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Old 22-12-2014, 09:36   #16
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Sorry no. :-(

Take a look at this site:Navigable waterways - Fluviacarte. We rarely did more than 20 km/day and generally much less. Figure your speed at 5km/hr and see where that gets you. You definitely want to spend a day or two in one place at a few points along the trip .

As for reviews of LeBoat, if you are comfortable with the "you get what you pay for" maxim, you will be fine. We've chartered some of their old boats and they've been fine; like a second of third tier charter (and who really needs onshore power?). We also had a newer one and it was great. Just too much of stuff we didn't want/need at too high a cost. So I prefer the cheaper boats: more money for wine. As I mentioned in the other post, there are a few boats out there worth drooling over if you have the money.

I'm not sure what the complaints were, but we've had base operators drive us to the grocery store rather than see us walk, shuttles us 10 km to the train station when we couldn't get a cab, deliver us a new bike halfway through the trip... service has always been great.

Here is the contact info for the lady I've dealt with at Le Boat. There is a discount if you book online but dropping her an email with any specific questions was always helpful.

Debbie.petermann@leboat.com
Toll Free: 1-800-992-0291
Direct: 727-437-5339
Boating Vacations, canal boat hire & river cruising breaks | Leboat
93 N. Park Place Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33759

Just to wet your whistle, here is an album of images from our three trips. Canal Boating in France

And yes, I am so totally a Canal boating France fanboy. Even my friends mock me about it... But who can resist the wine, the churches and the baguettes...
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Old 22-12-2014, 10:59   #17
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Thanks for the contact and pics.

I couldn't see anything wrong with the boats you rented. They look like they have all the comforts required.

My boat is a 1966 consul 26 that was built in Norway. She is 26 ft long and has 10ft beam at midship powered with twin v6 gas engines. I prefer functionality over pretty. Now to me my boat is beautiful but to others its not worth a dime, I'm not a fan of new boat construction and I prefer the European style over north American.

The style and year of the boats that leboat rent are in my view more than adequate for a charter, the reviews I thought were pretty petty but I had to ask.

I will be contacting them in the new year

Rob
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Old 22-12-2014, 11:26   #18
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Hello Rob,
Yes I've cruised the Saone and it's lovely river, Chalon Sur Saone is worth a couple of days sightseeing and for the weekly market of course, downriver and up into the Seille nice and if you go past Branges to the next town it's famous for it's colourful glazed roof tiles as well as an unmissable weekly farmers market as only the French do, beware if you buy a chicken as it may have the feathers on and give you eggs if you don't put it in the pot.
Look around for a cave (carve) which only sells wine and ask for a degustation (tasting) to choose your favourite tipple, if you have a clean empty plastic water bottles take them with you as they will fill it for you, just like getting gas for your car.
As Bruce has said you get what you pay for when you hire a boat but generally they are well maintained, a lot depends on the manager and his staff of course at the various marina's.
Remember though that the Saone is a commercial river also and commercial barges take priority over private/hire boats.
The locals will appreciate it if you have at least basic etiquettes in French.
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Old 22-12-2014, 19:06   #19
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish rambler View Post
The locals will appreciate it if you have at least basic etiquettes in French.
That's an excellent point, Irishman! And I'd like to add one little thing: No matter how limited your French is, when you first meet a Frenchman (or woman), swallow your pride and try to use it. If they smile (which they probably will), it's only because you've just shown them that their English is better (which it often is), and they'll be more prone to use it with you, be it out of pride or pity (who cares).

Jacques
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Old 30-12-2014, 21:04   #20
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Hello Rob,
Now you've chosen your holiday I would contact the local 'Syndicate Initiative' ( tourist office) in the towns along your route, Google it and then ask them for a programme of activities, if they send it online Google translate it.
You can then choose your holiday time to coincide with any fete's and activities you prefer.
If you turn left out of the hire boat base at Branges the short canal run will take you to a very pretty town with patterned glazed tile roofs and a fabulous weekly market to get you in the mood.
Macon and Chalon sur Saone are well worth visiting, there's a supermarket just 200 metres from the marina in Chalon and marbled pedestrian streets and a fine example of 'Trompe le oeil' art (meaning to deceive the eye).
In respect of speaking French you will find that they feel just as embarrassed as you when they speak English as it's as strange to them as the French is to you, they find anything with th sound difficult as in French it's impolite to show your tongue when speaking and they have no words with that sound.
Bear in mind that the river Saone is a commercial river and working boats always take preference.
If you Google search Navicarte, France or Editions du breil, Castlenaudary, France you can get Waterways guides from them.
I hope this is helpful.
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Old 01-01-2015, 20:02   #21
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Hi Rob
I was sailing the river Saone several times up and down. It depends what you mean under spring time. April is often definitely too early as once the temperature was well below 10 C or 50 F. Often a sometimes very cold wind is blowing in April up through the Valley. From mid May onwards its much better, but it may be it was or is rainy period and the river is flooding so much that you may think sailing a big river of the Americas (sailing up river Saone by 3rd week of May 1977) as on the river Saone is not much current.
So I would recommend you to google the times of schoolholidays in France and to book outside these holidays by end of May until mid to end of June.

The River and the old villages and cities are charming you can visit buildings from the middle age and you can anchor in the dead arms of the river surrounded with nothing but nature.

James
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Old 01-01-2015, 22:46   #22
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Following on from onavegador's post.
I think it's pretty much the same wherever you go as regards holiday pricing during school holidays, just a wee 'heads up', it's France of course they do things differently, some regions stagger the school holidays, I think the idea is that it prolongs the various destinations holiday traffic, stops overloading and makes more money for the traders.
In general the French don't travel far outside of France because, ze forrin piple zey don spik French an ze cookeeng is orribla et lay von, Mon Duei ! ! ! Pardon pour la extract le Pi pi.
The wind from the South comes up the Rhone valley and can be influenced by the nearby Alps which can have a cooling effect.
The current on the Saone is normal large river and predictable, the weather can be tracked through meteo.fr or the UK site meteoffice.gov.uk both will give you a visual isobar picture of European weather which will give you the info you need.
Above all, chill out, take it easy and enjoy.
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Old 04-01-2015, 20:47   #23
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Geoff (Irish Rambler),

I've been doing a bunch of research/reading while I wait to see what the future holds. Even read a blog of a couple who based out of Port de l'Arsenal in Paris. Wouldn't that be grand. I have to say that something about cruising the canals really does seem to appeal to me.

Anyway, I was trying to figure out costs and suddenly remembered if I went with a power boat rather than a sailboat in the med that fuel would be a much bigger cost. Do you have an average figure, either monthly or annual you could throw out for basic budgeting purposes. I am talking just staying in the canals rather than heading out to sea. I realize its a bit of a variable but any starting point will help.

I was also looking for what kind of heater your boat had and if you thought it sufficient for liveaboard during winter.

Thanks
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Old 05-01-2015, 04:46   #24
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Hello,
You sure pop the difficult questions !
Fuel costs are variable and dependant on usage and difficult to pin down but the speed limit on the canal is 4.5 knots and that equates to 1.5 litres and hour, if you went out in the med in a sailboat you only have wind for around 3/4 hours and after that your on the iron sail.
Fuel here today is 1.08 per litre, it's also cheaper in winter(no tourists) so we fill up the boat over winter at the cheapest garage price, we carry 75 litres in cans as an emergency reserve, that is normally sufficient for our summers cruising.
As to the heating, all winter moorings provide 5kw of electric as part of the price and we use small fan heaters, we had an Eberspacher on board but when it was running it was noisy,burning fuel and caused condensation inside the boat so we stopped using it and it seized and then got scrapped as being useless.
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Old 05-01-2015, 05:11   #25
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
Geoff (Irish Rambler),

I've been doing a bunch of research/reading while I wait to see what the future holds. Even read a blog of a couple who based out of Port de l'Arsenal in Paris. Wouldn't that be grand. I have to say that something about cruising the canals really does seem to appeal to me.

Anyway, I was trying to figure out costs and suddenly remembered if I went with a power boat rather than a sailboat in the med that fuel would be a much bigger cost. Do you have an average figure, either monthly or annual you could throw out for basic budgeting purposes. I am talking just staying in the canals rather than heading out to sea. I realize its a bit of a variable but any starting point will help.

I was also looking for what kind of heater your boat had and if you thought it sufficient for liveaboard during winter.

Thanks
The way I see it, cruising the canals has more to do with "sightseeing" than "boating" per se. With a speed limit set at 4 MPH (statute), the ride in itself gets old real fast. The good part is that in doing so, the fuel cost stays pretty predictable, and you probably won't burn more than $10/hour of it while puttering along. In my opinion, the best "rides" for this kind of adventure are the old Dutch Luxmotor and Tjalk barges (80' max if you want to do the Canal du Midi). You never have too much room (especially head room).

If you're really on a budget and don't mind the smell of fries, you can even feed their small diesel with used vegetable oil obtained from the waterfront restaurants. It's a bit of a messy process, but it's basically free.

Some of the lock tenders also double as convenience stores. You can buy relatively cheap vegies and an occasional chicken from them while your boat goes up or down.

I don't see doing the French waterways (Canal du Midi included) in Winter. Between the fog, the cold, the closed-down venues and the dormant vegetation, they can get pretty dreary at times.

Jacques
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Old 05-01-2015, 19:48   #26
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Re: Cruise the French canals

Each boat type has it's own aficionado's and the canals are open all year round, the canal du Midi is closed from November to April, that said you can pass by giving 24 hrs notice providing the canal is not drained for maintenance. With 350 locks from Paris to here you won't be bored.
Buying old chip pan oil is a whole new can of worms as the acid in it will burn the tips of the injectors (I can give anyone a full technical description under 'propulsion).
As for running costs, 250 Euro for a year round unlimited permit, our boat does approx 18 miles to the gallon at a cost of approx. 5 euro's at todays prices., maintenance is negligible depending on the owner.
The problem with cost is that the VNF now charge by length and many of the English 70' narrow boats have gone and quite a few of the Dutch boats have moved back to Holland which is why there's a glut up for sale.
Buying is only part of the cost of owning a boat.
As I've said previously most people take a 6 month winter contract for mooring and use the boat as a base to go ski-ing, visiting other nearby countries, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain and Portugal. A friend of mine left yesterday for a months painting holiday in the Moroccan desert, it just down to family choice depending on the activities you like
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