Almost all of the regions in Southern France are beautiful for exploring. Getting away from the larger cities and landmarks is a great way to really experience the essence of the country and get to know its charming nuances and customs.
One of the best ways to see the South of France is aboard a canal boat. It allows you to glide gently through the countryside, enjoy picturesque landscapes and of course stop in as many charming villages as you please. Visit the Canal du Midi, the Franch-Compte or Nivernais Loire regions of Burgundy, the River Charente or any other place that catches your fancy.
It may seem like a big deal to hire a canal boat but in truth it’s no harder than reserving a hotel. Yes, you must be keen to spend your holiday outdoors and enjoy the bounties of nature, but once you’re out on the water you can expect a very easy cruising experience.
Canal boats go a maximum of 4km per hour, meaning there will be no speedy turns to negotiate or anxiety-inspiring traffic jams. In fact, it may even take you a short while to get used to moving so slowly!
With comfortable berths, hot showers and flushing toilets you’ll have your accommodations sorted for the entire time you’re out on the canals. As you browse boats you’ll be able to see each ones’ layout and determine who in your group will sleep where.
Once on board, you can choose to prepare meals in your galley kitchen. Designate a chef and everyone can help shop for delicious local products along the way! Or, you can enjoy meals at charming waterfront bistros and pubs. Each town and village has something new and different to offer; from fine Cognac to local cheese, honey and of course the wines the region is famous for.
During the summer you can even plan to do a bit of swimming off the boat. Canal boating in the South of France can often offer the chance to enjoy balmy temperatures and a range of warm weather activities.
Boating also won’t stop you from being able to explore famous and historic landmarks. The town of Carcasonne, for example, is easily accessed by the Canal du Midi. Its stone walls and medieval towers are simply un-missable and it offers access to everything including a World Heritage Site through the convenient town centre canal basin.
After a day of site-seeing or other land-based activities such as cycling or shopping, you can retire to your cosy boat for a lovely night’s sleep. The soft movements of the water are extremely relaxing. Awaken to a cool morning on deck with a freshly brewed cup of coffee or venture to an outdoor bistro to enjoy an espresso and petit dejeuner.
Canal boating in the South of France is an excellent way to experience the culture and charm of this beautiful region and return home refreshed and ready to return to your daily life.