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26 November 2014

A TRAVELLER’S TALE: PAUL DEVOS ON THE CANAL DU MIDI

Paul Devos and his wife had their first holiday on the Canal du Midi in 2003 and have been faithful customers of Locaboat ever since.

My wife and I had been thinking about barge holidays on the Canal du Midi for a long time. Then, in 2003, we came across Locaboat. Since then, we wouldn't dream of trying any other company. First of all, because we fell in love with the type of boat they were offering. Although their pénichettes© look more traditional than some of the other yachts you can find, they really are amazingly comfortable. The Terrasse Pénichette©, for example, has plenty of room, and (as you can guess from the name) it has a small covered terrace, which means you can enjoy being outside even when it's raining. What's really important is that the galley (kitchen) is right beside it: you don't have to go up or down steps, and that's helpful if you want to eat or have a pre-dinner drink outside. Also, the pénichettes© have recently been modernised: all the Flying Bridge models and most of the Terrasse models have been fitted with a bow-thruster. You really can see the difference when you're manoeuvring! And these days, we don't need the little practice session at the start, when we take over a boat we haven't used before. The other thing we really like is the service. Not only are the staff at the bases really friendly, but if you have a problem, they come and help you straight away. We've had a breakdown twice and the problem was sorted out within an hour, in fact, once it was half an hour! On top of all that, everything is organised to make sure your holiday runs like clockwork. Before we set off, we always buy a waterways map from the Locaboat base, which shows everything in detail: places where you can top up with water, interesting cultural sites, places where you shouldn't moor because they're too close to a motorway or a railway line, etc. It's all very helpful! So, as we're both retired now, we're looking forward to cruising along the waterways much more often. Our next boating holiday will probably be in Brittany.

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