Departing from our base in Pont à Bar, operated by our partner Ardennes Nautisme, turn northwards to cross the Belgian border or head towards the Meuse Canal to explore Verdun.

Boat hire to discover the Ardennes forest in a few words…

The Ardennes forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Roe and red deer, wild boar, and some very rare birds can be found alongside a range of flora that is just as surprising in its protected marshland. Here you can still find carnivorous plants and a superb orchid. As you follow the Meuse, you will encounter its delightfully crazy meanderings that will finally lead you to Charleville-Mézières, birthplace of the poet Arthur Rimbaud. The famous Place Ducale is a jewel of Renaissance architecture, whilst the Basilica of NotreDame swings between that same style and Flamboyant Gothic. Among the delights of the Basilica of Notre-Dame d’Espérance are the little back streets that surround it. Deeper into the Ardennes, there are delightful towns such as Fumay and Givet, known for their sausages. With its 650 km of cruising waterway, the Champagne Ardennes region offers tremendous diversity and variety.

The
highlights of Pont à Bar

  • Easy access by boat to the Ardennes forest, one of the ‘lungs of Europe’
  • Very diverse flora and fauna

our routes departing from Pont à Bar

The routes shown are only suggestions; don’t forget that you can stop wherever you like on your cruise.

On the battlefields routes

Waterway Canal de la Meuse
Itinerary Pont à BarSedan Mouzon Verdun Pont à Bar

Waterway

Canal de la Meuse

Itinerary

Pont à Bar...Pont à Bar
Duration of stay
1 week
Navigation time
5h45 / day
Distance traveled
217km return trip
Number of locks
46
halte_nautique
Pont à Bar

Sedan

Explore Europe’s most extensive fortress, the Château Haut, and the many religious buildings. Sedan is listed as a Town of Art and History.

Mouzon

Situated at the gateway to Lorraine, Belgium and Luxembourg, the Ardennes town of Mouzon takes its name from Mosomagos, which means "market on the Meuse" in Celtic. The must-see on your boat cruise: the abbey church, the former abbey and its gardens.

Verdun

Verdun, sadly memorable for the great WWI battle, stands 40 km from the Belgian border. A stop on your cruise will allow you to learn some history and sample dragées (sugared almonds), the local speciality.

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Pont à Bar

Like a Bohemian on the inland waterways

Waterway Canal de la Meuse
Itinerary Pont à BarCharleville-Mezières Fumay Dinant Namur Pont à Bar

Waterway

Canal de la Meuse

Itinerary

Pont à Bar...Pont à Bar
Duration of stay
2 weeks
Navigation time
3h45 / day
Distance traveled
286km return trip
Number of locks
62
halte_nautique
Pont à Bar

Charleville-Mezières

Charleville-Mezières, a magnificent town in the Ardennes, has several must-see attractions, including the Rimbaud Museum (Rimbaud was born here) and the basilica of Notre-Dame d'Espérance. And don’t forget to stroll through the Place Ducale

Fumay

Sometimes called the “slate village” in memory of its past, Fumay sits in the loop of the Meuse. Tie up your license-free boat here for lovely forest walks and maybe sample the local speciality, white pudding.

Dinant

Dinant is a Belgian town not far from the French border, on the banks of the Meuse and at the foot of steep cliffs. Don’t miss the fortified citadel, a place to take photos of the breathtaking landscape.

Namur

Namur is the capital of Belgium’s Walloon region. Here, you’ll find a citadel with amazing panoramic views and the Félicien Rops Museum, which exhibits erotic works dating from the 19th century.

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Pont à Bar

Spectacular scenery and the Ducal Square

Waterway Canal de la Meuse
Itinerary Pont à BarCharleville-Mezières Revin Fumay GivetPont à Bar

Waterway

Canal de la Meuse

Itinerary

Pont à Bar...Pont à Bar
Duration of stay
1 week
Navigation time
4h40 / day
Distance traveled
187km return trip
Number of locks
42
halte_nautique
Pont à Bar

Charleville-Mezières

Charleville-Mezières, a magnificent town in the Ardennes, has several must-see attractions, including the Rimbaud Museum (Rimbaud was born here) and the basilica of Notre-Dame d'Espérance. And don’t forget to stroll through the Place Ducale

Revin

Rich is the history of the city, at the bend of its alleys, numerous in the Vieux Revin. Some lead to the Quai des Bateliers and its timber-framed houses, others to the Dominican church and its former convent.

Fumay

Sometimes called the “slate village” in memory of its past, Fumay sits in the loop of the Meuse. Tie up your license-free boat here for lovely forest walks and maybe sample the local speciality, white pudding.

Givet

With its attractive houses, a citadel and many religious buildings, Givet is a lovely place to moor your self-drive boat. Explore the Charlemont fort, built by Emperor Charles V in the 16th century and strengthened by Vauban in the 17th.

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Pont à Bar

If you want to book this cruise
Browse online the availabilities

our boats available

Departing from our Pont à Bar base, we can offer the range of canal boats shown below. To see the full range of cruises available, please see our self-drive boat pages or contact our team who can help you to choose.

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Treat yourself to a River Meuse cruise through the Ardenne and Grand Est

Follow the Canal de la Meuse in any direction

The beautifully forested area of the Ardenne has captivated Europeans for centuries. After all, it is one of the last truly untouched patches of woodland in western Europe, punctuated only by the odd acre of farmland. The woodland that stands close to the Meuse is home to a variety of wildlife, including roe deer and wild boar, only adding to the magical woodland feel of this part of northern France.

To explore this picturesque region by boat is to immerse yourself entirely in the sights and smells of the Ardenne and its surrounding landscape. The best place to start a Meuse river cruise is from the small riverside commune town of Pont à Bar.

Pont à Bar gives holidaymakers the chance to explore north deeper into the Belgian forests of the Ardenne or south into France’s Grand Est and Lorraine regions. Locaboat’s base at Pont à Bar allows boaters to fly into Metz and Reims, not too far away, making it an excellent River Meuse port to begin from.

Both of these routes offer their own delights and interests, whether that be the simple joy of rare bird watching, deer spotting or the tranquillity of the woodland river routes in the Meuse valley. Alternatively, opt for a moving visit to some of France’s most infamous First World War battlegrounds around Verdun or simply soak up the many villages that stand along the Meuse; the choice is yours.

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Navigate your Meuse river boat south from Pont à Bar

On leaving Pont à Bar, you can take your canal boat and begin your River Meuse cruise by heading southeast, towards the town of Sedan. Officially listed as a town of art and history, Sedan truly lives up to this reputation. Protected by this official status, building and modern development in Sedan are strictly controlled, allowing its idyllic and historic surroundings to be preserved for generations to come.

One of Sedan’s most famous historic monuments is its 15th-century medieval castle, a sight that dominates the town. Covering more than seven acres, Sedan castle is one the largest fortified chateaus in all of Europe and is a must-see when in the town.

Apart from the castle, the historical centre of Sedan has been preserved beautifully, and with a range of townhouses, cafes and restaurants, its centre is a fantastic place to stop for a bite to eat or drink, watching the world go by.

Following your canal boat hire through France, you will pass on from Sedan and back on the open waterways. The first commune town you will arrive at after Sedan is the town of Mouzon. Mouzon is an idyllic riverside town that looks as though it has fallen straight out of a postcard picture and its rich architecture and winding streets invite you in to explore on foot some more. Standing in the centre of town is the awe-inspiring 13th-century Gothic abbey church. With delicately carved facades and jaw-dropping interior, the church is truly a sight to behold.

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Immerse yourself in French history and explore the battlefields of Verdun

Following the winding course of the River Meuse south, you will pass by small idyllic villages, rolling farmland and wooded copses on the river banks, eventually arriving in the small city of Verdun. It’s hard to imagine that this paradise of rivers and farmland was once the site of the longest battle of the First World War and one of the costliest in military history.

Throughout 1916, over one hundred years ago, the bastion town of Verdun and its surrounding area became a killing field of destruction as the armies of France and Germany battled it out, turning the land into a lunar landscape and costing the lives of over 300,000 men, with hundreds of thousands more wounded.

Now covered in rolling farmland forest of trees, it’s hard to believe the number of artillery shells, bullets and human remains that still litter the area around Verdun. As a visitor, you can walk the battlefields, visit the cemeteries and try to square the beautiful countryside you see before you with the horrors that took place here over one hundred years ago.

The Verdun memorial and the remains of Deumamont fort are some of the more interesting places to visit around Verdun, giving you an insight into the battle fort here. Apart from its place in French military history, Verdun is also a modern city with its own series of attractions. If military history isn’t quite your thing, Verdun offers a range of attractions, including the city’s numerous cafes, bistros and delicatessens selling the famous Verdun Braquier sugared almonds.

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Sail your way north through the Meuse valley and Belgium’s countryside

Choosing to take the Meuse River north

Aside from travelling south along the Canal des Ardennes and Meuse River to the south, you can also trundle north through the Meuse River valley and cross over the French – Belgian border. Before you arrive at such an international point, there is plenty to pleasantly distract you along the French waterways. Leaving the Locaboat base at Pont à Bar you can take your boat a little further north until you enter the commune town of Charleville-Mézières. Entering such a beautiful town through its waterways is a whole different experience, and it’s this that makes boating holidays in France that extra bit special.

The small town of Charleville-Mézières is renowned for a few different things. First off, Charleville-Mézières is the headquarters for the International Puppetry Association and holds an International Puppet Festival here every three years.

Aside from its association with puppetry, Charleville-Mézières is also the birthplace of French poet Arthur Rimbaud. You’ll find a museum in town dedicated to the man himself which gives you a glimpse into his life and works – a must-see for any fan of literature and poetry.

Walking through town, you will also come across a beautifully constructed church, the Notre-Dame d’Espérance. A perfect example of Catholic architecture, the church is home to an array of stained glass and carved facades, making it a must-see when in the town. Step out the church and into the equally jaw-dropping Panorama of Place Ducale – a delectable square of buildings and cobbled courtyards, just what you want out of a Franco exploration.

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Explore quaint riverside communes, just moments away from the Belgian border

Passing further north out of Charleville-Mézières, you will come to a bend in the Muse and arrive in the idyllic town of Revin. Revin is home to many likeable sights, making it an almost cliche of a picturesque riverside town, something that only endears visitors to the town. The one building that really personifies this old-world picturesque commune town is the building known as the Spanish House of Revin.

Constructed in the early 16th century, this house has stood for over five hundred years and has lived to tell the tale. From chunky crossbeams and Turdoresuqe facade, this building is really a time capsule of medieval Revlin and now houses the town’ museum.

After getting your fill of the charming riverside commune of Revin, you should follow the river north, edging ever closer to the border. Before you arrive on Belgian soil, or water, to be more precise, boaters should not bypass the village of Fumay. Known as a slate village, Fumay was a huge slate quarrying village; now it remains elegantly untouched by industry and is renowned for its local delicacy of white pudding.

Arriving at the final French stop of Givet, you might want to explore this last bit of La République Française before heading over the border. Givet is dominated by the fortress of Charlemont, a 16th-century castle of awe-inspiring proportions, similar to that of Carcassonne on the Canal du Midi. Aside from its heretical buildings, a quick delve into the town will reveal a plethora of attractions including the famous Onion Fair.

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Crossing the border, from France and into Belgium

Flowing ever northwards on its way to the north sea, the Meuse River takes its cruisers over the French borders and into Belgium. The first of the Belgian towns worth stopping off in is the town of Dinant. When you take your Dinant boat through town, you’ll notice that this is a popular destination for fellow boaters. In fact, you can even hire a Dinant boat rental to explore the upper Meuse valley in all of its glory.

Surrounded by high cliffed banks, it is no surprise that an expansive cave system was discovered here in the early 20th century. Now known as the Grotte la Merveilleuse, these caves are worth exploring. The multi-coloured stalactites that hang from the grotto walls give the Grotte la Merveilleuse an otherworldly and magical feel.

Emerging from the dark, you may wish to do something a bit more freeing and illuminating; this is where the Parc de Furfooz comes in. This nature reserve is bled of meadows, nature walks, forests and Palaeolithic walkways – a real adventure for any nature lovers!

Your final Belgian destination on the upper Meuse valley is the city of Namur, the capital of the Wallonia region of Belgium. Namur boats and Namur boat rentals are also popular in the city, making it a great place to start and end your River Meuse Cruise. If you are not all castled- and cathedraled-out, Namur is most famous for its UNESCO St Aubin’s Cathedral and citadel and is well worth a visit when in the town.

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If you want to book this cruise
Browse online the availabilities

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Your departure
base Pont à Bar

ARDENNES NAUTISME (our local partner)
Ecluse de Pont à Bar
08160 – Dom-le-Mesnil
FRANCE

If you have already booked your cruise and you want to reach your departure base:

+33 (0) 3 24 54 01 50

[email protected]

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