Family Cruising Through The Heart Of France

Arrow Discover more

Like silver threads sparkling waterways weave through every part of France’s rich tapestry. Each river and canal, uniquely different, meanders through beautiful countryside, pretty villages and historic age-old towns. Van Gogh-yellow sunflower fields meet sweeping vineyards, weighed down with luscious grapes ready for pressing. And on those tranquil waterways there are luxury hotel barges and self-drive boats specially designed for family vacation cruising. A river cruise through France offers the perfect ingredients for an enchanting experience and a fresh adventure.

Canal du Midi

World famous for its unique heritage and enchanting scenery, the ‘Midi’ winds its way through the sunflower fields and vineyards of southern France. Long dreamed of and finally constructed between 1667 and 1681, its route connects the blue Mediterranean to the ‘space city’ of Toulouse. Along the way there are numerous tiny villages, but also the stunning fortified city of Carcassonne, often used as the backdrop for swashbuckling films. Whether the cruise vacation is by self-drive boat or luxury hotel barge, all youngsters (and their young-at-heart parents!) will love playing Robin Hood along the medieval castle ramparts and exploring the ancient narrow streets.


The canals and rivers of France’s Burgundy heartland pass through lands deeply rooted in history, replete with magnificent ancient cathedrals, hundreds  of noble chateaux, historic waterside towns, lush countryside — and, of course, famous wines. There are many self-drive boating and luxury hotel barge options. To mention just one possibility, the Nivernais canal weaves in and out of the sparkling waters of the Yonne river, a superb location for family cruise vacation adventure activities like kayaking, cave climbing, zip-lining through the tree-tops, horseback riding and swimming.

Hotel Barge Cruises

Gather family and friends together for the most memorable experience imaginable. Sit back, relax and feel like royalty. Be fascinated by the tranquil canal and its locks, be impressed by the hands-on skills of captain and crew, relish your personal chef’s gourmet cuisine and delicious fine wines. Walk or cycle along the towpath, visit nearby towns, local produce markets and points of interest with your knowledgeable guide, or get in some kid-friendly adventure, exploring giant prehistoric rock caverns, go-karting, archery or hot-air ballooning. All of this is possible on a private hotel barge cruise – at an all-inclusive price.

Self-Drive Vacations

Go your own way, in full hands-on control of a smart self-drive motor cruiser. Navigate the peaceful inland rivers and canals of France for a wonderful week-long family vacation. Dock alongside the waterway in the depths of the countryside, or in a typically French town or village. Head out to the boulangerie for breakfast pastries, a pavement café for mid-morning refreshment, the local bistro for lunch or a nearby restaurant to dine with the locals. Locaboat and Linssen boats are easy to drive, superbly designed and equipped, with modern facilities and comfortable en-suite cabins. Your kids will always remember operating the locks, mom in charge at the wheel, dad preparing omeletes for all in the galley and the adventure that the whole family will treasure.

Cuisine and Wine

When you think of France, you naturally think of food and wine: local produce from the stalls in the market square, the best meat, the most delicious fish and sea food, authentic breads and pastries, a multitude of cheeses, fresh vegetables and succulent sun-ripened fruit. Simple fare is enjoyed with modest regional wines or sophisticated cuisine savored with grander appellation wines. French culture is founded on all things pleasurable, and a self-drive boating vacation or luxury hotel barge charter will immerse you in the heart of a country where taste really matters.

Families and Groups

Moms and dads. Teens and pre-teens. Younger kids and the very young. Grandparents. Friends together. However you bring your magical vacation group together you’ll have a wonderful time cruising the rivers and canals of inland France. And your options are amazing – fabulous locations throughout France, safe and comfortable self-drive boats where all the family can ‘take a rope’ and join in, and luxurious hotel barges for multigenerational cruising. Truly, there is something special for everyone – enchantment for grown-ups and fresh adventures for youngsters.

Just for Kids

What every kid dreams of: having huge amounts of fun, on the water, on a boat!

What every parent (and grandparent) wants: captivating, enlightening and memorable experiences for everyone, in complete safety and first-class comfort.


France has an unrivaled network of inland waterways reaching into every corner and an unrivaled selection of ways to explore and enjoy. The specialist English-French firm, French Waterways is similarly unrivaled in the depth of knowledge it has built up over 15 years of hands-on travel on the rivers and canals throughout France. And on the 400+ pages of expert online information, the partnerships it has with all the leading fleets and operators and, most especially, on the friendly and professional service it offers, matching clients with superb cruise vacations.

0044 7590 287 178 (UK)
0033 609 740 064 (FR)

Get travel news sent to your inbox