Here’s where to start: Barge Lady Cruises represents 50 owner-operated barge cruises in eight countries—France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, England, and Scotland. “We’re almost not river cruising, if that makes sense.” The small company offers a niche product with growing demand. Too bad it's no longer available. The Canal du Nivernais passes through many wine-producing villages such as Irancy. Then you will cruise towards Nemours, Ferrières, Château-Landon and Moret-sur- Loing, town of famous English painter Sisley. Cruising the canals is generally safe, but any time you have a combination of boats, machinery, and water, there are of course opportunities for accidents to occur. It’s no wonder barge trips are starting to become a popular alternative to river cruises. All the richness and diversity of France are embodied in the 80 navigable rivers and canals that are presented on these pages, with descriptions and practical information for planning cruises. Register This event is open to Members and their guests. On your way back, you’ll be amazed by the huge and powerful boat lift of Arzwiller which replaces 17 locks! Linking the Yonne to the River Saône, the Canal de Bourgogne built between 1775 and 1834 is lined with plan trees and buildings ranging from abbeys to fortified farmhouses. European Waterways Ltd, which has a Web site at GoBarging.com, is among the largest (and is certainly one of the most experienced) operators of hotel barges in Europe.The company's first barge, the Anjodi, began cruising in the early 1980s, and its owner--a former yacht captain named Derek Banks--now presides over a fleet of luxury hotel barges in eight countries. World-class cycling and deep history are other draws in France. These canal cruisers are the most modern in Europe, and designed for intimate, relaxing cruising. A handful of companies handle most bookings on European canals, either providing their own boats or coordinating with owner-operated barges. Early spring, when we went, the canals … Vezelay, starting point of the pilgrimage to Compostela is not far. Cruising along Europe’s historic waterways in Spring, Summer, and Autumn provides an authentic link with past and present cultures and with Nature at an unhurried vacation pace. The 80km cruise in Lot valley offers a spectacular scenery combined with medieval villages like Clairac and Castelmoron, Villeneuve-sur-Lot and Penne-d'Agenais. Several routes are available: You could cruise south towards Redon and Nantes, north following the Vilaine River toward Rennes and Dinan and for the most adventurous head west and climb the numerous locks into the heart of Brittany to Pontivy. Here’s where to start: Booking a European barge cruise might take some planning, but that investment pays off with a vacation that’s blissfully free of hotel reservations and train schedules. Cruising the Burgundy canals with European Waterways was an amazing experience. Sail along the Canal du Centre and enjoy world-famous wine producing villages such as Mercurey, Santenay and Montrachet. European barge cruises Embark one of our 6 luxury barges for a cruise on France’s Canals in 2021. NOTE: In the late 19th many canals were re-engineered to provide standardised dimensions including a depth of 2.20m and with locks 39.00m long by 5.20m wide, in order to accommodate barges 38.50m x 5.05m x 1.80m draught (the so-called ‘Freycinet’ standard). You will visit Vianne, Lavardac, Nérac, the Cistercian Abbey of Flaran and Valence-sur-Baïse. >>Next: A Cycling Cruise Will Change the Way You Experience Europe, All Travelers to U.S. Will Need to Quarantine and Show Negative COVID Test Result, Americans Have Traveled to Mexico Throughout COVID, California’s Lockdown: What Travelers Need to Know, Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips, How to Earn, Redeem, and Maximize Marriott Bonvoy Points, Paris’s Rodin Museum Sculpture Garden Reopens to Public, The Thoughtful Traveler’s Guide to Indigenous Tourism. That said, European Waterways is the largest hotel barge company in Europe. The River Saône with only few locks, offers a comfortable cruise through rural scenery. Cruising on canals differs from river cruises in several ways. It’s a favorite for a reason. The region's reputation for fine food and wine adds to the delights of a cruise here. 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