Boating holidays in France – Going with the flow

>  Grands Reportages magazine (September 2010)

“Follow the river to reach the ocean”, wrote Plautus. And sailing down the rivers of France, one discovers a gentle country that’s full of history.

> Meandering down the Lot

The River Lot, which runs for some 485 km, rises in mountainous Lozère and empties into the Garonne. A number of companies rent out boats, which are an excellent way to explore the region […]. You can, for example, take a cruise on the Lot-Quercy. Setting out from Bouziès, you can sail to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. Sitting on a steep cliff 100 metres above the river, the village is one of the treasures of the Quercy valley. On the way, you’ll also discover Cenevieres and its chateau dating back to the renaissance period, Larnagol Saint-Gery and of course Cahors, a medieval town founded in the 1st century B.C. Altogether, the voyage is 148 kilometres, with no fewer than seventeen manual locks to navigate. So you certainly won’t be bored!

> The Royal Canal

[…] Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996, the Canal du Midi is a very popular holiday destination […]. Starting out from Castelnaudary, you can hire a boat with between two and twelve berths, and sail through the hills of the Lauragais towards the medieval fortress town of Carcassonne, and in Homps, visit the archaeological site of Minerve, all whilst taking in the gastronomic delights of the region, including the classic dish cassoulet and fine local wines […].

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