I'm interested in two barge companies, Hotels Afloat and French Waterways. I would like a small (6-8 people) barge with half board so we could experience some restaurants on shore in the evenings. I would appreciate any advice.
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Sounds like you’re looking at companies that do the navigating, and breakfast for you, and I’m not familiar with either of the ones you mention. Any chance you’d consider renting your own boat? We did back in 2003, and piloted the Canal di Midi, having breakfast and lunch onboard, but every dinner at a town along the way. The boat came with bicycles for riding along the canal, or for reaching towns, but the bikes were in terrible shape, and after one short ride, we never used them again. Your experience could be different.