French canals

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Guest

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Like some other recent correspondents, I have long harboured a desire to travel the french canals ... finding myself with two or three months available this summer and being the proud owner of an old Ocean 37, I thought that this was the time to realise my dream and began to research what I will need ...

I have been disappointed at the tone of all the reports I have managed to read so far, exorbitant fuel costs, unhelpful lock keepers, heavy barge traffic, hard to find diesel, non existant porte de plaisance, large concrete (small boat unfriendly) locks, unscheduled stoppages, rivers full of debris ... I could go on. Judging from a recent article in MBY the trip up the Seine to Paris seems hardly worth the cost/effort ...

I can't believe that the canals and rivers which I thought had such a reputation for beauty and tranquillity can be all like this ... is it just that people like me expect the whole of France to be like "A Year in Provence" and the reputation is a triumph of expectation over reality ... is it that people who have actually been there, know that the canal and river systems are part of a commercial environment and it is not sensible to expect anything other than an industrial landscape ...

Is there anything written which I could read to improve my view of these canals, I was looking forward to planning this trip ... all I've learned so far is putting me off even bothering to proceed ..
 

DepSol

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Go up La Rance with a visit to the C.I's on the way more varied and not so nasty people.

Dom
 

Falcon71

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Re: French canals - Seine

We took the MBM cruise to Paris up the Seine 3 years ago, I personally wouldn't bother again, lots of travelling every day just to get to next stop, almost a nightmare with the children.

But, I'm not being entirely fair, as it was a cruise in company, a schedule of sorts had to be kept to just so that the sheer numbers could be accommodated at the planned stop overs. To get to Paris and back, keeping in mind any weather problems, over a fortnight is very ambitious IMHO.

The scenery is lovely in the main, there are some pretty towns, but also some boring industrial bits. We managed the locks, no problems, and some are daunting, but again of course we were in the main babysat through them. We did meet some great bargees, but you have to go slowly, and carefully, and realise they will take right of way, regardless.

A fortnight was too short, the Seine is a working river, but there have to be other rivers and canals that aren't worked as much, and probably go through more picturesque countryside. Sorry, probably not what you wanted to hear, but I'm sure further research will find other places to go rather than the Seine.

What I would do next time (if and when) is go as far as Rouen, and stay there for a good few days and explore that city further, then come back down. I vaguely remember that at least one boat on our cruise continued from Paris onto another canal, then down to the South, and I've met others who've gone back for a few months. I haven't seen them since though to find out how it went. They were on an Ocean 38, No Comment.

Hope this helps, and if anyone else wants to know what to do with very bored children over long journeys without blood shed. Look no further.
 

byron

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What is the name of your boat? Fill in your profile the world needs to know these things.

ô¿ô
 
G

Guest

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The nice bit of France starts about fifty miles south of Paris. Then you can take your choice of several,very beautiful routes, some now effectively non-commercial. Lock keepers are more friendly, towns are nicer, less industry, good portes de plaisance and so on.
 

ToMo

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As all the neighbours seem to say " France is a wonderful Country - shame about the people!"....still the they can't help it either....they were born like it <G>
As for posting your details! I wish everyone would - it would satisfy noisy buggars like me (& Byron!)
;-)
TôMö
 

tamise

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4 Jan 2002
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There are difficulties with navigating the French canals because for first timers there is a lot to get used to. However it is worth the effort especially if you travel south beyond the northern canals which have heavy commercial traffic.
The smaller canals go through some lovely countryside, are much quieter. It is possible to go all day without seeing another boat on the move. there are ancient aqueducts to cross and of course the wine and cheese are plentiful. Avoid Calai s like the plague, trying to manoeuvre through the thick algae is a nightmare.
 

longjohnsilver

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!!!!! But watch out they try and pour pints of rancid ale down your throat and then leave you in your drunken state to stumble completely lost, without street lights, down steep slippery gangways back to cold damp boat!!!! ;-))
 

longjohnsilver

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Worth sending a PM to Colin Jones who posts on the yachtie sites. Colin makes his way down to the Med every year using one route or another and has done this for the last 10 years or more. He also writes articles inPBO about his journeys, probably knows more than most about the canals.
 

miket

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21 Jun 2001
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Ian & Dot Hart spent 4 or 5 months in 2000 doing what your contemplating and enjoyed it tremendously. (in an Ocean 34)

They are referred to in the article in this mont's MBM of a trip that 3 boats made to Brugge etc. Have a look at that.

If the contact for the harts is no good, send me a private email and I will ask them to contact you direct.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Thanks for all your responses ... now after Peters & May to give me a quote for trucking the whole thing south of Paris !!!

We were also planning to take our two spaniels with us ... have been anti-rabies injected already ... does anyone have any experience of this
 

tcm

...
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11 Jan 2002
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Caribbean at the moment
Re: anti rabies

Yes, I was injected with this a while back and it hurt a lot. Ow ow ow bloody ow. However, I am often complemented on my smooth shiny coat, wet nose, can get the paper without help, and hardly ever shit in next doors garden.
 

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