Practical information

Parking

The majority of river bases have an enclosed and/or covered car park. You will usually have to pay a parking fee at your departure base.

Animals

Dogs and other pets are welcome on board the houseboats. Ensure you have all the necessary equipment for your animal (including blanket and basket), because these things are not provided for on board. Don’t forget to ensure their safety, especially when passing through locks.

How to pass locks ?

Passing through a lock is a simple and fun manoeuvre if you follow some basic tips: always manoeuvre slowly, carefully and be patient if there are many boats waiting for the lock. For manual locks, manoeuvres are easier to carry out with a minimum of two agile people. You will see that passing through locks is a special part of your cruise. You can chat with the lock keeper, sometimes buy local produce or just enjoy the break to soak up the local atmosphere and socialise with other boaters.

Bike anywhere ?

Obviously, waterways are very often lined by towpaths that encourage bike rides, always in the spirit of the peaceful riverside atmosphere. It is an ideal way to explore the region and do some shopping for supplies in villages along the canal.

Can accidents happen ?

Accidents do not happen often and are usually minor due to the limited speed of river boats. However, it is necessary to be careful while navigating, so it is advisable to take turns steering.

Swimming ?

Swimming is often possible all the way along your route. Many lakes, rivers and canals allow swimming; however you should avoid swimming on the outskirts of cities. Bring your swimsuits; it will be useful for sunbathing on deck in any case. When you work out your starting point, you will be given all the information about swimming.

Night navigation ?

River navigation at night is prohibited, due to the difficulty of manoeuvring in the dark. In addition, locks are only open in the daytime. River navigation therefore follows daylight hours.

Water on board ?

There is hot water do you can take a good shower, and the water can be refilled very easily.

Take and leave the boat wherever

 During your cruise you are free to moor your boat wherever you want as long as there are no mooring restrictions at the selected location. However, you are obliged to fulfil your rental agreement, so you need to bring your boat back to the place and at the time arranged.

Round trip ?

People often think that a round trip is a bit off-putting and would prefer to go one way. However, the return journey gives you more time to wander and explore the region and you will be surprised to discover new things in the surrounding countryside that you didn’t see on the way there!

Booking

 You can book online by visiting our website or the rental websites.

Is it for children ?

All the boats have numerous items of safety equipment including railings for getting around onboard safely and easily. However, the aquatic environment always has its risks; we recommend that children wear life vests. For toddlers, remember to bring armbands.

Time to pass locks?

It takes approximately around 20 minutes to pass a lock. But some locks may take more time if people are queueing. 

Locks : opening hours

Locks are normally open every day but some holidays, they might be closed. The opening hours differ depending on the canal. You will be informed of this during your induction or at the time of booking.

Insurance

The river boat is fully insured and you are not responsible for any possible damages up to the value of the deposit you made. However, the boat insurance does not cover the person renting it and their crew, their liability towards third parties and their personal belongings. It is up to you to take out additional insurance, if you feel it is necessary.

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Steering the boat

On your day of departure you will be issued with a temporary licence that acts as a permit appointing one of you as captain, and on board a cruise boat anyone can steer the boat under the supervision of the captain. So you can introduce your children to steering the boat by accompanying them with manoeuvres. Note: navigation is permitted for anyone aged 16 or over.

Fishing ?

Yes in most areas, fishing is permitted but subject to certain conditions. Find out before you go and do not forget your fishing permit. A temporary permit can be obtained from the following link : https://www.cartedepeche.fr/

Comfortable ?

Whichever boat you choose, everything is designed so that you feel comfortable on board. The spacious living area, the comfortable bunks, heating… On board a boat, space is obviously limited but the living area is always prioritised in terms of size, as it is the place you will be spending the most time in. The cabins are therefore modest in size but offer good storage. On a river cruise you will soon feel at home

Supplies ?

You can stock up on supplies in almost all of the villages along the canal or river: see the river information on board the boat for details of where to find a grocery store, bakery, fishmonger, butcher, etc. Sometimes lockkeepers will be selling eggs and poultry, certain vegetables and wine at very reasonable prices. On the day of your departure, make use of your car to do a big shop before you set off.

Best time to leave ?

There is no such thing as the ‘best time’ to go on a river cruise: every season has its strengths and nature, near rivers and canals, is always brimming with beautiful things to see.

One way ?

 Yes absolutely; look at the suggestions of different rental cruises to explore all the possibilities. What’s more, if you go one way, additional services will often be offered, including the transfer of your vehicle. Please enquire at the time of booking.

With who leave ?

A riverboat cruise is always an unforgettable experience to share as a couple, with family or friends. Children will quickly settle into it and enjoy sharing the helm! They will have a unique and unforgettable experience. Among friends, you will soon be having lots of fun and there are many activities to keep you busy.A cruise does not mean being shut away in your cabin, quite the opposite in fact! On board you are at one with the surrounding nature and you will experience a feeling of space and freedom like no other!

Pay locks ?

No, you do not have to pay to pass through a lock.

Stop wherever

Of course! The advantage of this type of holiday and river houseboat tourism is being able to stop freely wherever you want. As well as the ports built along the navigable canals and rivers, you can moor your boat wherever you want, in nature, for some peace and quiet, as long as there are no mooring restrictions in place.

Pay harbour ?

You will find marinas all along the canals and rivers in the navigation areas; some of them are free, others may ask you for a mooring fee if they provide water and electricity at the dockside.

What can we visit ?

River tourism does not mean you have to limit your horizon to the banks of a canal or river. Very often, you can go just a few hundred metres on foot or bicycle, or use a taxi service, to see a famous tourist spot, medieval village, Romanesque church or a good winery that it would be a shame to miss. The onboard information will tell you all about the towns and villages nearby and where you can stock up on supplies. Do not hesitate to request information from the base team on the day of your departure.

In the event of a problem?

The river boat is fully insured and you are not responsible for any possible damages up to the value of the deposit you made.

Breakdown

Rental companies are often available seven days a week.  Whatever the problem, just call the rental base at your departure point. Most problems can be sorted out over the phone, if not, then an engineer will come to carry out repairs as soon as possible. Try to work out the kilometre point where you are located, so you can let your rental company know in the case of breakdown.

How much time ?

However long you’ve got for your holiday, there is a river cruise to suit your needs. Some routes are designed to be done in a weekend, others require a long weekend, but you can also take a one-week cruise, 10 or 11 days, two weeks, or for long-term adventurers there are also three-week cruises!

Crockery, equipment

On houseboats, you will generally find all the crockery and kitchen equipment needed to whip up a meal on deck, in the wilderness or in port.You will also generally find all bed linen provided (sheets, duvets, pillows) corresponding to the number of passengers.

Bike rental

Some river rentals offer bicycle hire, check directly with them to find out the conditions for hire.

Bike storage

Some river rentals offer bicycle hire, check directly with them to find out the conditions for hire.

Moor the boat

 During your river cruise, you can stop in the wilderness using the mooring poles fitted to your boat, as you will be shown by the engineer during your induction before departure.

Operate a pleasure boat ?

Pleasure boats are specially designed for inland navigation and no special skills are required to operate them. After your induction, you will soon become a shrewd captain, especially as navigation on board river boats is very simple and is controlled by one ignition key, with forward and reverse gears

Cruising speed

The normal cruising speed for a pleasure boat is around 4 mph and it takes about 20 minutes to go through a lock. Plan to navigate around 4 to 6 hours per day, which will enable you to cover a distance of 18 to 24 miles, without forgetting to add time for passing through each lock.