Canal Cruising is a great way to visit some of the quieter corners of France. Accommodating a maximum of 22 passengers, these intimate barges have a private feel. Sail by picturesque landscapes, exploring fascinating cities and sleepy towns – all while enjoying world-class French food and wine. Canal barges can be perfect for couples, on a romantic getaway with like-minded travelers. They can also be chartered in full, for families or friends to have exclusive use of the vessel on a week-long adventure. We’ll explore five regions that are perfect for French Canal Cruising.
The Alsace region is located in northeastern France, bordering Germany and Switzerland. The Alsace is rich in history which has shaped its identity, making this corner of the world completely unique. The Marne-Rhine will lead you on a journey from the European Capital of Strasbourg through the Alsace region, exploring towns that make this region what it is today such as Saverne and its charming Place de la Licorne (Place of the Unicorn), and Wingersheim, the hops capital, to see the plant responsible for the bitter flavors in beer. A climb to the Château du Haut-Barr, first built in 1100, will reward you with a picturesque view over the Alsatian Plains.
The historical Burgundy region is located in eastern central France. Begin your cruise from the city of Dijon, home of the famous mustard – but also a lively city of its own. The region is also well known for Burgundy wines such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chablis and Beaujolais. On board your cruise, you’ll enjoy unlimited wine and daily cheese tastings, including flavours local to the region. Off the ship, travel the Grand Crus wine route, and see how and where these wines are made. Take a walk through the picturesque town of Dole, following the “Trail of the Perched Cat,” and see where Louis Pasteur was born.
Starting in Paris, the Canal Barge Raymonde will take you from the City of Light to the French countryside over a week-long cruise. The region is famous for the production of Champagne – and you’ll have reason to celebrate on this cruise. On the way, stop in the city of Meaux to taste the “King of Cheese” – French Brie named for the city. In Epernay, visit one of the many Champagne houses to see how it is made, and raise a glass to your journey.
The longest river in France, the Loire runs into the Atlantic Ocean just past Nantes, but not before passing some of the most remarkable chateaux in the country. Further up the river, a magical region awaits to delight your senses. Cruises from Briare to Nevers explore the heart of France, where few tourists ever get to explore. Visit the Sancerre wine region, and see some of the most remarkable architecture the country has to offer.
Provence and the Languedoc
Along the southern Coast, the Canal d’Or (Canal of Gold) will take you from Provence into the Languedoc, along the Mediterranean Sea. Taste oysters fresh from the sea, take a stroll on medieval ramparts in Aigues-Mortes and see the lavender fields in full bloom. The southern coast was made for cruising – with sunny days and cool nights on the water.
CroisiEurope’s Canal Cruises begin at $3,200 per person, all inclusive for a 7 day itinerary. Private charters are available for family or friend groups – the perfect way to experience France in a private setting.
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