Take a slow holiday on a French canal

There are several regions of France that have navigable canals and rivers, a very pleasant way to explore the countryside and to enjoy the towns that are passed during the journey.

The most popular regions with visitors wanting to explore these French canals and rivers include:

RIVERS and CANALS, ALSACE:

Canal de la Marne au Rhin, Canal de l'Est, Canal des Houillères de la Sarre, Canal du Rhone au Rhin

Towns passed include:

- (along the Canal de la Marne au Rhin) Nancy, Toul, Einville, Lagarde, Gondrexange, Hesse, Lutzelbourg, Saverne, Strasbourg, Boofzheim

- (along the Canal des Houillères de la Sarre) Mittersheim, Sarralbe, Sarreguemines, Saarbrucken

Explore Alsace

RIVERS and CANALS, BRITTANY:

Canal de Nantes à Brest, L'Aulne, Vilaine and L'Erdre rivers and Canal d'Ile et Rance

Towns passed include:

- (along the Nantes-Brest canal) Chateaulin, Chateauneuf-du-Faou, Carhaix, Pontivy, Rohan, Josselin, Malestroit, Redon; Glenac

- (along the Erdre river, Vilaine River and Canal d'Ile et Rance) Nantes, Suce sur Erdre, Nort-sur-Erdre, Blain, Glenac, Messac, Point-Péan, Rennes, Dinan

Explore Brittany

RIVERS and CANALS, BURGUNDY:

Canal du Nivernais and Canal de Bourgogne

Towns passed include:

- (along the Canal du Nivernais) Joigny, Migennes, Brienon, Auxerre, Vincelles, Mailly-le-Chateau, Merry-sur-Yonne, Chatel-Censoir, Clamecy, Tannay, Sardy, Chatillon-en-Bazois, Cercy-la-Tour, Decize

- (along the Canal de Bourgogne) Brienon, Saint-Florentin, Tonnerre, Ancy-le-Franc, Montbard, Venarey-les-Laumes, Pouilly-en-Auxois, Pont d'Ouche, Dijon

Explore Burgundy

RIVERS and CANALS, ANJOU (WESTERN LOIRE):

Rivers La Mayenne, L'Oudon, La Mine, La Sarthe

Towns passed include:

- (along the Sarthe) Angers, Cheffes, Chateauneuf-sur-Sarthe, Sable-sur-Sarthe, Solesmes, Juigné, Parcé, Malicorne, Noyen, La Suze, Le Mans;

- (along the Mayenne) Grez-Neuville, Chateau Gontier, Neuville, Origné, Laval, Saint-Jean-sur-Mayenne, Mayenne

Explore Western Loire

RIVERS and CANALS, CHARENTE:

The Charente river between Angouleme and Rochefort

Towns passed include:

- Sireuil, Chateauneuf-sur-Charente, Jarnac, Bourg Charente, Cognac, Dompierre-sur-Charente, Chaniers, les Gonds, Saintes, Taillebourg, Port d'Envaux, Saint-Savinien, Tonnay-Charente, Rochefort

Explore Poitou-Charentes

RIVERS and CANALS, FRANCHE-COMTE, MARNE, SAONE:

The Saone River, the Canal between Champagne and Burgundy, and the Canal du Rhone au Rhin

Towns passed include:

- (along the canal du Rhone au Rhin) Dole, Saint-Vit, Thoraise, Besancon, Deluz, Baumes-les-Dames, Clerval, L'Isle-sur-le-Doubs, Montbeliard, Mulhouse

- (along the Saone river) Branges, Tournus, Gigny, Chalon-sur-Saone, Saint-Jean-de-Losne, Dole, Saint-Jean-de-Losne, Auxonne, Pontailler, Mantoche, Gray, Ray-sur-Saone, Port-sur-Saone, Fouchécourt, Corre, Selles, Fontenoy-le-Chateau, Epinal, Charmes,

- (along the Canal between Champagne and Burgundy) Cusey, Champigny-les-Langres

Explore Franche-Comté

RIVERS and CANALS, LOIRE:

Between the River Yonne and the River Loire, along the Canal du Loing, Canal du Briare and Canal Lateral à la Loire.

Towns passed include:

- Montereau, Nemours, Montargis, Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses, Briare, Chatillon-sur-Loire, Sancerre, la Charité-sur-Loire, Marseilles-les-Aubigny, Plagny, Nevers, Decize

Explore Loire Valley

There are several picturesque rivers that cross the Pays de la Loire region of north-western France that are popular with visitors - see Western Loire rivers

RIVERS and CANALS, AQUITAINE:

Rivers Garonne, Lot and Baise, and the Canal de Garonne

Towns passed include:

- (along the Garonne river) Langon, Castets, Meilhan, Marmande, Mas d'Agenais, Buzet-sur-Baise, Agen, Moissac, Castelsarrasin, Montech, Montauban

- (along the Baise river) Buzet-sur-Baise, Vianne, Lavardac, Nérac, Moncrabeau, Condom, Flaran, Valence-sur-Baise

- (along the Lot, western section*) Clairac, Castelmoron-sur-Lot, Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Penne d'Agenais, Lustrac

- (along the Lot, eastern section*) Luzech, Douelle, Cahors, Bouzies, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Calvignac, Figeac

* note the portion of the Lot River between Lustrac and Luzech is NOT navigable - you need to approach either from the east or the west, but the two don't join up!

Explore Aquitaine

RIVERS and CANALS, MIDI-PYRENEES:

The Canal du Midi, from Valence d'Agen to the Etang de Thau, passing Toulouse and Carcassonne.

Towns passed include:

- Grisolles, Saint-Jory, Toulouse, Villefranche-de-Lauragais, Port-Lauragais, Castelnaudary, Bram, Trèbes, Carcassonne, Marseillette, Homps, Le Somail, Narbonne, Beziers, Port Cassafieres, Etang de Thau (including Agde)

(this route continues on to the Camargue route)

Explore Midi-Pyrenees

RIVERS and CANALS, CAMARGUE (Provence):

From the Etang de Thau along the canal du Rhone à Sète and the Rhone river, eastwards to Arles and Avignon.

Towns passed include:

- Sète (Etang de Thau), Frontignan, Palavas, Carnon, Port-Camargue, Aigues-Mortes, Saint-Gilles, Arles, Bellegarde, Beaucaire, Tarascon, Avignon

(This route is continuous with the Midi-Pyrenees route)

Explore Provence (includes the Camargue)