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10 license-free boat cruises on the canals and rivers of France

10 license-free boat cruises on the canals and rivers of France

You want calm for your holidays while enjoying splendid landscapes. You also want to relax, cut all ties with your daily life and visit fantastic places. France is a country that can bring you everything you expect. If you also need an atypical vacation, then go on a river cruise as a couple, with family or friends. You will discover our country differently by taking the waterways of France without needing a river permit . Here's how you can board and visit at least ten locations on an intimate cruise.

How can you go on a cruise and drive a boat without a licence?

If you do not have a license to drive a boat in inland water, be aware that the boat rental company allows you to escape for one or more weeks over the water on one of its boats whose length goes up to 15 meters . Indeed, he must provide you with a short two-hour training before your departure to show you the basics of navigating the canals and rivers of France and you can leave afterwards, immediately. He is the guarantor for you with the competent authorities. Once this formality has been completed, you will be able to discover one of the ten river destinations aboard your boat without a license. Here are the most spectacular.

1 - The Lateral Canal of the Garonne

The Lateral Canal of the Garonne part of Castets-en-Dorthe and joins the Canal du Midi in Toulouse . This rather wild part is navigable throughout the work. You can rent a boat or a barge to spend time admiring the Garonne which you will follow for a long time. You will also pass over the Agen aqueduct bridge crossing the Garonne. Take the time to live and you will certainly see kingfishers flying over the water to accompany you. Depending on the season you rent your boat, you may also see water irises in bloom, many families of ducks or swans with their young. You will also come across water turtles and other animals living on the banks. At Castelsarrasin , you can park in a very pretty port and visit this pretty pink city. Take the opportunity to taste regional products such as a good Cassoulet accompanied by a local wine.

2 - the fuck

From the Lateral Canal of the Garonne , you can sail on the Rivière Baïse . It crosses magnificent landscapes and takes you to the superb city of Condom . This sailing spot is perfect for picnics in a peaceful, shady spot. If you are a lover of good food, this tour is perfect for discovering the gastronomy of Aquitaine . Enjoy dishes in sauce, mushrooms, game and regional cheeses accompanied by a succulent Bordeaux wine. At Nerac , you can visit the Château du Hamel dating from the twelfth century. Finally, end your meal with a famous apple tourtière and let yourself be tempted by a small Armagnac to digest well before going to take a well-deserved nap.

3 - the Canal du Midi

The Canal du Midi is an emblematic work designed and built by Pierre-Paul Riquet . This waterway allows you to cross sublime landscapes and villages in the south of France. Meandering between Corbières and Minervois to Etang de Thau from Toulouse , it will offer you the shade of its giant plane trees when you sail aboard your barge. You can moor in one of the small ports that you will find during your navigation. On site, you will discover many picturesque villages while being able to visit the medieval city of Carcassonne , the Apia de Narbonne route and its cathedral if you go to the Canal de la Robine or the pink city that is Toulouse . In Béziers, you will pass over the remarkable structure of the 9 locks of Fonseranes descending or ascending impressive amounts of water to navigate you in one direction or the other.

4 - The Batch

If you choose to sail on the Lo t, you will admire the chalky cliffs impressive plunging to the edges of the river. You can discover one of the most beautiful villages in France in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie . You will pass over remarkable aqueducts and locks on board your barge without a permit. You will come across golden otters playing along the banks or golden eagles flying up the cliffs. This cruise is ideal for lovers of nature and old stones. Take the opportunity to board bicycles that you will rent at your departure base to see nearby places not to be missed.

5 - The Nivernais

The Nivernais Canal is a magical place to discover France differently. You will have the chance to visit medieval villages . The Canal du Nivernais is certainly the most beautiful canal in our country with the Canal du Midi. It will make you discover the valleys of Yonne, Alnain and Aron . The time of your cruise, you will spend in tunnels and on the aqueducts of La Collancell e, marvelous works of art and will thus be able to reach the Yonne at Auxerre . If you have time, you can extend your cruise on the Yonne River and the Canal Latéral à la Loire.

6 - the Burgundy Canal

The Burgundy Canal is one of the most famous regions of river tourism in our country. You can navigate at your own pace while discovering prestigious monuments such as abbeys and castles accessible on foot or by bike. The towpath is also a wonderful place to walk. Traveling along the water on the Canal de Bourgogne also means discovering our history, our gastronomy in the heart of France.

7 - the Canal du Rhône à Sète

The Canal du Rhône in Sète is an easy navigation aimed more at people who appreciate the sun and the heat. You will cross large lagoons and can admire pink flamingos, and come across Camargue horses . You will have the opportunity to visit the magnificent city of Aigues-Mortes and admire its ramparts and its city in the historic center impressive. Rent bikes and you can reach sandy beaches where you can swim. You will also have the opportunity to discover the gardians and bullfighting . Do not forget to taste oysters from Bouzigues on the Etang de Thau accompanied by a very fresh Costières de Nîmes .

8 - Alsace and Lorraine

Take a river cruise between Alsace and Lorraine in the summer, discover marvels of architecture within an authentic nature. You reach it by two waterways which are the Canal de la Marne and the Canal des Houillères de la Sarre . Admire the half-timbered houses , go for a swim in nearby lakes, have a refreshing drink on the terrace of one of the charming village cafés, discover impressive castles and a whole historical heritage. If you plan to go as far as Saarbrücken , do not forget to buy a compulsory navigation license on the Luxembourg and German routes .

9 - the canals of Brittany

You know Brittany by the sea, but certainly not by the canals. It's time to embark on the Canal d'Ille-et-Rance, on the Canal de Nantes à Brest or on the Vilaine . Choose your journey according to the small picturesque villages with granite houses that you want to discover. If you take the Nantes to Brest Canal, you will discover the superb Château de Josselin or the Château de la Groulais in Blain . Above all, take the time to visit Nantes and its historic heart .

10 - Cruise on the Charente

Many people do not choose the cruise on the Charente in first intention and yet, this pretty river hides an astonishing landscape and picturesque towns. It also meanders through prestigious vineyards. You can also come across many castles each one more beautiful than the other. Make stops in Angoulême, Saintes and Cognac . These towns are worth visiting. This destination is one of the most relaxing, as it is less frequented by tourists than the others.

If you rent one of the barges offered by several rental companies, you can also rent bicycles, a parasol or even a barbecue . These accessories are not included in the initial rental, but are very useful to provide you with great services to spend an even more pleasant holiday.