Caribbean Sailing Vacations by Ed Hamilton

Canal Charters in France

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Self drive canal bargeYou may not think of inland waterways when it comes to yacht charter destinations, but the truth is that along the canals of France, more and more barges are beginning to offer cruising vacations with amenities and service that are up to the same standards as charter yachts in other parts of the Mediterranean. This is in large part thanks to some former yacht owners and charter yacht crew who are renovating French canal barges so that they can offer the same quality of cruising vacation experience in Wine Country that charter yachts offer along the Cote d’Azur and beyond.

            Bordeaux and Burgundy are two of the most popular French regions for canal charter, with one-way itineraries that allow you to sample all the fine wine and cuisine for which both regions are known. A typical day onboard a luxury canal charter includes cruising through pastoral green countryside, wandering through the stone streets of centuries-old villages, and touring everything from historic castles to goat cheese farms along the way. There are of course winery tours, as well, where you can taste everything from the most sparkling Burgundy whites to the deepest Bordeaux reds.

            Canal charters are routinely offered as self-drive barges, which are do-it-yourself boats much like bareboat charter yachts elsewhere, and hotel barges, which come with full crew just like a luxury yacht and allow you to simply be a pampered guest while the staff cares for you and runs the boat.

            Most crewed canal charter barges have samples of your chosen region’s best wines onboard, too, for nights when you would like to sit in comfort onboard your own chartered boat while tasting some of the best foods and wines that come from the region each year. Your boat’s chef will typically be well-versed in recipes that highlight France’s top produce and meats, so you will be able to enjoy complementary food with your chardonnay or chablis. With just six or eight guests onboard some of the larger crewed barges, the experience can feel like a private gourmand tasting with all the comforts of home. And you can dine onboard every night of the week if you decide you prefer it to touring the wineries themselves.

            Inland canal charters are also an excellent option for anyone who wants to try yacht charter but has concerns about going from island to island in ocean waters. Charter barges in Bordeaux and Burgundy are never more than a few feet from shore, and you have countless opportunities every day to step off the boat and go for a walk or a bike ride along the paths that typically line the canals themselves. Whether you’re a wine lover or a sightseer, a do-it-yourselfer or a crewed charter guest, there is a canal barge charter in France that our experts can help you book to suit your personal tastes. Please give me details of suitable yachts.


Websites for yachts based in The Mediterranean:
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Photo credits for this page: All pictures taken by Ed Hamilton
Note: all pictures on this site are used with permission and may not be reproduced without permission from the photographer/owner.