France is the world’s most popular tourist destination and waterway tourism – enjoying the 8,500km network of navigable rivers and canals – occupies a significant and steadily growing niche in this picture. A niche that supports 11 000 jobs and that is worth 900 million euros to the country each year.

It's not really surprising . . . 

Travelling the inland waterways - in one’s own boat, on a self-drive hire boat, aboard a luxury hotel barge or as a small ship river cruise passenger – is without doubt one of the best ways to see the very best of France. Each year nearly half a million people, 70% of whom are visitors to France, cruise peacefully and memorably through delightful countryside, small villages, historic towns and world renowned cities.

They experience the very essence of France and in the process hundreds of thousands of tourists become enthusiastic ambassadors for the French holiday and vacation experience.

The Options

  • Hire Boats
    120 000 guests enjoy a self-drive boating holiday, hiring one of a fleet of more than 1 250 boats that are available from over 80 bases located throughout France. No licence is required and boat-handling tuition is provided before setting off.
  • Hotel Barges
    10 000 guests charter one of France’s 70 hotel barges – that cruise the canal network in different levels of luxury and comfort and which vary in size from two cabins up to more than twenty. This is a very special experience, akin to voyaging in one’s own private motor yacht and with service and cuisine to match. France is almost unique in offering this type and style of holiday.
  • River Cruises
    200 000 guests travel the major French rivers – Seine, Saone, Rhone and Garonne – for between four and seven days aboard a river cruise ship. Significantly smaller than their ocean-going sisters, each of the 30 vessels carries between just 100 and 150 passengers, with a high degree of personal service, in sedate style and able to tie up right in the centre of such unforgettable cities as Rouen, Paris, Lyon, Avignon or Bordeaux.