View Full Version : any advice on the French canals please

12-06-04, 19:33
With the med getting so full and so dangerouse with those to large to egoistic motor boats . and anchorages being spiolt by jet skis or bouyed off to boats im thinking of spending the summer on the french canals,
Are they crowded? can you still tie up more or less anywhere? are the locks free paid or diy? and Paris is there somwhere to tie up? is the Rhone now canalised or still a battle to get up?
Any advise tips or coments please

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14-06-04, 14:59
we went from holland to med three years ago and back via mosel and rhine last
year. the time in the Med was OK (not much decent sailing too many boats in summer) but the canals where very enjoyable . especially the french -so enjoyable in fact that my wife is going to insist on a steel power boat to keep
down there. it is certainly not too crowded;- in june we went for one and a half days in northern france without seeing another boat ! further south there are quite large hire fleets out in middle of summer -but never too crowded.the Rhone has current of 4 Knots or so it was a close call on some of the smaller sailing boats coming back up ,but there are only 4-5 places where it can be really strong-one of the boats we came up with had an absolute max of 5 knots through the water but it still made it up to Lyon .watch out for the big cruise ships ,they have priority at the locks and go from Challon to the Med.

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14-06-04, 21:19
sounds wonderful. i m just planing to buy a boat for the canal,to try , im looking at a wooden fishing boat and a steel work boat, with little dreft and long keel and flat bottem respectivly.Im a bit worried about the locks which it seems can be quite difficlt when going up??
The med is dredful when i left italy a couple of years ago to retern to France i thought it would be as when i left but no its full as well empty open bays are full of boats waiting to drag,in Italy a company from napels "mafia &co" have been buying all the harbours and boat yards, its now seriously expensive.
It seems theres only Greece or the cannals left,looks like the canals for me

Are the lock free or do you pay to go through?

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15-06-04, 06:06
for france you need a 'permit ' cost for thirty days travel was about 100 eu you don't pay on days that you stay still .locks were easy -lots of self controlled (electric with remote ) locks in central france ,about the same size as the grand union.The locks on the Rhone and parts of belgium / holland can be very big -I seem to remember calculating while going up ,on our own in a lock in belgium that it was using 20million litres to raise us 20 metres.Best to raise the big locks on VHF if your french is good ,My wife speaks excellent french and we had an interesting trip down the Rhone as all the lockkeepers were waiting for us and called us when we where on the horizon.this is propobally because many of their customers can't speak any french at all.

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15-06-04, 16:42
Lots of detailed info on our website - place reports, photos, advice, etc.
We've travelled 2,500 km and 250 locks since September - now in the deep south on the canal Lateral a la Garonne. Which is just great.

Whilst you might be able to tie up anywhere, many places you just can't because the canal bank is too shallow or too rocky or the current's too fierce (Seine, Rhone, some Saone). One exception is down here on the the Midi and the Garonne Lateral - nice tree rooted banksides (shallow in many places though - we draw less than 1m with our keel up).

If you enjoy it half as much as we have, you'll enjoy it a lot . . !

Bon Voyage

<hr width=100% size=1><font color=purple>Grehan ::<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.greyfox.ukhq.co.uk/index_grehan.htm> www.greyfox.ukhq.co.uk</A>

15-06-04, 21:54
sounds wonderful this year ive bought a place fixed! july and august will be fitting out a boat for the cannal i hope to start from sete in september, i went in to port st louis the rhone river frightend me if te canals all flow at that rate its dangerous! i dont realy enjoy this pert of France either mistral or mosquitoes is there any way past the rhone??ok ill have to look at the canal navigation cartes

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