A newly developed self-drive hire boat for 4+ people
The Nicols Quattro S self-drive hire boat has 2 cabins for 4 persons, with a smart modern design for master and twin-bed cabins, an excellent shower-room and a spacious bright panoramic saloon and galley area. There is also a sofa-bed in the saloon.
Level with the saloon is a rear deck for sitting and dining, higher up is the upper sun deck with its own steering position, and there is forward terrace at the bow, perfect to relax with a nice cool drink and enjoy a boating holiday or vacation on the French canals.
- A large ‘walk through’ rear (aft) terrace that is perfect for eating or relaxing. It has a sun awning, table and chairs, shower and swimming ladder and also gates on either side for easy access whichever way round the boat is moored up.
- A staircase (moulded into the hull) gives access up to the ‘flying bridge’ (the upper deck) which provides superb elevated views of the passing scene as well as a steering position. The boat’s controls fold away to maximise the use and enjoyment of the deck.
- A galley (kitchen) that is fully equipped to a high standard and cabins and shower rooms that are spacious and comfortable.
- Length 10.85m – Width 3.80m
- 2 Cabins
- Superb ‘master’ cabin
- Second cabin with 2 single beds
- Excellent Shower-WCs
- Saloon Area 9 sq.m
- 220 Litre Fridge-Freezer
- 4-Ring Hob – Oven
- Inside / Outside Steering Positions
- Shower and Bathing Ladders
- Radio / CD / TV
- Exclusive Nicols ‘Piscinette’ heated pool annexe option
Nicols Estivale Quattro S regions - Alsace | Midi-Languedoc | Brittany
Hire Boating – 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 –
Hire Boating – Camargue and Mediterranean Coast
► 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 –
Hire Boating – 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: Bram, 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 –
Hire Boating – The 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 –
Hire Boating – 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 –
^ click to enlarge images and open gallery ^
The interactive panorama below is of the Quattro – the Quattro S is similar, but with changes to the cabins
The Nicols ‘Piscinette’ heated boat pool (optional extra)
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.