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Worried about crowded waterways and long lines of sightseers outside historic locations? There is a picturesque and relaxing way to beat overtourism blues: take to the canals of France.

There are over 90 canals and rivers winding their way through the provincial countryside and chic cities of of one of the world’s most beautiful countries, which include more than 41 UNESCO world heritage.

Take the famous Canal du Midi. It runs 240km from Toulouse to the Marseillan, and was considered one of the greatest pieces of construction works of the 17th century. From its banks you can see the Fonserannes Locks at Béziers, and the world’s first canal tunnel at Malpas.

Or how about the River Rhone? Can there is be a better way to explore the historic cities of Arles and Avignon, the Roman Theatre, the underground galleries and the Palais des Pape than from this iconic waterway.

And, of course, where there is water in France there is wine.

Step off your vessel to try premium Châteauneuf-du-Pape from top Rhone Valley vineyards or walk along Pont Saint- Bénézet, one of Avignon’s most iconic sites.
Known as the Port of the Moon, the crescent shape of River Garonne makes for a rare viewing point for the historical monuments found along the banks.

Bordeaux has the second largest number of UNESCO listed buildings in France, from river front mansions with Neo-classical facades to Place de la Bourse, And it is one of Frances premium wine regions.

The Loire is the longest river in France and offers the quiet serenity of the French countryside. Float between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire for the best historic monuments, French chateaus and the Garden of France.

The perfect view of Amboise Chateau can be found in the centre of the river. Dock at Orleans for a wander around the old quarter and visit the home of the world’s most famous woman, Joan of Arc.

And how do you access all of this amazing countryside and stunning heritage architecture without spending hours in a couch with dozens of selfie-snapping tourists?

You’ll be surprised –  Le Boat has been hiring out cruisers for over 50 years and offers a very different experience. Prices start at $1,206 for a seven-night cruise. And you get to be the captain.

www.leboat.com.au