The canals of France provide idyllic cruising routes through countryside that is culture-rich and captivating. A barge holiday with Back-Roads allows you to take a unique journey of discovery at the gentle pace of your hotel barge.


If you are hankering to get to the heart of French history, culture and cuisine, our touring series afloat on the canals of France provide a truly special way of experiencing its abundance. We see canals as the back roads of the waterways; envisage cruising gently through provincial towns, quaint villages and a rustic landscape resplendent with rural bliss, stopping off to explore their stories and delicacies as you go.


Our signature authentic experiences and small group sizes make a Back-Roads barge holiday a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn the secrets of your chosen destination, all while cruising on a hotel barge.

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Burgundy: A Cruise Along le Canal de Bourgogne | 2017
Tour on Offer

A CRUISE ALONG LE CANAL DE BOURGOGNE   Rich and refined, Burgundy is as elegant and enticing as the wines it's world-famous for. But this tour shows it i…
7 Days
US$3101PP (From)
Was $3445
New 2017 Dates

Provence: A Cruise Along le Canal du Rhone a Sete | 2017
Tour on Offer

A CRUISE ALONG LE CANAL DU RHONE A SETE   Wide deltas and rural scenery where cowboys on white horses roam. Meandering canals dotted with historic villages. …
7 Days
US$3101PP (From)
Was $3445
New 2017 Dates

Cruising the Canals of France


Our canal barge holidays use the water arteries of France to access its most charming locations. On the Burgundy tour, the Canal de Bourgogne will provide the route through the region’s verdant vineyards for the MS Jeanine. The Provence tour uses the Canal du Rhône à Sète to explore the treasures of southern France in the MS Anne-Marie.


The ability to putter along at an unhurried pace along peaceful waterways is one of the benefits of travelling by barge. Holidays with Back-Roads always give guests ample time to themselves, whether they want to relax on the boat or borrow one of the onboard bicycles to explore the nearby surroundings. One of our dedicated mini-coaches is always on hand alongside the vessel to tempt you to explore beyond the towpath.


Whichever of our barge holidays you choose to take, we can guarantee that your cruise will give you an intimate understanding of the places you pass through.


Aboard a Luxury Hotel Barge


There is something incredibly special about life aboard a floating hotel vessel. Back-Roads exclusively charters the luxury vessels we use for our barge holidays, which sleep up to 22 guests. You’ll be accompanied by a highly trained and professional crew, as well as one of our own knowledgeable tour leaders who will inspire you to uncover the hidden gems of the area.


An onboard chef, schooled in the art of crafting authentic local cuisine, will serve you in the boat’s indoor restaurant area – or, if the balmy French evening beckons to you, out on the barbecue deck. The exceptional personal service and intimate group size allow you to relax and indulge every whim on any of our French barge holidays.


Ultimate Comfort in Quirky Surroundings


When they climb inside for the first time, guests are often surprised by the modern interior of such a traditional-looking barge; holidays aboard are characterised by bijou luxury, indeed. The large windows that surround the lounge and bar at the heart of each vessel create a sun-drenched space for socialising, while a spacious sun deck with loungers and parasols allows you to sit out in the open air while cruising. Better yet, when the sun goes down you can enjoy double the bubbles under the stars by sipping a glass of wine in the prow-deck Jacuzzi!


Allow the gentle lapping of water against the hull of the boat to lull you to sleep each night in your own boutique cabin, each of which has a private en suite. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the intimate environment of one of these unique vessels makes a barge holiday a once-in-a-lifetime touring experience.


Cultural and Culinary Experiences


Although plenty of time is spent relaxing on the boat as it cruises sedately through the passing scenery, Back-Roads prides itself on carefully handpicking a selection of authentic local experiences that will help you to connect with the region you are exploring on your barge holiday.


Food and Wine


We believe that cuisine is a key that can unlock the door the culture. By sampling the local food and wine, both onboard and in various locations throughout your journey, you are given a sense of the rich history and traditions of the region you are exploring.


Our Burgundy tour offers you the chance to learn about the region’s wine heritage by visiting the Château Clos De Vougeot, a twelfth-century monastic winery that still features its medieval presses and original kitchens. On the Provence tour, a visit to a family-run farm gives you the chance to taste their delicious homemade olive oils and jams.




France has a rich and fascinating history. From the magnificent Roman ruins of Arles to the decadent palace of Fontainebleau, the beating heart of the French monarchy for 700 years, a barge holiday with Back-Roads takes you to locations that have been carefully selected for their historical and cultural significance.


Some of the experiences, such as the Collégiale Notre-Dame with its tremendous stained glass windows and eighteenth-century organ, are grand and awe-inspiring. Others, such as the chance to watch the traditional bull-sorting gardians on their white horses in the Camargue, give you a sense of real, everyday tradition in the area.


If you dream of experiencing the romance of rural France – its gastronomy, its traditions and its historical significance – you can glide through its delights in complete comfort on one of our unique barge holidays.

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