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 serenity of Lac d'Annecy is in stark contrast to the mountains and forest that surround it. It’s the third largest lake in France, so naturally offers a wealth of activities for those that choose to stop or stay. Even if you decide to just sit back and relax, this is a tranquil place, meaning you can make the most of a quieter atmosphere and real thinking space, especially at dawn or sunset when the lake is at its most lovely. We recommend stopping by Acacias Bellevue, where you can dine outside with panoramic views of the lake to truly appreciate it.

Lac Du Bourget

Tucked into the department of Savoie and to the south of the imposing Jura Mountains, this lake also goes by the name Lac Gris (grey lake). It is incredibly popular during the summer months thanks to beaches that offer every water-based activity you can think of, plus its most-famous town, Aix-les-Bains is filled with vibrant nightlife opportunities.

Lac D’Aiguebelette

Also located in Savoie, this natural lake is best-known for its unique blue-green shade waters and its hot springs (there are seven to choose from). This is a great spot for those looking for a quieter break, as motorboats are prohibited to prevent sound pollution and to protect the local wildlife. You can hike trails around the pretty shoreline or even try your hand at paragliding over the water.

Lac de Sainte Croix

The bridge at Gorges du Verdon, Lac de Sainte-Croix

The Lac de Sainte-Croix boasts a lush Mediterranean climate thanks to the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region it sits within.

The lake is manmade, but still considered one of the most beautiful in France featuring turquoise water and epic white cliffs. Try paddle boating, kayaking or a hike to the Verdon gorges during your stay. It takes ten and a half hours to drive to Sainte-Croix from Calais, but this just means you can explore more of France along the way. At the halfway mark lies Dijon, so why not enjoy a day or two of exploring the city's sights?

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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