French canal holidays offer the perfect combination of relaxation, culture, exploration, fine food and wonderful wine. Imagine spending a week or more on a floating hotel that gently passes through stunning scenery, past charming towns and within a stone’s throw of hidden away castles. Leave the grind of daily life behind and absorb the tranquillity and serenity of life on board a barge boat and you won’t regret it. |
France is home to thousands of waterways, and French canal holidays provide the discerning traveller with the perfect opportunity to discover corners of France they never would be able to otherwise. If you want to delve deeper into the heart of French life and culture, then a boating holiday could be perfect for you.
Relaxing is the name of the game on French canal holidays, but if you are one of those who doesn’t just want to recline on a sundeck with a good book, but instead likes to stretch the legs and get the blood flowing, there are options for booking cycling themed cruises so you can get the best of both worlds.
What makes a cycling themed cruise different from a classic cruise, when most barges have bikes on board for client use anyway? The big difference is that on a cycling cruise you have the chance to spend more time on two wheels and enjoy guided cycling tours through gorgeous local villages, fabulous scenery and in and out of beautiful vineyards. Itineraries can be customised to suit your group so you can be assured that your abilities are catered for in terms of distances and speed.
On specialist cycle cruises the bikes have been upgraded from the standard of the bikes on a classic cruise. There is also the benefit of an expert cycling tour guide and a chef who drives out to meet you with lunch so that you don’t have to return to the barge in the middle of your ride.
Two very popular destinations in France for cycling themed cruises are the Loire Valley and Burgundy, as both have incredible scenery, great food and wine, and attractions all of their own.
Biking Plus and Biking Charters
This concept is perfect for passengers who enjoy an element of exercise when on their holiday but who are perhaps travelling with others who prefer to spend their time involved in more sedate activities. The Biking Plus option allows those more adventurous passengers to arm themselves with the maps provided, as well as a backpack full of everything they might need, and take a bike out for a few hours. Routes have all been researched in advance and can be anything from 10 to 20 miles long. If you get lost at any point you can contact a member of the crew, who will come and collect you. Otherwise, just head back to the arranged meeting point.
Biking Charters are aimed at the more serious cyclist and include half day guided tours with lunch.
However you choose to cycle, be it on a themed cruise, Biking Plus option or a Biking Charter, taking a bicycle out during any one of our French canal holidays is a fabulous way to see even more of the wonderful countryside of France.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury French canal holidays. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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