Ten years ago, quite by chance, this retired couple from Marseilles became totally hooked on canal boat holidays.
"It might seem strange that someone who lives by the sea should prefer canals and rivers. I certainly never say no to a motorboat trip out to the little islands off the Marseilles coast, but the fact is that I fell in love with canal boat holidays about ten years ago. It happened pretty much by chance, when some friends invited my wife and I to go with them on the Canal du Midi. Since then, we haven't stopped – we've travelled all over France on a Pénichette©.
"Twice a year, before and after the peak holiday season, we set off for some peace and quiet. We like to go as part of a fairly large group, though, with at least two other couples, because spending time with friends is what being on a boat's all about. As time goes on, we travel further and further away from home and the Canal du Midi to explore different regions: the Canal du Centre, the Briare Canal and the Nivernais Canal, and also little rivers like the Baïse. Seeing Angers, Le Mans and Sablé from a boat is an unforgettable experience. We've just been sorry sometimes when the lock-keepers have already gone away for the winter, which means we have to navigate the locks ourselves! But on the other hand it's very relaxing, and the advantage of low season is that you can get on with driving your boat and you don't have to queue up at locks... It's all a matter of preference."
Our thanks to Yves Estienne for telling us about his travels on the rivers and canals.