Maks was the most excited about traveling by gondola in France. Every new mode of transport is an adventure for him, and a vision of living on a gondola or in a camper makes every trip a few times better. Or perhaps it was Łukasz who was even happier. He’s an unfulfilled sailor, who hasn’t sailed in a long time even though he used to enjoy it. I must admit I was curious but sceptical – can we do it? Will it be comfortable? Will kids, especially our 8 months old Jagoda, be ok? What about sleeping? Won’t traveling by boat be a little boring for a kid who’s becoming more and more active??? There were a lot of doubts, but our interest and excitement about something new, unusual, something we’ve never done was even bigger! We were supposed to get on a Le Boat gondola in Castelsarrasin, right after exploring Toulouse.
There are about 70 kilometers between Toulouse and Castelsarrasin – we left ‘pink city’, one hour has passed and there we were! Castelsarrasin is one of those places where Le Boat gondolas take off. But it’s just one example, because there are a looot of options that Le Boat offers in France. Occitania is one thing, but you can travel by gondola through Burgundy, Loire Valley, Brittany and other regions. Go HERE – there are so many options to choose from! And if you don’t like France, maybe you’ll enjoy Italy, Belgium, Germany, Ireland or Canada? 🙂 To be honest, I had no idea that so many places could be explored while on a boat – I never even thought about it!!! 🙂
It was beautiful and amazing in Occitania, but I think time spent on a boat was the biggest adventure for all of us! See what our trip was like – who knows, maybe it’s a great idea for your vacation too? 🙂
1) HOW DOES A GONDOLA LOOK?
Every doubt I had about sleeping and about space for children disappeared quicly when I saw our new ‘house’. A fair-sized bedroom with a big bed, two smaller bedrooms, with two beds in each. Big shared space, kitchen and 3 bathrooms. Two families could fit our gondola, each with one child, or 3 couples. Especially since we had a huuuuge table and a few chairs upstairs – perfect place for long dinners and mornings with French baguettes! We chose the big bedroom with Jagoda, and Maks picked one with two smaller beds and private bathroom and unpacked all of his toys and gadgets there… only to come to our bed in the morning, of course.
Three days on a gondola were nice and we felt comfortable. Even small bathrooms and kitchen didn’t seem to bother us, because time spent on the water and dinners in the port were the best prize!
Problems? There was one – no AC combined with 100 degrees outside made it reaaaaally hot. Both on the deck, where we felt like on a frying pan, and inside, where I tried to hide Jagoda from the sun. We tried to leave the boat and stay in the shadow during the hottest hours, though.
2) DO YOU NEED SPECIAL QUALIFICATIONS TO TRAVEL BY BOAT?
Technically, Le Boat doesn’t need any qualifications from you. Łukasz says that it would be good if at least one person on a boat had some basic knowledge about sailing, though. Steering the boat through canals wasn’t that easy for him, someone who used to sail a lot. I didn’t even try, cause I had to take care of two children. One of them needs to be taken care of non stop if it’s not sleeping and you’re on a boat 🙂
3) IS GONDOLA A GOOD IDEA FOR CHILDREN?
It worked well for us during those three days. I think it would have been okay if we chose a seven day cruise too. But 14 days? I would consider it twice. It might be ok if you have two self-reliant kids. With Jagoda, who is always doing something while traveling, the trip wasn’t that relaxing for me – my dream of “just doing nothing but sunbathing” was never going to come true 🙂 I suppose it would be easier with kids a little bit older than ours!
One thing I know for sure – Maks was happy, because it’s a great attraction for kids! He wanted to sail, to help his daddy, he made breakfasts. The boat was an adventure as big as living in a camper!
4) WHAT CAN YOU SEE?
It depends on the route. We mixed traveling by boat with traveling by car. If you have time, you should just go from one town to another, spend a few hours or a night in cooler places, such as Moissac. You can stop in some wild place too, but we happened to test it and I don’t recommend it, unless you want to sleep somewhere where no one can be found and where it’s so dark you can’t see your own boat. We did it on accident – we didn’t know that floodgates were locked at 7 PM 🙂 You need to check it before traveling 🙂
5) WHAT DID WE LIKE THE MOST?
Beautiful views on our route, the sun and wind in our hair when we were traveling from Castelsarrasin to Moissac. Awesome breakfasts and dinners on a boat, with fresh baguette straight from local boulangerie, and treats bought at a market in Moissac. No need to look for hotels in different towns, because we had our swimming house. Restaurants nearby harbours, like delicious Bistrot Constant in Montech. Maks enjoying his new house-boat. Breakfasts he made. Harbours full of boats. Evenings when it got a little colder! There was just so much! 🙂 We need to do it again!
So? Who feels like getting on a boat now? 🙂 Or maybe you already have some experience? Share them with us! 🙂
*We got to explore Occitania at Occitania / Pyrenees-Mediterranean Tourist Board‘s invitation, and our boat adventure was possible thanks to Le Boat