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Canal and river trips

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With over 7000km of navigable rivers and canals, boating is one of the most relaxed ways of exploring France. Expect to pay between around €800 and €2500 per week, depending on the season and level of comfort, for a four- to six-person boat. There are many companies (see Buses) offering boating holidays or you could contact the Fédération des Industries Nautiques (t 01 44 37 04 00, w france-nautic.com). If you want to bring your own boat, contact Voies Navigables de France (VNF) (t 0800 863 000, w vnf.fr) has information in English on maximum dimensions, documentation, regulations and so forth. The principal areas for boating are Brittany, Burgundy, Picardy-Flanders, Alsace and Champagne. The eighteenth-century Canal de Bourgogne and 300-year-old Canal du Midi in particular are fascinating examples of early canal engineering, the latter being a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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