Leaving Paris, the plaisancier enters the ‘core network’ of French waterways, with three main routes across the Atlantic-Mediterranean watershed. For many, the central French canal system is the ultimate destination, ideal for a lifetime of cruising experiences and immersion in French culture, traditions and gastronomy. We have always felt the same about this region, so as we continue on our hypothetical journey north to south, we invite you to fully explore this 1600km network of navigable rivers and canals. Soak up and enjoy the best of rural France, and many delightful small and medium-sized towns, and the Burgundy region capital of Dijon.

Including in the whole of the ‘Champagne’ route means starting this region in Paris, where the left turn into the river Marne is only 5km upstream from the Paris-Arsenal marina. The other itineraries follow the upper river Seine (Petite Seine) to the confluence towns of Saint-Mammès and Montereau. The Canal du Nivernais crosses from the Burgundy to the Bourbonnais route, also offering the shortest possible circular cruise in the region. The excursion to Roanne is recommended.

The Canal d’Orléans is not available to private boats, while the Cher and Canal du Berry are included for reference, as they are isolated from the main network.

Rivers and Canals of Loire Valley, Burgundy and Marne


Click on the list (right) to open information pages for each river and canal in this region, including navigation guides, books and PDF downloads.

This regional group of waterway Cruising in Detail guides can also be downloaded as one complete set.

Region Set PDF Download

Central France

waterway navigation guide download

Complete central waterways – Marne, Loire Valley, Nivernais, Burgundy etc – in detail.

Region set : 25€

Each waterway page has been compiled and edited by David Edwards-May (waterways consultant and author of ‘Inland Waterways of France) and Jenny Ruff, and founded on the extensive 7,000km of personal experience of the french-waterways.com team since 2003.