A 60-year-old couple, their two 30-year-old children, with their partners, and a little girl of three… and the canal barge glides along the Burgundy Canal. Alain Trouvé tells the story.
I heard about Loacaboat from some colleagues at work and I soon had the idea of organising family canal boat holidays When my daughter and her husband, who live in South Africa, came home for the summer it gave us a chance to all get together with my son and his partner. So off we went, six adults and our three-year-old granddaughter, on a canal boat along the Burgundy Canal.
We spent a lot of time cooking, laughing, taking siestas, reading and visiting pretty villages such as Tonnerre. Even though, on a canal boat, you are together a lot of the time, each couple gets their own cabin and therefore their own space and their privacy. What we particularly liked was the peace and quiet, the gentle pace of life on the water. I’m a bit hyperactive, so I don’t know whether I would enjoy three weeks of this, but one week relaxed me enormously.
A typical day consisted in going off on a bike to fetch the croissants (we usually left that to the younger generation!), having a leisurely breakfast, cruising along to the next lock, cooking, tying up for lunch, having a quiet read, followed by a snooze, then a visit to a local attraction. Our granddaughter was able to rest without any problems and to jump about on the towpath while we were going through the locks. What we liked was discovering the countryside in a different way, “from underneath”, as it were, because the villages are often well above the level of the canal. As a rule, we would set off after lunch to reach the next lock (you need to be careful: in France locks have timetables, and often the lock keepers have a lunch break and then they close in the evening at around 7 o’clock, though that varies depending on the area). Then we would tie up for the night wherever we fancied. Peace and freedom really are the watchwords for barge holidays. I think our next experience will be in some other country, to explore it in a different way. Probably Ireland...