Canal and River Routes Through France :: Options and Timings

This is an approximate, rule of thumb, comparison, guide. It may be possible to do these passages faster or be obliged by circumstances to do them slower. Distances are approximate. No allowance for un-masting or re-masting or similar operations. No allowance for sightseeing stops, which are of course, almost essential . . .

What is the journey like? – Read our detailed blog account of Sailing Through France

NORTH-SOUTH PASSAGES, CHANNEL TO THE MEDITERRANEAN

canal routes franceDepending on the route, the controlling dimensions are those common to the various ‘central’ canals – 1.8m water draft, 3.5m air draft, 5.1m width. Journey time between 24 and 34 days.

1a From Calais to Pont l’Eveque

1b From St Valery-sur-Somme to Pont l’Eveque

There are also options to cross the English Channel to Gravelines or to Dunkerdunkque (Dunkirk) both of which connect to the Liaison Dunkerque-Escaut (Grand Gabarit) canal.

From Pont l’Eveque to Chalon-sur-Saone
At this point there are two alternatives –

2a Paris and the ‘Bourbonnais’ Loire-Centre route to Chalon-sur-Saone

2b The ‘Champagne’ Marne-Saone route to Chalon-sur-Saone

    • 4 days on the Oise Lateral, the Oise a l’Aisne, the Aisne Lateral and the Aisne a la Marne to Conde sur Marne. 8 days on the Marne Lateral, the Marne-Saoneand the Saone, to Chalon.12 days travel – a total of 509km, 170 locks and 2 tunnels (one 5km long).

From Le Havre (or Honfleur) to Chalon-sur-Saone

3 Le Havre or Honfleur to Paris (Charenton)

    • River Seine 5 days travel – a total of 218km and 6-10 locks (depending on details).

4 From Paris to Chalon-sur-Saone
At this point there are two alternatives –

4a The ‘Bourbonnais’ Loire-Centre route to Chalon-sur-Saone

4b The Eastern ‘Champagne’ Marne-Saone route

5a From Chalon-sur-Saone to Arles (or Saint-Gilles if heading west)

5b From Arles/Saint-Gilles to the Med – options

Inland Waterways of France – Map and Book Special Offer

Inland Waterways of FranceIWF Book : The standard comprehensive guide to the French canals and navigable rivers includes maps and distance tables for each waterway, giving the user a general view of the geography of each waterway as well as a detailed cockpit reference.
IWF Map : Excellent and up-to-date map of all navigable French canals and rivers, plus (uniquely) Belgium, Holland and the Rhine.

Contact us for special (e.g recorded, insured) delivery services

17.00€ discount     40.00€ + P&P

Inland Waterways of France – Map

Excellent and up-to-date map of all navigable French canals and rivers, plus (uniquely) Belgium, Holland and the Rhine. Scale  1: 1 500 000 with clear graphics that note key characteristics for each waterway. High quality durable paper.
Companion to the ‘Inland Waterways of France’ book.

Contact us for special (e.g recorded, insured) delivery services

14.50 € + P&P

Breil Navigation Guide Options

  • For English Channel entry ports – choose either 20 Picardy or 21 Seine
  • Beyond Paris – choose either 19 Marne (‘Champagne’) or 02 Loire-Nivernais (‘Bourbonnais’)
  • For Both – choose 03 Bourgogne-Comté (Saone) and 18 Rhone (for Pt St Louis or Pt Napoleon)
  • If accessing Agde or Port la Nouvelle – also choose 07 Midi

Channel Ports to Paris

Editions du Breil : 20 – Picardie

Breil Picardy

Canals du Nord, Escaut, Sensée and St Quentin. River Oise and Oise Canals. River Aisne and Aisne Canals. River Somme.

This newly surveyed and created Breil guide expands and incorporates the previous #13 Oise and #15 Somme guides. It also replaces the northern part of the previous #08 Champagne-Ile de France guide (the southern part has been updated within guide #19 Marne).

2015 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

23.00€

Editions du Breil : 21 – Seine

Breil waterway guide Seine

Tidal river (Le Havre to Rouen), lower Seine to Paris, Paris including the Saint-Denis, Saint-Martin and Ourcq canal, upper Seine and Petite Seine to the navigation limit. 

This newly surveyed and created Breil guide covers the complete river from the tidal estuary up to Rouen, then the non-tidal Lower Seine to and through Paris. The Parisian canals St-Denis and St-Martin are included, as is the Ourcq (which is only navigable for small craft). Above Paris the guide covers the Upper Seine to Montereau (junction with the River Yonne) and the Petite Seine to Marcilly. A very comprehensive navigational guide.

2016 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

23.00€

Editions du Breil : 19 – Marne

River Marne, Marne Lateral, Aisne à la Marne, Entre Champagne et Bourgogne

The complete Marne to Saone (Champagne) route, plus the Aisne-Marne canal that joins the route at Condé-sur-Marne. Breil A4 format pilot book (chart-guide) with detailed canal/river information including locks, bridges, depths, moorings, towns and villages and facilities.

2011 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

19.50€

Editions du Breil : 03 – Bourgogne, Franche-Comté

River Saône (Corre to Lyon) – Seille – Marne à la Saône (southern) – Vosges – Doubs – Bourgogne (southern) – Centre – Rhône au Rhin (to Dole)

The southern section of the Marne/Champagne route from Langres to St-Jean-de-Losne – the complete route from Paris to the Saone is in guide 19 Marne. Plus the complete River Saone, the River Seille and adjacent parts of the Bourgogne, Centre and Rhone au Rhin. Breil A4 format pilot book (chart-guide) with detailed canal/river information including locks, bridges, depths, moorings, towns and villages and facilities.

2017 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

19.50€

Western Bourbonnais Route from Paris, including Burgundy.

Editions du Breil : 02 – Loire-Nivernais

Yonne – Loing – Briare – Loire Lateral – Centre – Nivernais

The Bourbonnais route, from Fontainbleu-St-Mammes to Chalons-sur-Saône. Plus the Canal Roanne à Digoin and the Canal de Nivernais. Breil A4 format pilot book (chart-guide) with detailed canal/river information including locks, bridges, depths, moorings, towns and villages and facilities.

2016 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

19.50€

Central to Provence (Rhône – Petit Rhône)

Editions du Breil : 18 – Rhone

River Saône included in Breil guide 03 – Petit Rhone and Rhone à Sete in Breil guide 07

River Rhone – Petit Rhone – Canal de Bacarin (Arles) – Canal St Louis

Breil A4 format pilot book (chart-guide) with detailed canal/river information including locks, bridges, depths, moorings, towns and villages and facilities.

2016 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

19.50€

South and South-West – Languedoc, Aquitaine, Gascony

Editions du Breil : 07 – Midi (Entre des Mers) Canals

Petit Rhône – Rhône a Sete – Lez – Etang de Thau – Canal du Midi – Canal de Jonction/de la Robine.

The southern canal network from the Rhone through to Toulouse. Including the Mediterranean canal ports of Grau du Roi, Grau d’Agde, Sete/Frontignan and Port la Nouvelle. Plus the side branch canals (but not the Garonne, Lot or Baise). Breil A4 format pilot book (chart-guide) with detailed canal/river information including locks, bridges, depths, moorings, towns and villages and facilities.

2016 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

19.50€
EAST-WEST PASSAGES, MEDITERRANEAN TO THE ATLANTIC

The controlling dimensions are those of the Canal du Midi – 1.4m-1.5m* water draft (*theoretical), 3.3m air draft, 5.4m width. Port la Nouvelle near Narbonne on the Canal de la Robine is subject to that canal’s draft of 1.3m.
Journey time between 14 and 18 days.

6a From the Mediterranean ports to Port la Robine (Canal du Midi)

    • From Port St Louis 5 days (220km, 15 locks) to Port la Robine
    • From Grau du Roi/Port Camargue 4 days (100km, 14 locks) to Port la Robine
    • From Frontignan/Sete 2 days (53km, 14 locks) to Port la Robine
    • From Port la Nouvelle 1 day (39km, 14 locks) to Port la Robine – 1.3m draft

6b From Port la Robine to Pauillac (Bordeaux) – The Canal des Deux Mers

Inland Waterways of France – Map and Book Special Offer

Inland Waterways of FranceIWF Book : The standard comprehensive guide to the French canals and navigable rivers includes maps and distance tables for each waterway, giving the user a general view of the geography of each waterway as well as a detailed cockpit reference.
IWF Map : Excellent and up-to-date map of all navigable French canals and rivers, plus (uniquely) Belgium, Holland and the Rhine.

Contact us for special (e.g recorded, insured) delivery services

17.00€ discount     40.00€ + P&P

Inland Waterways of France – Map

Excellent and up-to-date map of all navigable French canals and rivers, plus (uniquely) Belgium, Holland and the Rhine. Scale  1: 1 500 000 with clear graphics that note key characteristics for each waterway. High quality durable paper.
Companion to the ‘Inland Waterways of France’ book.

Contact us for special (e.g recorded, insured) delivery services

14.50 € + P&P

Breil guide 18 Rhone only needed if accessing Port St Louis or Port Napoleon

Central to Provence (Rhône – Petit Rhône)

Editions du Breil : 18 – Rhone

River Saône included in Breil guide 03 – Petit Rhone and Rhone à Sete in Breil guide 07

River Rhone – Petit Rhone – Canal de Bacarin (Arles) – Canal St Louis

Breil A4 format pilot book (chart-guide) with detailed canal/river information including locks, bridges, depths, moorings, towns and villages and facilities.

2016 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

19.50€

South and South-West – Languedoc, Aquitaine, Gascony

Editions du Breil : 07 – Midi (Entre des Mers) Canals

Petit Rhône – Rhône a Sete – Lez – Etang de Thau – Canal du Midi – Canal de Jonction/de la Robine.

The southern canal network from the Rhone through to Toulouse. Including the Mediterranean canal ports of Grau du Roi, Grau d’Agde, Sete/Frontignan and Port la Nouvelle. Plus the side branch canals (but not the Garonne, Lot or Baise). Breil A4 format pilot book (chart-guide) with detailed canal/river information including locks, bridges, depths, moorings, towns and villages and facilities.

2016 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

19.50€

Editions du Breil : 12 – Aquitaine

River Garonne – Canal de Garonne – River Baise – River Lot (lower)

The Garonne/canal from Bordeaux to Toulouse, including the side branch rivers Baise and (lower) Lot, the Canal de Montech to Montauban and the River Tarn at Moissac. Breil A4 format pilot book (chart-guide) with detailed canal/river information including locks, bridges, depths, moorings, towns and villages and facilities.

2014 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

19.50€

West – Dordogne, Charente, Sevre-Niotaise, Loire, Brittany

Editions du Breil : 16 – Gironde

Gironde – Dordogne – L’Isle

The Atlantic Gironde estuary from the sea to Bordeaux, with the River Garonne to Castets-en-Dorthe, also including the navigable lower sections of the Rivers Dordogne (to Gardonne) and l’Isle (to Coutras). Breil A4 format pilot book (chart-guide) with detailed canal/river information including locks, bridges, depths, moorings, towns and villages and facilities.

2016 edition. Eng/Fr/De.

19.50€