Take a boating cruise through history and heritage

If you’re looking for the perfect way to discover the heritage and history of France and Europe, boat rental from Nicols can be like a time-travelling voyage. Step off your canal boat and step back in time as you discover castles, architectural treasures, characterful cities, religious landmarks and remarkable monuments.

A boat tripfull of history

There are many routes to choose for a boating holiday steeped in heritage. Sail by Strasbourg and stop to see its Grande Île which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can find another in the Franche Comté region where the 17th century Besançon citadel is considered to be one of the finest heritage sites in France. At Nancy in the Alsace region, you won’t want to miss the famous Place des Ducs-de-bar, and on the River Erdre in Brittany you can sail by an incredible 17 castles in just 15km.

Wherever your boating holiday takes you, you will never be far from a mixture of famous and lesser-known historical treasures

  • Visit historical monuments
  • Discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Explore charming characterful cities and medieval towns
  • Explore remarkable churches, abbeys and cathedrals
  • Stroll through some of the most beautiful villages in France

Discover our boating holidays

Your canal boat cruise isa voyage of discovery

With canal boat hire from Nicols, your adventure is not just on the water. There are so many places to stop and explore the surroundings with charming villages, historic monuments and historic sites within easy reach by foot, bike or taxi.

Castle lovers are spoilt for choice in France with the many chateaus of Erdre, Ancy le Franc in Burgundy and Ray-sur-Saone in Franche-Comté to name just a few. In Germany discover Potsdam’s Sanssouci Palace – once the summerhouse of Frederick the Great.


Franche Comté


Gothic, Romanesque or modern - religious buildings are marvels of architecture. Don’t miss the Couvent des Jacobins in Toulouse, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Strasbourg and the Cathédrale de Maguelone in the Camargue region.




A trip to one of the medieval cities you’ll find on your boating holiday is a trip back in time.
You’ll be captivated by cities like Aigues Mortes in the Camargue region, Carcassonne on the Canal du Midi, Joigny in Burgundy, St Cirq-Lapopie and Cahors in the Lot Valley, Toul in Alsace-Lorraine or Monsaraz in Portugal.

In Lot

Canal du midi


Of course, some of the waterways you will travel along have their own historic importance.  You’ll discover incredible engineering feats from past endeavours without even stepping off your canal boat. One great example from relatively recent history is the inclined plane of Arzviller in Alsace – the only boat lift of its kind in Europe.


The canals are full of impressive design and structural achievements. Keep a lookout for the many treasures that are to be discovered during your boating holiday such as the famous Valentré bridge of Cahors, the canal-bridges of Agen and Briare, or the Ecluses de Fonserannes - an impressive flight of staircase locks on the Canal du Midi.


Canal du midi

What our clientssay

"As two lovers of beautiful buildings, it was such a pleasure to sail through the Lot Valley. The medieval village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, the castle of Cénevières overlooking the river and the heritage treasures of Cahors ... were sights to behold!"

Bertrand and Séverine – 46 and 43 years old.

Read the reviews