Cruises on France’s canals are more and more popular with those who are fond of nature and looking to explore authentic France. Discovering France on a canal barge lets you discover a diverse heritage while taking in the landscape. Nothing compares with embarking on the most modern barges in Europe, kicking back and letting yourself be blown away by the unique experience! On all of CE canal barges, you can enjoy a cocktail on the main deck sitting a jacuzzi while sailing to the next stopover, or make the most of the free bikes to ride on the paths alongside the French canals. Here is a list of France’s most beautiful canals – a chance for you to brush up on your French geography!
The Canal Latéral à la Loire is 121 miles long and flows from the town of Digoin to the small town of Briare. It starts in the Bourgogne region all the way to the Canal de Briare in the region called Centre-Val de Loire. The fascinating canal bridge of Briare with its imposing metal frame, spanning the Loire river, was created by Gustave Eiffel, who also designed the famous Eiffel Tower.
The CE highlight: cruise on board the MS Déborah, the latest addition to CE’s canal barge fleet.
The Burgundy Canal or Canal de Bourgogne in French is 150 miles long, connecting the Seine region with the Rhone area between Migennes and Saint-Jean-de-Losne. This canal has many locks and offers a wonderful voyage shaded by refreshing, lush tall trees lined up all the way to the Dijon region. The canal du Rhone au Rhin connects the Saone river, a tributary of the Rhone and the Rhine, through the wonderful Doubs Valley. The Doubs river is sailed on 200 km of its entire length, winding through wonderfully wild natural sites. It is the only French river flowing through a landscape reminiscent of the mountains with rocky walls and ravins.
The CE hightlight: sailing through the Bourgogne wine road.
The Canal du Rhone a Sete connects the Rhone river in Beaucaire with the Thau bassin in Sete. The canal is about 98 km long and lets you explore a wide range of natural fauna as you pass by people fishing along the bank. After the Thau bassin, it extends to the Canal du Midi.
The CE highlight: discover the Camargue tradition of bull raising.
The Canal de la Marne au Rhin is 312 km long and connects the Marne river in Vitry le Francois to the Rhine in Strasbourg. It flows through the Voges and the Saverne montains. It is a fairly narrow canal famous for the Plan Incline de Saint Louis Arzwiller, unique in Europe pulling boats from one side of the cliff to the other.
The CE highlight: candle-lit lunch while passing through the tunnels of Arzwiller and Niderviller.
The Canal Lateral de la Marne connects with the Marne river in Vitry le Francois to Dizy. It is only 67 km long and has 15 locks. The cruise includes stopovers in Chalon en Champagne and Epernay. It is located in Champagne and has many wonderful relaxing and welcoming stopovers.
The CEe highlight: Brie de Meaux cheesemaking and fine champagne.