In the late summer of 2012, Jill and Henry Warner had lunch with some newly met friends who shared with us that in a previous life that they, on two different occasions, rented a self-piloted canal boat in France and had spent many wonderful weeks gliding along the waterways of France.
As we both have vacationed in France about a half dozen times and as we love visiting France and as we are both experienced boaters, this sounded like the perfect combination to us! We immediately started investigating on the web and rapidly became intrigued by the prospect. We contacted our good friends Rich and Dawn Davis about the possibility doing a trip together and Dawn responded that she had always wanted Rich to take her on this kind of trip. Perfect! We were practically all set. We just needed to agree on a few details like when to go, how long to stay, which region in France, which canal in that region (with locks/without locks), what size boat to rent, how much we were willing to spend, which boat rental agency to hire, whether or not to go over early and/or stay afterwards plus a few other items.
We all knew, though, that we wanted to see quaint Medieval villages, lots of castles and drink plenty of French wine. As Rich and Dawn are also experienced European travelers, we started with four points of view, but quickly settled on our agenda. Of course the two bottles of wine with dinner ensured a unanimous agreement. We had a plan! It was to be a two week trip through the Burgandy region of France, starting late August 2013 in Digoin France and proceeding along the Loire and Nivernais canals. We settled on the French-based FPP company for the boat hire. Great! The hard work was all behind us!
We picked the late-August to mid-September time frame reasoning that the crush of the summertime vacationing would be winding down and the weather should still be mild. Plus, as we all appreciate a nice bottle of French wine, we would be approaching the vineyard maturity stage, which could only add to the overall scenic ambiance.