Canal Cruising in France

A canal cruise can be a truly personal and uplifting experience. Have you ever imagined spending quiet time watching a beautiful and unique countryside slowly drift by? How about adding gourmet meals prepared by your personal chef? How about getting off your barge, exploring a village – or a village meal – and meeting up with your ship at the next lock?

Cruising on a canal hotel barge adds the opportunity to enjoy the essence of small village culture and cuisine – not to mention the chance to visit many history-laden cities.

How about just simply “getting away from it all” for a few days? A canal cruise offers all this – and more.

There are literally hundreds of small boat operators with their own web sites – as well as agencies specially concerned with handling canal cruises. Many of these sites offer excellent advice and information and I won’t pretend to surpass their knowledge. I’ll simply provide the names of several.

France is the champion when it comes to barge cruises, with England a close second behind. France has about 5300 miles of canals for cruising and England is approaching 2500 miles.

Canal barges were the main freight haulers before the decline of that industry caused by the building of railroads. Many have been converted into really superbly outfitted floating hotels. The newer models were built specifically for luxury passenger usage.

These hotel barges usually carry from 4 to 20 passengers, with one carrying 50 people – or you can simply lease the entire boat to yourself, if you can afford it.

The barges in France are usually around 35 feet wide and 130 feet long. The locks determine the ultimate size of the vessels. They come fully crewed, almost to a fault, and every amenity is provided. All this, of course, comes with the price. Even all you can drink.

In France, (and England and Ireland as well) it’s possible to rent cabin cruisers (small yachts) for a do it yourself voyage. These boats can sleep from 2 to 10 passengers. In France, there are also boats called Penichettes, which look like miniature hotel barges, but fully manned and crewed by YOU.

If a quiet and relaxing cruise though a French canal on a barge “hotel” suits your fancy, there are many sites to choose from.

Aberchrombie and Kent, Afloat in France, Barges Throughout Europe, Circa Cruises, ewaterways, French Country Barges, le boat, Locaboat Holidays, Locaboat Penichettes, and Travel Points, are among many that have information on barging through the quiet, pleasant, and scenic canals of the French countryside.

If You want to get more traveling tips explore this blog, and get many travel tips from around the world.

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