French Canals

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I would be grateful for any information re using the French Canals from Calais to the Med.
Any recommended books - How long both distance and time -
is there a charge for using the canal system - any qualifications needed. What are the likely costs etc..

Boat is a Colvic 29'
 

angusmacgregor

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Just do it! Straight down the middle, turn right at the bottom and take first left to Le Grau du Roi and Port Camargue.
There is a charge based on the length of time you will be on the system and the area your boat occupies. You should have a valid I.C.C. with a CEVNI endorsment. You may never be asked to show it but if asked you need it! Otherwise you will be asked to take the test and answer the written part in French. Allow as much time as possible and do not try to set a record. Take bicycles and enjoy. Any route will be great. Buy charts as you ENTER each separate system, Pas de Calais etc. Good Luck
 
G

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Excellent article in MBM August 1996 - get a back copy!
 
G

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many thanks for your advice - i'll get a back copy asap



regards

david.
 

cynthia

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Depths?

What is the most up-to-date info? Hate to get half way there, then be unable to proceed 'cos of draft! Not able to go until next year, so any current 'stories' and info. much appreciated.
 

simon

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Through The French Canals by Philip Bristow gives details of all the routes such as distances, depths, air draughts etc and a lot of useful background information. If you do go ahead then you will also need to purchase the relevant navicartes (detailed "chart / map " booklets) for the relevant canals. I think you get them from Imray.
 

Peter_the_Grate

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Came back from a three week trip yesterday and I can thoroughly recommend it. Look at the VNF website (www.vnf.fr) - it's in French but mostly straightforward. Call the RYA and get the info you need about what to take in the way of documents; they have a guide which says what you will need. The advice to buy what you need in the way of maps in France is good because they're much cheaper there and are in French, German and English. (chandlery is generally cheaper too, though not as easy to find as here, none in Calais for example).

Enter the system via Calais, it's the simplest option. The fee for taking down our mast at the Calais Porte Plaisance was 67FF and the guy there speaks good English. The other options - the Somme and the Seine: the Somme is closed (or rather it's open - all the locks are open to drain the excess water out of France, they had it worse than us ... floods that is) and it's unuseable; the Seine is flowing hard and you will have to slog your way up against the flow. Also, for taking down a mast, Rouen is very expensive. The crane that is mentioned in all the guide books is not useable and the only alternative is one of the big (BIG) dockside cranes at 800FF. Whilst we were in Honfleur (coming down the Seine), some others had their masts raised/lowered there but I don't know how much it cost (Honfleur is worth a visit).

If you need to talk to someone in the VNF, call the lady in the Calais office (03.21.34.25.58), she speaks very good English and is very helpful (although strangely, she seemed to think that "donc" was an English word too and scattered it liberally in her conversation).

The VNF publishes a schedule of closures called "chomages" and does stick to them. The lady at Calais will be able to tell you if your planned route has any closures scheduled, though I recollect that there are none planned in July and August. She might even send you one ...

You can get your licence to use the canals (sticker) by post but it's much easier to get it at the Calais office in person. There is no way round having one of these and at least SSR registration; some of the locks are "Points of Declaration" where documents are checked. The exit gates will not open until you have shown the correct ones.

If you let me have an email address, I can scan in a document that the VNF gave me (2 sides A4), which outlines what you need to have to get the "sticker" and what it costs.
 
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I went through in 84 so i`m a bit out of date but there is a milk run via marne to paris then you have choices,it`s all very easy,hundreds have gone before,you can buy the charts but i used a road map,since all you need to know the next town and with gps how can you go wrong,I had a Colvic Watson m/s,the French are nice people despite the bad press,but make an attempt with the language,they like that,I envy you.go to it.

double trouble
 
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