Things to do

Boating Holidays in France

Choose from a wide range of boating holidays available in France. Lakes, rivers, canals, whichever you pick you are guaranteed a relaxing break.

River boat holidays in France

Wind your way along one of France’s river routes to take in beautiful countryside, bustling towns and quintessential villages, not to mention delicious food and drink. After your short journey with Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais in only 35 minutes, take your car to one of the many places where you can hire a boat and set sail.

The rivers of France connect some of the most exciting regions and provide you with a whole new perspective to travelling by car. Both the river Seine and Garonne weave through a mix of landscapes and provide unique stops and destinations. The Rhone flows all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, with Alpine features and mountains close by.

Excited to get started? Let us show you some of the stunning places where you can take a river boating holiday in France, as well as things to see and do as you explore.

Bordeaux, Dordogne & wine country

Sampling delicious wines and soaking up some fascinating history is par for the course in these stunning parts of France.

Take a voyage on the river Garonne through the Aran Valley to Bordeaux, the well-known capital of the wine region, filled with exciting locations such as the Grand Theatre de Bordeaux, an opera house that has to be seen to be believed. You can also discover France’s largest independent bookshop here.

History lovers will be in their element in the department of Dordogne. It’s one of the oldest in the country, filled with rolling hills and plenty of green spaces. The architecture in the pretty towns and villages is like something straight out of a fairytale, including the medieval Château de Castelnaud and Château des Milandes.

Paris & the River Seine

river at sunset with Eiffel Tower in the distance lit up with lights

Paris is always a good idea, especially by boat. Take a slower pace as you float along the Seine, which passes through some of Normandy’s best spots including the Normandy landing beaches and the home and gardens of artists Claude Monet. Côte Fleurie (the flower coast) can also be found by the Seine’s banks, lined with chic towns and romantic beaches.

The River Rhône

Beginning its journey in the Swiss Alps, the River Rhone flows through the south of France, with key stops in Lyon, known as the food capital of France, Mâcon in Burgundy (a key wine producing region), and Avignon where the grand Palace of the Popes was the seat of Catholicism in the 14th century. If you love art, you can also plan a visit to Arles, the city that inspired Van Gogh’s oil paintings, watercolours, and sketches of The Langlois Bridge at Arles.

Canal holidays in France

canal waters winding through French street with sunshine and leafy trees

Possibly one of the most authentic ways to travel through France is by its relaxed canal waterways. Meander through towns filled with Gothic architecture, sample local dishes or experience new cultures. Set the pace as you explore all France has to offer by boat, stopping at unique places and making new memories.

Even if you’re a regular traveller to France, a canal holiday will give you a brand-new perspective on your favourite places, and help you discover new ones.

Ready to plan a trip? Here’s our top ideas for canal cruising in France to get you started.

Boating holidays on the French lakes

castle-like building sits on bank of still blue water with mountains in the distance

France is home to some of the prettiest lakes in Europe, allowing for a host of activities including boating, watersports and even wild swimming. Take Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, then it’s just a relaxing drive to one of these tranquil spots. Gathered around the lakes of France are campsites of all shapes and sizes, or quintessential French towns to stay in. Either way you’ll be amongst friendly locals, inspirational scenery and exciting new places to relax and regenerate.

Lac D’Annecy

The port in Bandol features a delightful promenade, the perfect setting for a stroll

Bandol is ideal for those looking for peace and quiet. The coastal commune’s renowned wine region is one of Provence’s most internationally recognised, and it’s said that the grapes owe their unique flavour to the soil’s silicon and limestone properties. Wine connoisseurs will be glad to know that there are a number of local wine tours organised in the area.

Bandol is also surrounded by glorious beaches. To the east, explorers can find delightfully sandy beaces like Plage Centrale, Plage du Casino and Plage du Grand Vallat while smaller, rocky and more secluded spots can be found to the west, such as Plage Eden Roc and the Plage de l'Anglais. The Anse de Renécros is a relatively untouched cove worth tracking down. Found just west of the centre, its unique shape allows for calmer waters which are ideal for swimming in.

Lac de Sainte Croix

The stunning architecture of Avignon is not to be missed

A little-known fact about Avignon is that it is the city where the pope lived during the early 14th century. It was then the centre of the Roman Catholic world meaning that today it has an impressive legacy of ecclesiastical architecture. A highlight is the UNESCO World Heritage Palais des Papes, that attracts people from all over the world.

In summer, Avignon hosts the famous Les Halles food market each Saturday, where local chefs perform cooking demos and host tastings. And for lovers of arts, culture and theatre, the Festival d’Avignon (held every July) is perfect. The Église et Cloître des Carmes, a Romanesque and Gothic Carmelite church and cloister built in the 13th century was one of the first theatre and dance venues of the Festival, but you can visit this impressive venue at any time of the year.

French coastal cruises

boats in the harbour on sunny blue waters

The French coast is an eclectic mix of secluded coves, soft sandy beaches, and rocky cliff-lined stretches. There’s something for all tastes and weathers along the 2,000 miles of coastline, so a cruise around is sure to provide a fantastic holiday.

From the Opal Coast between Calais and Boulogne where you can hike the well-planned pathways and reach the flatter shores of Picardy, to long stretches of sand on the Atlantic Coast near La Rochelle and Vendee, you can pick a spot to moor up and relax or set out to explore the local culture.

The Côte d'Azur

Also known as the French Riviera, this is the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France. Here you’ll find a touch of glamour in its famous resorts like Saint-Tropez and Cannes, and the independent microstate of Monaco, but for nature and culture lovers you must see the lavender fields of Grasse and the medieval villages of Èze.

Start your French boating adventure with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

No matter the type of boating holiday you choose, begin it with Eurotunnel. We can get you to Calais from Folkestone in just 35 minutes, and from there you have France to explore at your leisure. Book your next adventure with us today.

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