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 offering boating holidays or you could contact the Fédération des Industries Nautiques (01 44 37 04 00). If you want to bring your own boat, contact Voies Navigables de France (VNF) (0800 863 000), which 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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