+33 (0)3 85 53 76 70
New ? Follow the guide

New ?
Follow the guide

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Piloting, navigation

You do not have a boat driving licence and are worried about driving a boat?

Rest assured! The handling is quite simple and our staff on the bases will take the time to show you how the different equipment works and introduce you to the maneuvers and docking. The boat works with 2 commands: a throttle lever with 2 positions (front and rear) and a wheel to steer: you see, it is simple!
Travelling at an average speed of 6 km/h, enjoy your holidays with a peaceful soothing rhythm, gently travelling on the water. Enjoy the scenery from a new perspective and feel free to punctuate your cruise with a fews stops, gourmet, history or sports. There will be something for everyone.
You usually navigate down the centre of the waterway, however when you come across another boat, you have to move to the right and cruise slowly along close to the shoreline. When you come to a canal bridge or a narrow navigation area priority goes to the larger boat, and commercial barges always have priority. Be vigilant and don’t forget to look behind you in case another boat is travelling faster than you and wishes to pass.
When you pass an angler you need to slow down as much as possible in order to avoid agitating the water near the banks too much. By remaining alert and watching out for their lines you will win their respect and everyone will be happy.
The normal cruising speed of a yacht is about 8km/h and on average it takes 20 minutes to pass a lock. If you plan to use about 4 to 6 hours a day you will cover a distance of between 30 and 40km, not including the time spent at each lock. Therefore you will need to consider all that while planning which route to take and how many days to spend on the boat.
River navigation at night is prohibited because of the difficulty related to manoeuvring in the dark. Also locks are only open during the day; hence your river navigation depends on the daylight.
The time is takes to pass a lock depends on several factors, including the amount of traffic, but on average it takes about 20 minutes.

Locks

Passing the locks is a simple manoeuvre and is enjoyable if you follow some basic rules: navigate slowly and carefully and remain patient if there are several boats waiting for the lock. It is easier to pass through the manual locks if you do so with two fit people. As you travel along you’ll realise that the lock manoeuvres can be very interesting as you can often chat with the lock keepers, sometimes enjoy the local produce or just admire the view and observe the local atmosphere.
There a several different types of locks: manual locks with a lock keeper which is the most common and automatic locks with a lock keeper which is often found on the larger rivers. However there are also another two types of locks without a lock keeper. The manual locks without a lock keeper tend to be found on certain canals and rivers which are rarely visited. If you come across one, you and your crew must cross it by yourselves; this will surely be an interesting memory for everyone involved. While the aforementioned manual locks tend to be rather small, the automatic locks without a lock keeper tend to be medium sized and are often found on commercial canals where there is not much traffic. The technicians at your departure base will show you a control system for an automatic lock and explain how to operate it.
The locks are usually open every day; however they may close for certain holidays. The opening hours are different for each canal and our team at your departure base will inform you about this when you arrive or when you book.
No, there is no fee for crossing a lock as the lock keepers are paid for their work. Hence a tip is not mandatory and it is at your discretion whether you wish to tip the lock keeper or not.
All our boats are equipped with safety equipment including a double chain on the balcony railing and movement aboard is always easy due to the wide set decks protected by railing and the large and stable sun decks. However the aquatic environment always presents risks and as such we recommend that children wear life jackets. For toddlers you should consider arm floats as it is often easier for them to wear during the hot weather. In addition we offer a baby set to save you from the stress of trying to remember to bring everything you need.
The time is takes to pass a lock depends on several factors, including the amount of traffic, but on average it takes about 20 minutes.

Activities

A waterway cruise doesn’t allow much time for boredom, what with the steering, on board duties, going through locks, mooring and a whole host of possible excursion routes, allowing you to relax and appreciate the calm environment and natural, heritage and cultural attractions of every region you visit.
Yes - there will be frequent bathing opportunities throughout your itinerary. Many lakes, rivers and canals allow swimming: take your swimsuit, it will also be useful for sunbathing on the deck. Ask at your starting base and you’ll be given all the information on swimming.
The regulations will vary depending on the country – check the fishing conditions by calling our booking centre on +33 (0) 3 85 53 76 74.
Waterway tourism doesn't mean simply limiting your horizons to the banks of a canal or river. It’s often a case of simply walking or cycling a few hundred metres, or perhaps taking a quick taxi ride, to discover a famous tourist site, medieval village, Romanesque church or great wine cellar that would be a shame to miss. The onboard waterway map will inform you of nearby towns and villages, as well as supply points. Don’t hesitate to ask the base team for information on your day of departure.
es, waterway cruising on a houseboat does provide ample opportunities to meet new people. Going through locks puts you in frequent contact with other boaters. You’ll also have the chance to meet people from the area you’re travelling through. A little chat and a smile often leads to lovely encounters with cheerful, welcoming and uncomplicated individuals - take the first step, even when you’re cruising abroad and don't speak the local language very well.
The region you choose will determine the climate for your holiday, but life aboard a boat is always a rewarding experience, no matter what weather you have. And if it does rain, that's a perfect excuse to enjoy the surrounding heritage. Whatever your route, there’s always something to see not far from the waterway.
Once you arrive at your departure base, our hostesses and on-site reception will guide you in discovering the local area and must-see attractions. You’ll also find many tourist brochures on site. The onboard waterway map will give you valuable information on restaurants, tours and supply points.
There’s often a tourist site not far away, and you’ll also find inns, restaurants and even hotels if you wish: your waterway guide will inform you of all the regional curiosities, and your discussions with the lock keepers and locals will also help you find out where the inns and restaurants are.
The great advantage of waterway tourism on a houseboat is that it offers a new way to discover nature, from the water, as well as the chance to enjoy stopping on the banks to prepare lunch or dinner on deck.

One-way trip or return

Of course it’s possible, if you look at our suggestions for cruises you will discover all our options relating to one way trips. Also if you do decide to make a one-way trip we provide additional services such as: Vehicle transfer (driving your vehicle to your arrival base), or transfers by taxi. Please consult our sales team for more information at the time of booking.
If you wish to have your car driven to your arrival base we can organise the delivery of your car, which will be insured under the owner’s responsibility, and will be driven no earlier than the day after your departure and no later than the day before your arrival. All information about this service will be available from your starting point.
During your cruise you are free to moor your houseboat where you wish as long as there is no prohibition against the mooring of houseboats at that location. However it is your responsibility to comply with your lease of the houseboat, therefore you much insure that your houseboat arrives at the place and time as originally stipulated in the booking.
There are some one way trips which are possible to make in a mini-week, for more information please contact our reservations centre on 0333 85 53 76 70
We often assume that the return trip will be boring and that a one-way trip would be preferable, however the one way trip has certain constraints such as: the obligation to cover the distance separating the two bases in a timely manner, you must pay an extra 100€ for the one way and there is also a cost for the transfer of your car or yourselves if you have ordered this additional option which costs 100€.On the other hand the return trip allows you more time to stroll around and explore the area. Also you will discover that the landscape is not the same when you view it from the opposite direction on the return trip.

Practical Information / Provisioning

The majority of our river bases have secure and/or cover parking available for a fee. Call the reservations department on 00333 85 53 76 70 for the conditions specific to each base.
You can go shopping in practically every village along the canal or river. If you check the map on the boat it will indicate where you can buy supplies and in which town you can find a grocer, bakery, fishery or butchery. Occasionally some lock keepers sell eggs, poultry, vegetables or wine, all at very reasonable prices. Try to stock up on the day of your departure as it is easier to transport the larger items that you may need while you have your car with you.
Dogs and other pets are welcome aboard our fleet of houseboats. However, please ensure you have all the equipment necessary to look after your pet (including a cover and sleeping basket) as you will not find anything at the base or on board. Also, please remember to ensure your pet’s safety, especially when you are passing through the locks.
It is important to respect the timetables, which you can find on your booking. If you are delayed please warn your departure base.
The instruction for the boat lasts about 45mintures and is suitable to your level of experience. This initiation provides you with the knowledge needed to operate your boat and all the river manoeuvres necessary for river navigation.
There are supermarkets located near most of our bases which allow you to purchase the larger/heavier items at the bases and transport them to the boat in your car before boarding, hence making your life easier.
There are numerous water supply points along the canals and they are all shown on the river map aboard the boat. The cost of fuel varies from less than a euro to several euros depending on the fuel price.
The capacity of the water tank on board the boat varies depending on the size of the boat. When you board the houseboat the tank is full and it generally takes about two days of autonomy to empty the tank in the case of a reasonable consumption. We advise you to refill every day so that you never find yourself without water and because it takes less time to refill as the tank is not empty. The water from the water tanks is drinkable, but we recommend keeping the water for showers, cooking, dishwashing and cleaning.
The boat’s tank is full when you depart and the quantity is sufficient for a classic cruise, that’s to say a river cruise of at least a week; however you need to refuel the boat before bringing it back to the base as you must return it with a full tank.

Cycling

Les Canalous has bicycles for you to rent and take with you on board your boat. They’re a great bonus when on a waterway cruise, allowing you to make the most of the towpaths and do your shopping. We advise you to reserve your bikes in advance when booking your boat directly from our sales and marketing department.
There are 3 ranges of bikes: - Basic range: "boat bikes": suitable for small shopping trips, but not for longer country outings. - Hybrid range: bikes with aluminium frames and gears, suitable for tracks and paths. - Junior range, allowing your children to accompany you on excursions or let off steam at the end of the day.
Yes – renting cycles from Les Canalous is an optional extra, you can of course bring your own bikes.
Our pleasure boats always have some space for bike storage on deck. We’ll advise you on the number of bikes that each houseboat can accommodate depending on its size.
Waterways often have towpaths running alongside them. These are great for bike trips, provided cyclists respect the tranquillity of the waterway setting. This is an ideal way to discover the region, as well as being useful for gathering supplies in the villages situated along the canal.

Mooring

Of course! One of the advantages of this mode of transport is that you can stop wherever you want (unless it is prohibited). In addition to the many ports built along the canals and navigable river where you may moor your boat, you can also moor anywhere in the countryside as long as it is not prohibited. After an enjoyable day of sailing, or during a ‘touristy’ break, you can moor at the dock of a marina or in the countryside on the banks of the canal by using the mooring poles that you have aboard and whose operation will be explained by the team at your departure base before departure.
You will find marinas throughout all the canals and navigable rivers of our regions, however some of them are free and others require a payment. The ports that provide electricity and water dockside often charge a fee for parking your boat there.
Most of the time you will find restaurants and hotels near the marina villages that line the canals. If you consult your river map on board your boat you will find more information about these services. It will also show you the different must-see tourist spots, the villages with supermarkets and grocers, and places where you can refill with water.This is another advantage of river tourism: you can lazily navigate the canals and find a place of serenity in a different way than usual, and then return to civilisation when you stop at a port or village.
During your cruise you will undoubtedly be tempted to moor in the countryside to admire the landscape and profit from the peace and quiet. Your houseboat is completely equipped for this and you can do so by using the mooring pole as the team at the departure base showed you during your instruction.

Choice of cruises and periods

Our licence-free boat rentals are seasonal, from March to November.
That said, it’s not really possible to speak of a good or bad time for a waterway cruise on a houseboat or barge. Every season has its advantages and the canal or riverside nature has different charms in store throughout the year.
With 44 starting bases in France, Belgium, Ireland, England, Sweden, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, Les Canalous offers you varied itineraries and regions to enjoy from a new angle on board a houseboat. Nature lovers might opt for Burgundy, with its diverse landscapes along the Burgundy, Centre and Nivernais canals. Those who are drawn to sunny southern holidays will be spoilt for choice by the wealth of itineraries on offer on the Canal du Midi and the Camargue. If you enjoy savouring regional cuisine, you might want to try Lot, Aquitaine or Marne...
You can already get an idea of your cruise and itineraries by consulting our catalogue or detailed itinerary plans.
You have a wide choice, since Les Canalous offers 44 departure bases for waterway cruises. It’s up to you to decide according to your chosen holiday region and preferences in terms of duration, departure day and type of cruise: one way or round trip.
Whatever your choice, you’ll always be able to enjoy discovering nature from a new angle and there’ll be many surprising discoveries in store during your waterway itinerary.
Whatever the duration of your houseboat trip, there’ll be a waterway cruise to suit your holiday. We offer short weekend or minibreak trips to discover the joys of waterway tourism and life aboard a houseboat. You can also opt for a week-long cruise or, for holidaymakers wanting longer stays, two to four weeks on the water.
You’re free to dock your houseboat wherever you wish during your cruise, provided there’s no mooring ban at the chosen location. It’s nevertheless your responsibility to adhere to your rental agreement: you must therefore return your boat to the agreed place at the scheduled time, either the departure base in the case of a return trip or the arrival base for a one-way trip.

The Boat

Whichever model of houseboat you choose, there is everything on board to make your stay a comfortable one. You will find a spacious lounge, comfortable bunks or double beds, heating, hot water, toilets and showers. As you can refill with water all along the canals and rivers you can always enjoy a nice, long, hot shower at anytime. On a houseboat the amount of space that you have will always be limited, however the lounge/dining area of the boat tends to be the largest room in the boat as this is the true heart of your holiday. The cabins are modest in size; however there is a lot of space for stowing your luggage and other possessions. You will also find a bathroom, with a toilet, sink and a shower, connected to almost every cabin. All our houseboats are also equipped with bedding: sheets, pillow and duvets. Therefore we hope you will feel at home on your houseboat.
All our boats are equipped with a heating system thus providing you with comfort in any climate.
On board all our boats you will find crockery, cutlery and all the kitchen equipment required to cook for an intimate dinner or a large family meal on the deal. There is in most of the boats a stove, oven, refrigerator, sink, pots and pans, and an assortment of dishes which are sufficient for the maximum number of passengers expected on board the boat. Similarly you will find enough bedding (sheets, duvets, pillows) for the maximum number of passengers.
Of course there is hot water on all our houseboats. While the engine is running it produces the hot water, therefore if you run out of hot water all you have to do is turn on the motor for a couple of hours to generate more hot water.
Most boats are not equipped with 220V, however all our houseboats are equipped with a 12V cigarette light charger, so if you have a 12V charger you can recharge your mobile phone there. In relation to any equipment powered by 220V you can use them aboard if you rent a 12V-220V transformer. Otherwise you will find numerous power points along the canal that you are able to use. Also all our most recent houseboats are equipped with generators.
Yes, all our houseboats are equipped with locks which allow you to leave the boat to go exploring the surrounding countryside in peace, however, we do recommend that you should not leave your valuables in plain view.
The fridge capacity depends on the size of the houseboat that you have chosen and it ranges from 60 to 220litres. During summer we recommend that you do not overload the refrigerators in order to allow them to function better.
The bow thruster is in fact a small propeller located at the front of the boat which allows for easier manoeuvring. It is used in spurts and at low speeds to facilitate the navigational manoeuvres such as entering a lock and docking the boat.

In case of a problem

Our team is available seven days a week on all our bases and there is always someone there. Therefore in case of a problem, just call your departure base, whose number is provided in the logbook, and we will be more than happy to help. Our team will do their utmost to provide a solution to your problems. Luckily most problems can be solved by telephone, if not a technician will come to help you as soon as they can. If you can, try to locate a landmark close to where you are in order to help us locate you faster and thus resolve your problem in the shortest amount of time.
Your houseboat is fully insured and you are only responsible to pay for any damage caused up to the amount of the bond that you have taken out. You can also opt to purchase the franchise package by subscribing to the insurance package cruise deal.
Accidents are infrequent and normally very minor due to the limited speed of our houseboats. However, you must always be vigilant while cruising and it is advisable to take turns steering the boat.

Crew

A river cruise on a houseboat is a great way to spend some quality time with your beloved, or to get together as a family, you can even use it as a great way to spend some quality time with your friends. The kids will soon get used to life aboard the boat and are normally more than happy to try steering the boat! This is a great experience to share with those important to you.
A licence free houseboat is a great opportunity to enjoy the surrounding environment at a leisurely pace and is certainly not a place where you should shut yourself in your cabin! You can enjoy nice meals together in the lounge or out on the deck, or even on the canal banks. Inside the boat, relax in the lounge space or in the cabins.
France Passion Plaisance offers a range of boats for a crew consisting of 2 to 12 people. The steering and manoeuvring of the boat can easily be carried out with just two people. And, depending on the region that you choose, your cruise of two can focus on all the romantic stops along the water’s edge making it the perfect trip for young and old lovers alike.
Our houseboats are rented out to two people minimum (there must be at least one adult and one child over 16 years). As all the lock manoeuvres require one person to steer the boat and another to hold the boat in place you need at least two people capable of steering the boat and helping with the manoeuvres.
All our boats are equipped with safety equipment including a double chain on the balcony railing and movement aboard is always easy due to the wide set decks protected by railing and the large and stable sun decks. However the aquatic environment always presents risks and as such we recommend that children wear life jackets. For toddlers you should consider arm floats as it is often easier for them to wear during the hot weather. In addition we offer a baby set to save you from the stress of trying to remember to bring everything you need
Dogs and other pets are welcome aboard our fleet of houseboats. However, please ensure you have all the equipment necessary to look after your pet (including a cover and sleeping basket) as you will not find anything at the base or on board. Also, please remember to ensure your pet’s safety, especially when you are passing through the locks.
When we instruct you on the day of departure we will issue you with a card that acts as a boat licence, it will appoint one of you as the captain and on the boat anyone can drive under the surveillance of the captain. Therefore this allows you to let your children have a go at steering the boat as well, as long as you are there to watch over what they do and help them in any manoeuvres.

Prices and Reservations

Don’t wait too long to book! Houseboat holidays are very popular and the best reservations tend to be made in advance. So if you’re interested in a river cruise holiday contact France Passion Plaisance on 0033 3 85 53 76 70 soon to make any inquiries and to reserve your cruise.
Your Canalboat is fully insured and you are only responsible to pay for any damage caused up to the amount of the bond that you have taken out. You can also opt to purchase the franchise package by subscribing to the insurance Cruise Plus (Damage Waiver).
The liberty Cruise Pack includes: fuel, insurance in case the cruise is interrupted, rental of one basic bike and the cleaning fee. However it does not include cancellation insurance which represents 4% of the rental price.
We accept Visa and Master card and cash. Yes it is possible; Just contact our sales team.

Security and accessibility

All our boats are equipped with safety equipment including a double chain on the balcony railing and movement aboard is always easy due to the wide set decks protected by railing and the large and stable sun decks. However the aquatic environment always presents risks and as such we recommend that children wear life jackets. For toddlers you should consider arm floats as it is often easier for them to wear during the hot weather. In addition we offer a baby set to save you from the stress of trying to remember to bring everything you need
Dogs and other pets are welcome aboard our fleet of houseboats. However, please ensure you have all the equipment necessary to look after your pet (including a cover and sleeping basket) as you will not find anything at the base or on board. Also, please remember to ensure your pet’s safety, especially when you are passing through the locks.
Houseboat holidays are accessible for everyone and do not require any significant physical conditions. In addition, some of our boats have wheelchair access, thus it is possible for everyone to benefit from our cruises.
When we instruct you on the day of departure we will issue you with a card that acts as a boat licence, it will appoint one of you as the captain and on the boat anyone can drive under the surveillance of the captain. Therefore this allows you to let your children have a go at steering the boat as well, as long as you are there to watch over what they do and help them in any manoeuvres.
The river map is a veritable gold mine of information about the route that you will take and its environs. Thanks to this map you can discover the many restaurants close to the canal and also the places where you can refuel the boat. By using this map you can organise your trip and decide where you wish to stop and what you desire to see while you are on the houseboat.