Cruising the canals

An example of a narrow boat

An example of a narrow boat - Credit: Archant

Enjoy a relaxing cruise along France’s waterways with Minervois Cruisers ADVERTORIAL FEATURE

A boat cruises through the picturesque village of Ventenac

A boat cruises through the picturesque village of Ventenac - Credit: Archant

Follow in the footsteps of celebrity chef Rick Stein with a canal holiday in the South of France, courtesy of Minervois Cruisers. Enjoy France at a different pace with a different perspective, by cruising slowly along one of its most famous assets, the ‘Canal de Deux Mers’ (canal of the two seas). It’s an easy and very relaxing experience to explore the French countryside on a canal boat. Whether it’s the vineyards of the Minervois region on the Canal du Midi or the historic Aquitaine region on the Canal de Garonne, it will be a memorable holiday.

An example of a wide beam boat

An example of a wide beam boat - Credit: Archant

Minervois Cruisers has a fleet of British-built steel boats, both narrowboats and wide beam to give you a great French touring holiday in the beautiful South of France.

The Southern canals of France are some of the most famous canals in the world and are a world heritage site linking the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Minervois Cruisers has two bases near each end of the canal which are easily reached by road, rail or cheap flights.

The base in the east is at Le Somail on the Canal du Midi which is on ‘le grand bief’, the longest pound on any French canal with a 108km lock-free round-trip available through the heart of the Minervois wine region and close to the fascinating cities of Carcassonne, Narbonne and Beziers.

The base in the west is at Meilhan on the Canal de Garonne which is close to Bordeaux and the canal runs through the unspoilt Aquitaine region, with superb scenery, interesting historical sites and its own wine regions of Bordeaux, Graves and Buzet. This base also provides access to the stunning river Baise.

The great thing about exploring France from the waterways is the slow and relaxing pace you drift through the countryside, not really knowing what scenery or delightful restaurant awaits you around the next bend.

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The locks are either manned or automatic, so you couldn’t wish for an easier boating experience. You don’t need a special license on these hire craft and full tuition is given before you depart. Don’t worry if you have never been boating before as you will find it easy to adapt to the slow pace and both bases have English-speaking staff.

For more information see www.minervoiscruisers.com