Rental boats offer wonderful, relaxing holidays on the extensive network of waterways throughout France and other parts of Europe.
Whether you love ‘messing about in boats’, or want a floating base from which to explore, rental boats provide accommodation and transportation in one neat package. They’re fun for all ages and no licence is required, so everyone can take the wheel, plus there are depots throughout France, offering one way as well as return cruises.
We’ve been on most of the French canals, so please use our 30 years’ experience and extensive knowledge of the waterways to plan your perfect getaway. As we are not tied to one or two suppliers, we will find you the best boat on the best route for your holiday afloat. Rental boats come in all shapes and sizes; traditional houseboats, stylish cruisers and steel-hulled mini-barges. They sleep from two to twelve people and are fully equipped, so all you need to bring is food and drink, a camera, a good book and perhaps a fishing rod!
On arrival at the depot you will be taken over your boat and after a short practical lesson you’ll embark on your personal voyage of exploration. Navigate at your own pace and choose your own mooring each night. A canal chart provides a clear map of the waterway and vital information on replenishing water tanks, larder and cellar. Bicycles give you the freedom to search out fresh croissants for breakfast and to explore the countryside. Moor overnight in a tranquil country spot, or tie up at a village quay and try a local restaurant or picnic on goodies from the market.
WHERE TO GO? All the waterways have their attractions, but our favourite canals are in Burgundy, closely followed by Alsace and Brittany. They all offer beautiful scenery, pretty villages, good food & wine (cider in Brittany) and these canals don’t get too crowded in summer. Canals are preferable to rivers, because you go slower and can stop almost anywhere. There are lots of villages and services within walking distance, you’ll meet lock-keepers and you can practise your French. The tow path is for walking, cycling and barbecues and, usually, there are no commercial barges apart from the occasional hotel barge. But there are also some lovely river cruises and we particularly like the Charente and the Baise rivers in south-west France and the tiny Seille river in Burgundy which runs from Louhans to the Saone river.
- LE BOAT are part of Traveltopia and are the largest rental boat operator in Europe, with extensive resources ensuring regular upgrading and replacing of their boats. They offer a wide selection of cruiser style boats with flying bridges and sundecks and have lots of well positioned bases with one way cruise options. CLICK HERE to see some of our favourite boats and routes, or go to their WEBSITE or CONTACT US for a brochure & more information.
- FRANCE AFLOAT is a small owner-operator with boats in the Burgundy and Midi regions. They offer the spacious Euroclassic steel-hulled mini-barges and the beautiful Dutch-built, Linssen steel-hulled boats. CLICK HERE to see some of our favourite boats and routes, or CONTACT US for a brochure & more information.
- LOCABOAT are the creators of the Penichette; a fibreglass ‘houseboat’ in the style of a traditional barge (peniche in French). They offer cruises throughout France and Europe with a fleet of 380 boats,including 3 models of Penichettes, the cruiser-style Europa boats and the Linssen Grand Sturdy, which is available in Burgundy, Loire and Ireland. CLICK HERE to see some of our favourite boats and routes, or CONTACT US for a brochure & more information.
- NICOLS is a French company building their own cruiser-style boats that are available throughout France and in Germany and Portugal. CLICK HERE to see some of our favourite boats and routes, or CONTACT US for a brochure & more information.
- FRANCE PASSION PLAISANCE (FPP) is a French company offering a diverse fleet of boats from 38 bases throughout France and Europe. They also manufacture the Tarpon range of boats from its home base in Burgundy. CLICK HERE to see some of our favourite boats and routes, or CONTACT US for a brochure & more information.