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Old 24-02-2012, 08:12   #1
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Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

We're planning to take a little break in late summer / early fall and are thinking about doing the canals / rivers in the south of France. We're looking at Le Boat as a non-crewed charter and are hoping somebody on the board may have some experience with them. Right now a two-week du Midi trip is at the top of our list.

So, any input?
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Old 24-02-2012, 08:31   #2
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Re: Le Boat in France - canals/rivers

Cruising French Waterways, Rivers and Canals by Boat or Barge

This might give you some info
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Old 24-02-2012, 09:07   #3
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Re: Le Boat in France - canals/rivers

We rented on the Canal du Midi from Carcassone to Narbonne, one-way. It was a tremendous holiday and I can highly recommend it. We rented from Carousel (I think it was) and the boat was fine, not fancy, more like RV than yacht quality. We had a sort of flattened-down boat for two couples with a flying bridge for steering that was more pleasant than being inside and let you see better when going into locks. BTW, the locks do not have parallel sides - they are sort of arch-shaped which makes it a bit tougher. The flying bridge might be an issue if it was very hot since it does not have an awning - at some of the bridges you have to duck down to clear. You could use a golf umbrella if you could figure how to attache it. Enjoy.
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Old 24-02-2012, 18:59   #4
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Re: Le Boat in France - canals/rivers

Hi Daz,
We spent two months last year on the French waterways. Le Boat craft can be seen in a few locations and appeared to be well kept - perhaps even above average.
Enjoy.
John
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:03   #5
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

Thanks for the input guys. We're getting closer to booking our trip - It's looking like we're going to do a two-week bareboat on the Canal du Midi out of Narbonne.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:07   #6
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

DW,
It's been 14 years since I last charted a self-drive barge on the French Canals. We used Locaboat back then and the boats were well serviced and the company's Ports de Plaisance provided excellent support. Friends chartered with Locaboat again last year and said the quality and level of service were still first rate.
One thing to check on, when selecting a charter company, is the availability of a one-way charter. Most of the companies want their boats returned to the departure port, but some will allow a limited number of one-way charters. In 1995 we did a one-week charter on the Canal du Nivernais and were able to secure a one-way trip from Joigny to Chitry le Mines. We could not have gone that far on the canal if we had to turn around and take the boat back to Joigny. In 1998 we did another one week charter on the Canal du Midi, but had to bring the boat back to the Locaboat Port de Plaisance in Argens-Minervois. We still had a great time, but it was a bit anti-climatic to have to retrace our voyage during the last 2 days.
Given you have allocated two weeks for your trip, a return charter probably won't be that much of issue.

Here some links to those trips: Canal du Nivernais and Canal du Midi.

John
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:19   #7
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

Hiya, we have our boat moored at Narbonne and cruise the French canals and the Med.
As hireboats can be very expensive to rent, people in a family group, or form a syndicate to purchase a boat and then take holidays around the canals/Med by mutual arrangement, it's very popular with Americans, New Zealanders & Australians, some take one way cruises, other prefer just to bimble around the vineyards.
Le boat is the largest charter boat company but quite expensive in the high season.
We have a Birchwood 33 ft 4/6 berth centre cockpit motor cruiser for sale if anyone has any interest.
I will answer any questions you may have if it will help you in any way.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:36   #8
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

What is the deepest draft you can carry through the canals? Are their cruising guides available? Do you normally need to pay to tie up at night or are there places to stay for free? Any English language site with good overviews?

Thanks
-M
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:52   #9
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

Mambo, on non commercial canals there are varying quotes but 1.2 metres is fine. Yes there are ruising guides available. You can moor up on the canal bankside for free but if you go into a port/marina expect to pay from 5 euro's a night to 25 with electricity and water depending on where you visit. If you want an insight, Google 'How To Cruise Between Two Sea's' by Geoff Woolley.(The list of useful websites are at the rear).
I hope this is helpful to you.
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Old 31-10-2016, 07:59   #10
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

We are interested in a le boat charter next summer. Are there any favorite canals that can be shared?. We are interested in a one way trip. Thanks
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Old 31-10-2016, 08:16   #11
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

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We are interested in a le boat charter next summer. Are there any favorite canals that can be shared?. We are interested in a one way trip. Thanks
You might look at chartering from Le Boat in Gray on the River Petite Saone in Burgundy. Lovely cruising up the river as far as Corre and fewer locks to negotiate than on the canals.

However, one-way hire is unlikely. But if you cruise upriver it's downstream all the way back.

Canal cruising can, in comparison, sometimes get a bit boring, with long stretches through less attractive countryside. Don't forget they were created for industrial rather than leisure purposes and they're not all idyllic.

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Old 31-10-2016, 08:51   #12
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers



One advantage of the Canal du Midi is that it was built before the Industrial Revolution so it follows the contours of the land, lazily curving around the hills trying to stay at the same elevation. Industrial age canals tend to be more straight line since they had the technology to do so. Originally they planted many thousands of plane trees to protect the canal banks but many of them died of old age.The ones in this picture are much newer. The old ones meet over the canal and make a lovely canopy.
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Old 31-10-2016, 09:00   #13
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

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We are interested in a le boat charter next summer. Are there any favorite canals that can be shared?. We are interested in a one way trip. Thanks
If you were to change country to England then there a number of loops that can be completed in a weeks gentle cruising. There is a classic one that runs through Shakespeare's country.
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Old 31-10-2016, 09:32   #14
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

Hello Saleen 411.
You can indeed take a one way hire with Le Boat from either Port Cassifiere, Trebes or Beaucaire. the canal Du Midi can get very busy in the high season.


Ainia, Actually the plane trees (approx. 40,000 of them) were planted to anchor the banks, provide shade and stop evaporation due to the sun. the plane trees unfortunately contacted a disease and the affected ones are being cut down and replaced with a disease resistant variety. The canal du Midi has it's own special character, there are no commercial boats on the Midi.


Athene, Cor blimey ! a blast from the past, I've just been looking at a photo of your
boat up the slipway between tides in Lymington when you worked like a trojan scrubbing the bottom.
We hope that you and your lady wife are both in good health and spirits and enjoying life, we enjoyed your company when we visited and we send you all our best wishes.
I normally post of a sister site called Trawler forum, if you look at 'Voyagers and boaters on the go' then ' Ireland to the Mediterranean Part 1' you'll see your boat on there.
The European leg of our adventure is under 'Windmill and Wine' and on there are photo's of the Petit Saone.
We hope you enjoy it.
Take care my friend and may God be good to you.
The 2 Paddy families on 'Snow Mouse' & Cool Running's'
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Old 31-10-2016, 10:12   #15
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Re: Le Boat in France - Canals / Rivers

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Athene, Cor blimey ! a blast from the past, I've just been looking at a photo of your boat up the slipway between tides in Lymington when you worked like a trojan scrubbing the bottom.
Wrong Athene, I'm afraid. This is what ours looks like.

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