French Canal Barge trips

❮ Back To Message Board
My husband and I are considering doing a canal barge trip in France either next year or 2019. We have traveled extensively and are in our 70's. But we know virtually nothing about the companies who provide these trips, and which areas are best in late spring or early fall. So we would welcome any feedback from those of you who have made such a trip; your pros and cons; and any tips that you might feel appropriate to share. We've maxed out most of the major river cruises in Europe and felt we'd like to see more of the "out of the way" places that France has to offer.

A couple of years ago, we took a trip with European Waterways on the L'Impressionniste in Burgundy. We really enjoyed this trip. One reason I picked it was that there were a max of 12 people allowed on the trip (6 cabins), and I much prefer small group tours. In this case, there were a total of 10 people. Our ages ranged from early-30s to mid-80s and the tour was suitable for all. Each day you slowly cruise along a scenic canal. You are able to get off the barge at the locks and bike or walk along the canal path and then get back on when you have had enough walking or biking. Also there are daily trips to places in the region. A van takes you these and meets back up with the barge afterward. You can see details on their website The food and wine were very good, and the service was excellent. Most of the meals will be on the barge. I only recall one lunch off the barge in Beaune, but I could be forgetting a couple of others. The only downside is that this sort of trip doesn't give one as much interaction with locals as you might have otherwise, so don't expect to have much chance to practice speaking French. Based on my experience, I'd certainly take another tour with them.