They say life on a boat is superior. And that might be true…
How can life be bad with the gentle rock of the waves as your base and a view of endless blue sea from your window?
But what if you’re a family of five? Can the boat life or boat vacation really be relaxing and enjoyable? We put the challenge to LeBoat, who specialise in boating holidays on the most stunning rivers, lakes and canals of Europe.
Here’s how we did it….
The Camargue, with an area of over 930 km2, is western Europe's largest river delta.
This natural wonderland is comprised of large lagoons, golden beaches, and reed-covered marshes teeming with life.
The Camargue is home to more than 400 species of birds and its brine ponds provide one of the few European habitats for the flamingo. The most famous residents are the Camargue’s wild horses who roam the extensive marshlands, along with Camargue cattle.
We started our adventure in the LeBoat base of Saint- Gilles, a lively town filled with bars and restaurants. We dined at local favorite Restaurant Le Cour.
This family owned hotel and restaurant caters to families ready to set sail and is highly recommended by locals and visitors alike.
As well as an extensive menu of fresh seafood and meats, the restaurant also offers local favorites like bull stew and fish soup. The friendly and informative staff helped make our last night on land enjoyable and tasty.
The next morning, registration was simple. LeBoat’s experts effortlessly guided us through the process of learning not only how to navigate the waterways but locate our points of interest along the way.
“If you can drive a car, you can drive this boat.”
Our Royal Classic boat accommodated six people and included air conditioning throughout, which on some August nights was truly appreciated.
The kids did a great job exploring our future home, running through the indoor and outdoor sitting areas, three private rooms (all with en suite bathrooms), and a fully equipped kitchen.
Boats are available to sleep anywhere from two to twelve people and include all you’ll need. You just need to show up!
Our family loved sailing through the canals, observing the ever-changing scenery and soaking in the peaceful atmosphere. However, the Camargue also contains some exciting destinations, which you don’t want to miss.
The Étang de Thau is a large salt-water lagoon. Big enough to simulate ocean style rough waters, you need to call ahead of time to make sure your boat can pass safely. After passing the bridge of Frontignan, which is raised only three times a day, the expansive open water awaits, granting you access to the spectacular ports of Sète and Bouzigues.
Beautiful Bouzigues is a picturesque port and harbour situated on the north side of the Étang de Thau. Its port gazes over miles of oyster beds. Clean facilities, friendly locals, and a dense medieval old town with narrow streets and pastel coloured houses made this one of our favorite overnight stays. It’s important to note, that the port is smaller than others and space is limited.
Sète has been called the Venice of Languedoc due to its expansive canal system. Check out the many museums dedicated to several famous French artists born in the city or take a hike up Mont Saint-Clair, reaching unbelievable panoramic views of the 175-metre summit.
If you’re a seafood lover then you’ve come to the right place. The Thau Lagoon harvests les coquillages: mussels, oysters, and clams. From the sea comes monkfish, cuttlefish, bream, squid and octopus - order anything you want from local restaurants in both ports and you won’t get a better seafood experience.
Miles of beautiful sand covered beaches stretch out like a golden ribbon along the Camargue providing a little piece of seaside heaven. Whether you hope to spend a lazy day lying under a parasol, splash in the ocean, participate in the many water sports available or just collect shells along the shoreline, 75 km of endless possibilities await you.
Looking for family friendly beach alternatives? Head to Palavas-les-Flots or la Grand-Motte which offers activities such as museums, mini golf, aquariums and horse riding for kids.
Our last stop before ending our trip was Aigue-Mortes. Docking was made easy as the port was rather large with plenty of spaces.
Once on land, we visited the local open-air market held every Sunday selling a variety of fresh produce, cheeses, meats and southern France specialties.
The city centre lies behind four rather imposing medieval walls but contains a lively town, full of shops, bars and restaurants. Although normally packed with tourists in summer, Aigue-Mortes still had enough charm to make it the perfect ending to our perfect trip.
#1 APP it out:
Planning the trip was simple thanks to the LeBoats app which uses Google Map technology that allows you to pinpoint exactly where you are and navigate to the next port.
#2 Pesky Predators:
The mosquitoes are notorious and can become a big problem. Make sure you pack some bug spray and Citronella candles to keep them away.
#3 From hot to cold:
Temperatures can vary from morning till night so plan for all eventualities. Pack swimwear AND a warm jumper.
#4 Access Ryanair:
Canal boat trips are easily accessed from the airports of Nimes, Nice and Marseille.
- Karyn and Olav