Sian Appleyard from the UK
Crusader; a six-berth canal boat with small kitchen, lounge dining area and sun deck
Burgundy, France on the Nivernais Canal
# of Nights
Departure Date & Ports
June 2017, from Tannay, travelling north and returned at Migennes
4 out of 5 stars (5=EXCELLENT; 4=VERY GOOD; 3=GOOD; 2=POOR; 1=TERRIBLE)
-Food Rating: 5
-Cabin Rating: 4
-Service/Crew Rating: 4
-Itinerary Rating: 5
Have you been on a small ship cruise before?
Le Boat canal cruising in Burgundy France
We hired one of Le Boat’s small private-hire boats that sleeps 6, for 4 nights/5 days — there was just 4 of us. It was enough time for us to enjoy the experience and not lose patience with the relatively cramped conditions of canal boat living.
We collected the boat in Tannay (you can stay overnight in nearby Clamecy which has a direct rail link from Paris), and supplies are available at a local supermarket pre-departure (a short journey by car/taxi). The boat was clean, had bed linen provided, and we requested, and were given, an extra umbrella as we found our boat didn’t have an awning to protect against the hot sun when on deck — this proved essential.
We were given a brief overview/steering lesson in English (but being able to speak French is useful). Then we crewed it ourselves providing both hilarity and hiccups, a few minor collisions, getting the boat caught on the edge of a lock and the slow speed chase of an umbrella when it blew overboard. In June, the canal was largely empty of other vessels and the many locks were all manned making the journey otherwise very easy. The company provided us with excellent maps covering all the French canal systems and it was our choice how many miles of “sailing” we undertook each day, where we stopped for lunch or moored up for the night. The only restriction was where we started from and the date and location for the return of the boat. We paid extra for early collection and late return to give us more flexibility and also for bike hire. In the one case we had an issue (lighting the oven), Le Boat staff responded immediately and resolved the issue.
It was clear from the maps and info provided by Le Boat what you could expect to see and collect in terms of supplies at each official mooring point. We shopped for and prepared simple food (the kitchen was adequate for simple meals although the fridge seal was broken). We also ate at cafes in the numerous pretty villages we passed (notably Clamecy). The optional BBQ also proved useful when moored overnight in the middle of nowhere.
All in all, we had a very enjoyable holiday. The slow pace of travel and attractive rural surroundings were very relaxing and we would recommend Le Boat.
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