The French connection

With short hops and a Continental approach to cruising, keeping your boat in France will seem like one long holiday

French canals

The French regard their inland waterways as industrial highways and tend to avoid them, but to visitors they are one of the boating highlights and a gateway to the Mediterranean.

Inland cruising gives you the option of getting away from detailed tidal and weather planning, and a chance to head south to the sun.

From the UK one of the quickest routes into the heart of France is via the River Seine. It is almost 200 miles from Honfleur to Paris, of which the first 60 miles to Rouen is tidal and must be done in a single leg.

The remaining 140 miles, including seven locks, can be done comfortably in about four days, although you could also linger longer if you had time to spare.

Vernonet | Moving to France | Cruising Guide | Motor Boats Monthly |Picture: Historic Vernnonet, en route to Paris

Facilities inland tend to be more unpredictable than on the coast, and information sources can be unreliable.

In some areas you might find free or low-cost town quays, with electricity and water laid on. Elsewhere, moorings shown in the guidebooks may have disappeared or been left unmaintained.

Inland boaters in France generally need a good level of resourcefulness, but the rewards are there for those that like an adventure.

Read the full feature in the May 2010 issue of Motor Boats Monthly

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