Welcome to my page on the Canals and Rivers of France

French Canals

This page covers the different routes you can take between the UK and the Mediterranean. There are links from here to detailed information on The Canal du Midi and The Scenic Route as well using a the Lorry Option to transport your boat or just the mast.

The Rhone River Parking Places lists all the know overnight stopping places which are few and far between. Eloise Diary is the daily log of my trip last year from the UK to the Med then back up the Canal du Midi to my home in La Rochelle

If you have little up to date knowledge of the canals and rivers between northern Europe and the Mediterranean, I have published a book which should give you all the information you need in order to get the correct French recognised qualifications and licences to take the boat into the inland waterways of France. It also lists the main routes with details of distance, timing and the appropriate inland waterway chart books - Fluviacarte ex Navicarte that you will require.

It is just possible, but only just, to do the voyage with just my book and Fluviacarte #21, but to be comfortable and to really enjoy the experience you are going to need the Fluviacarte (ex navicarte) for your intended route. These are available from my site at normal French prices




The following links go to the two sections of CANAL TRIP


St Valery to the Med by the Scenic Route


Canal du Midi Log



with some extra comments and info

In 2005 took my Prout 33 down the Canals and Rivers of France, from the UK. Having purchased her a month earlier in Millbrook near Plymouth. 

 I sailed along the UK south coast, crossed the channel and entered at St Valery sur Somme heading for the Mediterranean. I made a 'daily log' of the trip which might be interesting if you are thinking of 'doing' the canals.

I have used the Canals and Rivers of France between the Channel and the Mediterranean at least a dozen times. I now live in France and my book is probably the most up to date and informative available today.



If you are thinking about using the French canals to passage between the UK and the Mediterranean then this booklet contains all the information you need'

 It describes the Routes, the regulations the paperwork - How where and when to get the qualifications and license, the depths, air heights, locks and a whole lot more.

 There are 'charts/maps' throughout, the distances, dimensions & main stopping places and is the only publication to list ALL the possible stopping places on the Rhone River!/

buy here - gentlesailing.com

Canal Routes Between the English Channel and the Mediterranean go to Routes

For circumnavigation and sailing pages go to



1 – Planning the voyage

2 – South coast to Chenal du Four

3 - Chenal du Four to La Rochelle

4 - La Rochelle to Spain overview

5 - La Rochelle to Coruña

6 - Coruña to Gibraltar

Why not take your Prout to the Mediterranean next summer?





 There are several ways of getting your boat to the Mediterranean. On the back of a lorry, via the French canals, four or five day’s non stop across the Bay of Biscay then down the Portuguese coast or spend the summer or two, gently coasting southwards, enjoying the harbours, cities, towns and villages of France Spain and Portugal.


This is not a pilot book, rather a passage plan and guide to the nicer places between the South Coast of the UK to the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.  It can all be done in easy stages, to suit a lightly crewed boat, with perhaps only a couple of people on board who are without ‘offshore’ experience.  Actually, it is a lovely way to explore a lot of delightful foreign places.

More Here

Download now from


 Specially drawn charts of:


Cherbourg to L’Aber-Wrac’h.

Chenal du Four to La Rochelle

La Rochelle to Spain

La Rochelle to Coruña

Coruna to Gibraltar


illustrations, pictures, paintings

SN1 = north to south - direct route by sea

SN2 = north to south via Canal du Midi

SN3= north to south via Le Havre - Paris - or Calais or St Valery


From the Mediterranean.

SN4 = south to north via Atlantic coast

SN5 = south to north via Azores

SN6 = south to north via Canal du Midi

SN7 = south to north via canals to Paris and Le Havre or Calais

Lorry option = a list of web sites of British and French haulage companies who specalise in boat transport.

Canal du Midi = My log and some pictures of a recent transit. (SN7)

The Scenic Route = My log and some pictures of a recent transit. (SN6)

VNF = Voies Navigables de France - details of license fees and canal offices - official paper

click here for canals chart

Click here for Atlantic chart

French Canal Routes to the Mediterranean

Gentle Sailing Route to the Mediterranean

Gentle Mediterranean Routes to the Islands

The Pacific Crossing Guide

Caribbean Islands Cruising Guides

Strait Sailing to Gibraltar

Living Aboard Around the World

Easy Navigation

For my sailing books and French canal guides please go to






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