Self-Drive Cruising & Holiday Packages
Self-drive canal boating is the ideal way to discover the charm and mystery of hidden regional provinces. Cruise through peaceful countryside, past tempting vineyards and historic villages where tiny medieval churches, ancient chateaux, quaint markets and small local restaurants will offer you an endless stream of new experiences and delights.
Self-drive Cruising: Explore France at Your Own Pace
Leave rigid itineraries and bustling crowds behind! With Entire Travel Group, set sail on a self-drive cruise holiday through France's sun-kissed waterways, crafting a holiday as unique as you are.
Imagine gently gliding along the Canal du Midi, pausing to admire the majesty of Carcassonne or savour rosé in serene riverside villages. Or venture through Burgundy's fairytale vineyards, with chateaux peeking from rolling hills and the scent of fresh bread dancing in the air. Navigate the tranquil canals of Alsace, where picturesque half-timbered houses line the water and Alsatian delights like flammekueche and choucroute await.
Entire Travel Group takes care of the logistics, leaving you free to choose your route, set your own schedule, and linger wherever your heart desires. More than just a voyage, it's an immersion into the French soul, from local delicacies and charming towns to ancient forests and iconic cities.
Discover our self-drive cruise packages today and craft your unforgettable French odyssey.
Popular Self-drive Cruising Destinations
Our self-drive cruise packages focus on France for a reason –– the country boasts an unmatched network of canals and waterways:
- Canal du Midi: Explore this picturesque canal in southern France, known for its historic locks, charming villages, and scenic vineyards.
- Burgundy: Cruise through the wine region of Burgundy, where you can visit renowned vineyards, historic chateaux, and delightful towns.
- Alsace: Discover the serene canals of Alsace, lined with quaint houses and offering a taste of Alsatian cuisine and culture.
- Brittany: Navigate the waterways of Brittany and revel in its stunning coastline, mediaeval towns, and delicious seafood.
- Charente: Cruise along the Charente River, surrounded by beautiful countryside, historic sites, and the opportunity to sample cognac.
- Loire Valley: Experience the Loire Valley's majestic chateaux, lush gardens, and charming villages as you sail along the Loire River.
- Provence: Enjoy the beauty of Provence, with its lavender fields, olive groves, and historic towns, while cruising on the Rhône or Saône rivers.
Amenities and Services
- Your floating retreat: Choose from a variety of stylish boats, perfectly tailored to your group size and desired level of luxury. Enjoy spacious decks, fully equipped kitchens, and sleeping under the starlit sky.
- Local delights at your fingertips: Explore bustling waterside markets and savour regional specialties. Taste fresh baguettes, sip rosé at charming cafes, and indulge in gourmet dinners at riverside restaurants.
- A haven for relaxation: After a day of adventure, unwind with onboard amenities, including sun loungers, board games, and even hot tubs on select boats.
- Captain of your journey: Plot your course, linger in your favourite spots, and uncover hidden treasures at your own pace. We provide comprehensive maps and GPS navigation, giving you the freedom to explore.
- Personalised assistance: Our local experts are just a call away, ready to assist with restaurant recommendations or navigating challenging locks. Enjoy peace of mind, knowing you have all the support for an unforgettable experience.
Planning Your Itinerary
Crafting your ideal self-drive cruise holiday through France begins with aligning your interests, preferred pace, and wanderlust. Consider your interests, whether you're a foodie looking to savour local fare, a history buff eager to explore mediaeval towns, a nature lover seeking lush landscapes or dramatic gorges.
Next, decide on your pace. If you prefer a relaxed journey, plan shorter daily trips with time for leisurely stops and spontaneous explorations. For a moderate pace, aim for moderate distances that allow for sightseeing and cultural experiences while enjoying the serenity of the canals. If you're adventurous and thrill-seeking, plot longer daily stretches with minimal stopovers.
Embrace the unexpected by leaving flexibility in your itinerary for serendipitous discoveries, hidden gems, charming villages, or regional festivals. Don't hesitate to adjust your plans based on the weather or your mood, as self-drive cruising offers the freedom to go with the flow.
Use these tips and ideas as a foundation to create your unforgettable self-drive cruise through France.
Navigating the Open Water
Navigating open waters can seem daunting, but with the right preparation, it's achievable. Here are key considerations for a safe and enjoyable holiday:
Before you set sail:
- Route Planning: Chart your course, noting landmarks, potential hazards, and refuelling spots. Understand tide and current patterns.
- Gear Check: Ensure you have the right equipment - a reliable boat, navigation tools, safety gear, and communication devices.
- Weather Watch: Check the forecast before and during your journey. Be prepared to adapt to changing conditions.
While on the water:
- Stay Connected: Keep in touch with local authorities via VHF radio or satellite phone, especially during emergencies.
- Stay Alert: Maintain a constant lookout for other vessels, potential hazards like buoys or reefs, and changing weather conditions. Avoid boating under the influence.
- Follow Regulations: Understand and adhere to maritime rules in your area. This includes safe distances from other vessels, speed limits, and proper lighting for night navigation.
- Anchoring: Learn effective anchoring techniques to secure your boat against changing tides or currents.
- Emergency Response: Be prepared for emergencies such as engine failure, grounding, or medical issues. Familiarise yourself with basic first aid and keep an onboard emergency kit.
- Consider taking boating courses or workshops to enhance your navigation skills and boost your confidence.
- If you're unfamiliar with the area, think about hiring a local guide or skipper to assist you.
- Start your journey in calmer waters and gradually progress to more challenging conditions as your confidence grows.
- Above all, savour the experience! The open water offers breathtaking scenery and unique adventures, so approach it with wonder and respect for the environment.
Suggested Regions and ROUTES
Most regions in France offer a great one-way cruise itinerary easilly achievable in 7 nights:
CANAL DU MIDI
The Canal du Midi is a UNESCO World Heritage site offering 240 kms of waterways connecting
the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. It is a work of art with aqueducts, bridges,91 locks
and a tunnel.
- Homps to Port Cassafieres
- Castelnaudary to Homps
- Trebes to Narbonne
Burgundy deserves its reputation for fine wines and gourmet cuisine. With lush vineyards, rolling hills
and quiet villages, this area offers a network of canals to explore, as well as the majestic Saône River,
the focal point of your Burgundy boat hire in France!
- Canal du Nivernais – Migennes to Tannay
- Canal a la Loire –Decize to Chatillon Sur Loire
- River Saone – St Jean de Losne to Branges
Magnificent architecture, historic villages, vine-ribboned countryside and more await along Canal de
Garonne in Aquitaine, an expansive region known for its foie gras, truffles, oysters and of course,
- Castelsarrasin to Le Mas d’Agenais
Embark on a rustic journey to Alsace and discover picturesque villages, soaring churches and
imposing castles tucked among gently rolling hills, ancient forests and miles of lush vineyards.
- Hesse to Boofzheim, via Strasbourg
Uncover the highlights of Camargue, visit some of the most gorgeous villages and enjoy a wine
tasting in the most famous cellars. This region is famous for its flamingos.
- Port Cassafieres to St Gilles
Brittany is a Celtic land with many towering castles and a unique heritage. You can venture to
Nantes and Dinan for the museums, historic sites and fine restaurants. The Vilaine River and
Canal de Nantes à Brest are fine to explore by beginners to self-drive boating
- Messac to Nort Sur Erdre