Canal du Midi in southern France.

Piloting a Boat Through French Canals

Lunch Break, Wine and Cheese Breaks, and Dinner

Lunch break

Many people have been amazed that we simply rented a boat and took off on our own cruise along the canals in France. "But who operated the boat?", they ask. We did, see the previous page about piloting the boat and getting through locks. "But how did you get meals?", they ask. If they ask that, apparently they have never been to France. You won't go hungry. Even small villages have places to get great meals.

Some days we would stop and get lunch at a restaurant in a village along the canal.

Lunch this day included a large salad, garlic bread, and small sandwiches.

Shaded restaurant patio in central France.

L-R: My mom, Shirley, me, and Larry.

Food alongside the canal in central France: salad, garlic bread, wine, beer.

Great food!

You can get great meals anywhere in France. Here is a cafe with a menu routier — basically "meals for truckers", or a truck stop.

Cafe for drivers alongside the canal in central France.

Outside the cafe.

Eating at the cafe alongside the canal: salad, ham, roast veal, peas, cheese, dessert, wine, coffee.

L-R: Some truckers, my dad, more truckers, my mom, and Shirley.

The board on the wall (unreadable in this smaller version) lists the 12€ menu (that is, fixed meal):

Yes, that's the French truck stop menu!

Wine and cheese breaks

It's your boat and your schedule. You can stop wherever you want to tie up and have a wine and cheese break.

Sometimes we just sat on the upper deck.

A break for wine and cheese along the canal: dining on board.
A break for wine and cheese on the canal bank.

Sometimes we were more ambitious and moved the lawn furniture down to the bank.

Of course there are grocery stores all along the way — the people who live in those villages have to eat, too. So we would stock up as needed along the way. And even the one-Euro-per-liter wine is good! Buy it in the square plastic bottles just as the locals do.