River and White Water Tourism in France – Spotlight on 9 Itineraries

Focus on River Tourism

Piloting a boat on a river is simple, even without a license. It all begins with a basic initiation, during which a technician provides all the instructions necessary to give you confidence. Onboard navigation is very easy and comes down to one key, a forward gear, a reverse, a little gentleness and patience to get you by those first locks. Being out on water requires a balance of calmness and action. Flow at your own pace, and finally take time to do as you please: dock and head out to explore picturesque villages of France, or even ride bikes along the canals. Boats can accommodate from two to 12 passengers, and are ideal for holidays with family or friends. Several providers offer rentals and tours throughout France: Les Canalous (External link) , le Boat (External link) , Locaboat (External link) and Nicols (External link) .


1/ Meander at your own pace, down the Meuse towards Belgium

Tour the Ardenne and navigate the Meuse through the wilderness of the Ardennes Massif, from Pont-à-Bar to Givet: 95 km and 21 locks. Crossing the Belgian border towards Dinant and Namur are but a formality now. You can also embark on other tours, from weekend getaways to three-week-long journeys.

The Vosges Massif in Alsace

2/ Canal de la Marne au Rhin

The Canal de la Marne au Rhin was put into service between Nancy and Strasbourg in 1853. Flowing from Sarrebourg and the Lorrain plateau through the Niderviller and d'Arzviller tunnels, the canal rushes into the Zorn valley via the Saint-Louis/Arzviller inclined plane. This boat elevator, which has become an exceptional tourism attraction, began operating in 1969 and was built to replace a series of 17 locks. A bicycle path also runs along the Canal de la Marne au Rhin's towpath, starting at the d'Arzviller tunnel and heading as far as Strasbourg.

Different variations for those who love being out on water:

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

3/ White water sports in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

The Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is a spectacular setting for white water sports, with Verdon, Ubaye, Var, the five lakes of Verdon... Canoeing, cruises, rafting, white water swimming in the river: the possibilities for taking the plunge are endless, whether you're a beginner or a full-time thrill seeker.

4/ Discover the Calanques National Park from another angle: aboard a kayak

Established in 2012, the Calanques National Park is the latest of France's ten national parks. Treat yourself to an enchanting experience, and get closer to the cliffs and to some remarkable natural sites that are difficult to access otherwise.

French Riviera

5/ Canyoning!

Jumps, rappelling, slides... Explore the French Riviera from a completely different angle. In the mid- to high-Alpes-Maritimes, there are 30 sites (amongst the 70 that are listed) that stand out for their interesting technical elements and spectacular surroundings.

6/ Discover the Lérins Islands Lagoon in a Polynesian pirogue, just off the coast of Cannes

The sparkling turquoise lagoon, located between the two islands, is a spectacular site at the Cote d' Azur. Hire a guide and explore the Lérins Islands Lagoon from aboard a Polynesian pirogue. Experience the exceptional glide of these legendary boats with Tahitian Adventure, and their fleet of two- and four-seater pirogues.

Enjoy extraordinary holidays experiences on the waters of France!