House Boating In France – What You Need To Know

Are you thinking about renting a house boat in France? No matter if you steer along the Saône in the region Franche-Comté or any other place in France.

Here are some general tips and facts you need to know for enjoying a house boating trip.

Tips and What You Need To Know While House Boating in France

  • There is no licence required for steering the house boat. After some brief instructions and getting a “riverboat card” you are good to go. As long as one member on the house boat has this card, all of the other passengers older than 16 can steer the boat.
Thierry from Le Boat shows us how to steer safely through a lock.
Thierry from Le Boat shows us how to steer through a lock.
  • You steer the boat on the right side (like driving a car).
Signs showing the way.
Signs show the way.
  • The thing with the locks: They are automatic or semi-automatic and regulated by lights. You get a guide on how to handle them during your trip. After the first time (being a little nervous) they are easy to handle.

Inside a lock
Inside a lock
  • Being patient is a habit you will profit from. The boat doesn´t turn immediately into the direction you want to go. Being hectic might lead to crashing into something like the walls in the narrow channel below. Even though the boat is protected by fenders it´s a lot more fun having a patient captain.

House boating in France - What You Need To Know

  • Depending on how many persons are on the boat, the fresh water for cooking, the toilet and the shower lasts for about two days on a house boat like the “Magnifique” from Le Boat. After that you can stop and get some fresh water and also electricity at the harbors along the way. You will find the harbors in the information folder provided by the house boat company.
  • Mooring the boat is allowed anywhere (with only a couple of restrictions). You can stop the boat at docks or secure them with a metal peg.
House Boating In France - What You Should Know
Securing the boat with a metal peg.
  • Especially along the Saône, where you won´t find restaurants at every village, it is essential to bring food with you. Tip: Find out what the kitchen on the boat has to offer before you go shopping (gas oven, microwave?).
  • Navigation is easy. Signs along the river show the way. If you are not sure what a sign means, you can use the manual.
Navigation is easy along the way. If you are not sure what it means, everything is listed inside the manual.
Navigation is easy along the way. If you are not sure what it means, everything is listed inside the manual.
  • For five days along the river we needed about half of the fuel. If you have to refill the tank you will find fuel at the harbors along the way.
  • Before you rent a house boat think about the persons you want to travel with. You should really know them and trust them. Staying on a house boat means sharing a limited space and you have to work together, especially when it comes to navigation, cooking and doing the dishes.
  • A last note: Never, ever throw anything else besides toilet paper into the toilet! Otherwise it will be blocked. Nothing you want to experience. 😉

Packing Essentials for House Boating

  • Especially if it´s wet on the boat non slip shoes are perfect. I prefer being barefoot but it´s up to you and your ability of walking around a boat without falling or hurting yourself.
  • As it is colder on the boat a jacket can be useful.
  • Bring comfortable clothes. Handling the locks means you have to walk a lot around the boat. Sometimes you might even climb up a ladder inside the lock.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses and a hat are a must aboard. The water reflects the sunrays a lot more on the boat.

Handling a house boat is easier than you might think. If you are prepared with enough food and drinks you are good to go.

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Thanks to Le Boat and Franche-Comté. The opinions are as always ours.

zuletzt aktualisiert am February 24, 2023

16 thoughts on “House Boating In France – What You Need To Know”

  1. Unsere Nachbarn waren schon mehrmals mit dem Hausboot in Frankreich unterwegs und haben von einer Reihe Schleusen berichtet. Musstet ihr auch durch welche? Eine Tour mit so einem Hausboot würde mir definitiv gefallen! Sonnige Grüße, Jutta

    • Liebe Jutta, wir durften auch durch ein paar Schleusen fahren und sogar durch zwei Tunnel. Gerade eben habe ich in den Artikel noch ein Video eingebaut, wie wir im (Schnelldurchgang) die erste Schleuse meistern. Schau es dir doch mal an. 🙂
      Liebe Grüße!

  2. Ich habe nun alle Berichte und Links durchgearbeitet und kann nur sagen, dass ich begeistert bin von der idealen Art und Weise wie hier Hausbooturlaub beschreiben und gepriesen wird. Besser könnte man es gar nicht machen und die Saone scheint ja wirklich ein herrliches Revier zu sein, wir werden es bald selbst testen können.
    Das Einzige was mich noch interessieren würde, erreicht man vom Hausboot aus alle Poller an der Schleuse oder sind in den Schleusenwänden Nischenpoller oder Gleitstangen eingelassen??
    Besten Dank im voraus

    • Ach ich vergaß noch zu fragen, um welche Jahreszeit Sie unterwegs waren und ob Sie in den Schleusen immer allein waren?

      • Hallo Horatio,

        wir waren Anfang Juni unterwegs und die Schleusen waren zwar besetzt, aber wir bekamen keine Hilfe, sondern haben alles alleine gemacht.
        Liebe Grüße,



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