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.
You can get great meals anywhere in France. Here is a cafe with a menu routier — basically "meals for truckers", or a truck stop.
The board on the wall lists the 12€ menu (that is, fixed meal):
First course — your choice of one of:
- House salad
- Ham Macedonian-style
- Plate of cold meats
- Main course — roast veal and peas
Cheese — your choice of one of:
- Cheese plate (six types of cheese)
- Fromage blanc or "white cheese", more like yogurt with sugar
Dessert — your choice of one of:
- Fruit tarte
- Ice cream
- Wine and water with the meal
- Coffee after the 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.
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.
Canal Latéral à la Loire
One week and 130 kilometers by canal boat through Burgundy from Briare to Decize
Canal du Midi
One week and 157 kilometers by canal boat through Languedoc from Béziers to Castelnaudary