Inland Waterways of France
Inland Waterways of France - New 8th Edition. This is the standard and most authoritative English-language guide to the navigable French canals and rivers. Includes maps and distance tables for each waterway, dimensions, formalities, regulations etc. An outstanding planning guide and cruising reference. It is absolutely the best reference guide available for using the inland waterways of France. Much of the information was obtained and ratified by the various French authorities responsible for the design, upkeep and maintenance the canals. Extensive reference to the many French charts and other navigation information. The detailed distances given are spot on but many new bridges have been built since 1991 and sometimes it takes some guesswork to work out where you are. The book is written in sections and sometimes the linkage between sections is difficult to follow. This needs to be improved. Some sections are quite complicated especially the section on the Seine up through Paris. This was particularly difficult to follow even by the two experienced navigators on board. The addition of large scale Michelin maps is most useful as the book does not always describe or even mention all of the possible turnoffs from the main canal. A useful addition would be notes on supermarkets, cafes, fuel facilities etc that are within easy walking distance of the canals. On a trip from Calais to central Paris over 5 days, we only found one cafe and one supermarket despite walking several miles each evening into villages and small towns. Beware of some of the depths noted as they are not always accurate. For example the Bourgnogne Canal is noted as minimum 1.7m deep whereas in fact there are many places with considerably less depth, a fact only found out after running aground several times. A discussion with a local canal maintenance engineer indicated that the depths shown in many canals were suspect and boats with drafts of more than 1.5m should not consider some of the smaller canals not used by commercial traffic. There is considerable information given about various routes from the Emnglish Channel to the Mediterranean which is most useful. What is not described in much detail are the different types of locks and some of the problems that may be encountered particularly the stepped or sloping sided locks. Neither does it give any indication of the procedures to be followed in the locks. For anyone considering extended use of the French canal system this book is an absolute must.