Waterways Charts, Guides and Pilot Books

These are the key publications that you’ll need for exploring, or travelling through, the waterways, rivers and canals.

There are three series of chart-guides that cover the network. Each provides a map of the subject river or canal, kilometre by kilometre, with information (in French, English and German) about locks (width, rise, number of chambers), bridges (air draft), depths, towns and villages; and moorings. Whilst it is possible to travel using just a waterways system map (see below) plus the various navigational signs that warn, instruct, or provide information we think it is preferable to have better information to hand. All that said, all these guides are less than perfect; they could not be otherwise, covering thousands of kilometres of waterway containing features that change from year to year. So, there are inevitably a few mistakes and a few things missed in these publications.

For other books and guides (equally interesting, but perhaps not quite as vital) see our Waterways Books page. And see the range of waterways eBooks and Eurocanals planning eGuides.

Tip: Use a clear plastic top-cut wallet, larger than A4 size, to keep the chart-guide in that you’re using. Keeps it dry when it rains and also keeps the book open at the right page for your current position.

The newer publisher, based in Castelnaudary on the Canal du Midi. These A4 format chart-guides have been very carefully thought-through, by someone who knows the waterways and knows how to provide and lay out information, in colour, clearly and professionally. The series is not yet quite complete – there are some gaps that include the River Seine and the northern canals from Calais and Dunkerque – but its coverage is nonetheless extensive, with a very complete set of publications.

Information about the complete range of Breil Pilot Books and Maps,available through us at competitive prices

The original narrow-format chart-guides. Very comprehensive coverage of all the French waterways. Because of their long publishing history Fluviacartes (the new name for Navicartes) have lots of useful detail that has been built up over the years, however they are also (by the same token) prone to have detail that has changed. Compared to Editions du Breil the layout and style in a few legacy editions is dated and less attractive. But they are the benchmark that other guides are judged by.

Information about the complete range of Fluviacarte Pilot Books and Maps, available through us at competitive prices

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.

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17.00€ discount     40.00€ + P&P

Inland Waterways of France book – David Edwards-May (Imray)

Inland Waterways of France

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. The introduction forms a complete general guide to the French waterways, including distances and overall dimensions, formalities, navigation regulations and up-to-date list of hire operators, making inland waterways of France not just an unrivalled planning tool but also an outstanding cruising reference.

Revised 2010 – Full-colour. Contact us for special (e.g recorded, insured) delivery services

42.50€ + 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.

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14.50 € + P&P

The best – award-winning – descriptive guide to the varied network of rivers and canals that penetrate almost every region of France. It provides information on the history, architecture, engineering structures, chateaux, historical sites and scenic attractions of each navigation, enabling the reader to identify areas of great beauty and interest. Maximum craft dimensions are provided together with details of bankside moorings, repair yards, shops, restaurants, fuel and water points and appropriate map and guides for each section. This edition includes all recently restored navigations and explains newly introduced licensing and personal qualification requirements.

Further information about Cruising French Waterways and order  

Inland Waterways of Europe – Map – 5th Edition – Larger Scale

Inland Waterways Rivers and Canals of Europe map


An extremely interesting and useful map, covering all the navigable canals and rivers of Europe from Ireland in the west to Russia in the east. On one side the map covers Dublin to the Danube (Bratislava); on the other the whole of Europe including Scandinavia through to the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. On high quality paper.
Complete 60 page Gazetteer Directory

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24.00€ + P&P

Les Voies Navigables de l’Europe – Carte – 5eme édition


Une carte très intéressante et utile, couvrant tout le réseau fluvial européen depuis l’Irlande et le Portugal jusqu’à la partie européenne de la Russie (mer Noire et mer Caspienne), incluant la Scandinavie. Au verso, une carte plus détaillée couvre la partie la plus dense du réseau depuis Dublin jusqu’au au Danube (Bratislava); papier de haute qualité. La carte montre le réseau français avec une précision remarquable à cette échelle.
Voies Navigables d’Europe – Notice descriptive de 64 pages en français – 3e édition

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24.00€ + P&P

Karte der Wasserstraßen Europa – 2. Ausgabe


Eine äußerst interessante und nützliche Karte, die alle schiffbaren Flüsse und Kanäle von Europa aus Irland im Westen bis Russland im Osten. Auf der einen Seite der Karte deckt Dublin zur Donau (Bratislava); auf der anderen Seite ganz Europa einschließlich Skandinavien bis zum Schwarzen Meer und dem Kaspischen Meer. Auf hochwertigem Papier.

Ausführliches Booklet, 64 Seiten

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26.00€ + P&P

From Sea to Sea – Tom Rolt

The Canal du Midi was built in just 15 years, from 1666 to 1681, to provide an inland water route through Southern France between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Tom Rolt describes how this extraordinary engineering achievement was inspired and led by Pierre Paul Riquet, a provincial tax collector, how he won the support of Louis XIV, and how he overcame formidable technical, economic and social problems which threatened to stop the works.

Rolt was a contemporary founder of the movement which successfully campaigned for preservation of Britain’s waterways heritage, and his writings have won a wide following. This historical guide, first published in 1973, bears the stamp of his unique combination of in-depth knowledge and almost poetic sensitivity.

David Edwards-May, author of Inland Waterways of France and Practical Navigation editor for this website, has brought the story up to date with a postscript and added maps, plans and drawings to make the book also a valuable companion for tourists discovering the canal.

” . . . A rare and interesting description of the Canal du Midi in France . . . “

Revised 2010 – 246 pages, photographs, drawings and maps – Contact us for special (e.g recorded, insured) delivery services

Special Offer Price 10.00€ + P&P