I did the Kiel Canal and Sweden's Gota Canal, both with the mast up (and also NY's Erie Canal, mast down). I chose not to go south through France
- simply too much work for a single-hander.
There is a company that will transport masts, for instance from Germany
to the south of France
or vice-versa. This would make maneuvering easier and reduce the risk of mast damage.
There are several books
on cruising the canals - far more information than you can expect from a forum thread. There are web sites that also have information. It is imperative to check for current
information: opening times, scheduled maintenance
, depth, water levels, requirements, costs, etc. The situation does change.
It can be a lot of fun; it will be a fair amount of work but nothing extreme with crew and a modest pace.
First thing to do is buy some books
and start reading.