hire Boat: Le Boat Countess

At A Glance

Key Features:

  • Forward cabin with two single beds and adjacent shower and toilet
  • Double cabin at rear with en suite shower and toilet
  • Roomy central saloon with convertible double settee bed
  • Two steering positions, one inside and one outside
  • Rear sundeck with second steering position
  • Full width bathing platform at rear

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 Countess regions - Alsace | North Burgundy-Nivernais | South Burgundy-Saone | Midi-Languedoc | Brittany



Hire Boating – Alsace

map alsace► Self-drive boats available in Ardennes and Alsace
 Nicols: Harskirchen and Saverne
 LeBoat: Hesse and Boofzheim
 Locaboat/Linssen: Lutzelbourg

Canal Marne au Rhin – Canal Rhone au Rhin (N) – Canal de la Sarre

The waterways of North-East France are set against striking backdrops – the forests of the Ardennes, the Vosges mountains, the beautiful Doubs valley – with the River Rhine marking its eastern-most edge. Being so close to Germany and Switzerland, these influences and references are strong: castles, steeply pitched roofs, decorative timberwork, hearty cuisine, Riesling wine, plus a big selection of beers – no more so than in the regional capital of Strasbourg, where French poet and novelist Victor Hugo described the 12th century cathedral as, “a gigantic and delicate marvel.”

At Saverne the Lalique Museum is home to more than 500 exceptional pieces of glassware by French designer René Lalique. The Arzviller boat lift is a marvel of engineering that carries boats 450 feet up the Vosges Mountains and for the perfect end to a day’s strenuous sightseeing, try sipping a glass of Riesling wine in Place Stanislas, the gilded, UNESCO listed central square in the Art Nouveau city of Nancy.

– [below] In the region: Strasbourg, Nancy, Lalique Glass, Arzviller Boat Lift, Canal Marne-Rhine –

strasbourg-cathedral-500x300 nancy-stanislas-500x300 lalique-500x300 arzviller2-500x300 nilaya-500x300



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 – Loing Valley, Briare and Loire

map loire burgundy► Self-drive boats available in Northern Burgundy-Nivernais-Upper Loire
Hire Fleets and Bases
 Locaboat/Linssen: Briare and Dompieerre s/Bresbre (also Corbigny*)
 LeBoat: Chatillon-sur-Loire and Decize (also Tannay*)
 Nicols: Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses and Plagny

Canal de Briare – Canal Loire Lateral – *Canal du Nivernais

South of Paris, where the western part of Burgundy blurs prettily with the Loire Valley, a cruise along the Canal de Loing, the Canal de Briare and the Canal Loire Lateral reveals a number of hidden treasures in a landscape that inspired the painter Alfred Sisley. There are engineering feats to marvel at along the waterway –the elegant aqueduct at Briare, once the longest in the world, and at Rogny an atmospheric flight of seven locks, no longer in use but full of echoes of the past.

The Palace of Fontainebleau originally served as a hunting lodge and of all royal residences it is the only one to have been continuously inhabited for seven centuries. Thousand year old castles are plentiful – Saint Fargeau and Sully-sur-Loire boast breathtaking examples. Equally charming is the ancient town of Montargis, which with its network of narrow canals and bridges invites comparisons to Venice.

– [below] In the region: Briare, Moret-sur-Loing (Sisley), Chateau de Sully –

loing-500x300 briare-500x300 moret-sisley-500x300 sancerre-500x300 chat-sully-500x300



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, Corbigny and Montbard
 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 – South Burgundy

map loire burgundy► Self-drive boats available in South Burgundy-France Comté
Hire Fleets and Bases
 Locaboat/Linssen: Dompierre s/Bresbre, St Leger s/Dheune and Macon
 LeBoat: Branges

Canal du Centre – River Saone – River Seille

The Saone is one of the most attractive rivers in France: wide, sleepy and unhurried, it wends 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 delightful countryside replete with wildlife. Macon offers an ideal base for discovering the Beaujolais – an undulating crest of hills famous for the production of light red wine, while fans of photography will be keen to visit Chalon-sur-Saone, the home of Nicéphore Niepce and thus regarded as the birthplace of this popular art form: the colourful Sunday market offers perfect opportunities for taking vivid holiday snaps.

A bucolic tributary of the Saone, the River Seille leads to the heartlands of Bresse, famous for its delicious chickens which have appellation d’origine contrôlée status, while the Canal de Centre which links the Canal Lateral a la Loire with the Saone, passes through the rolling verdant vineyards of the Cote Challonais.

– [below] In the region: River Seille, Chalon-sur-Saone, River Saone, Macon, Canal du Centre –

c-du-centre-500x300 chalon2-500x300 saone-500x300 macon-500x300 seille-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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Lorraine-Alsace-ArdennesBurgundy-Franche-ComtéLoire-Centre-NivernaisProvence-CamargueMidi-LanguedocAquitaine-Gascony-CharenteBrittany-Anjou
 


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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.