This week, we chat with International Living contributor Kevin McGoff about his passion for France and, more specifically, his love of traversing the country via its extensive network of navigable waterways.
Whether it’s a slow-paced getaway for just Kevin and his wife, Patty, or a more extensive trip with a group of friends, the rivers and canals of France open up a side of the country that’s often missed by visitors. A side where things are altogether more languid, where the slow filling and emptying of boat locks dictates the pace of travel, and where a shared glass of wine and conversation with the lock keeper is more important than deadlines or itinerary.
Making new friends, learning new skills, exploring an entirely different France than the one the highways bring you to—the boating experience offers a vast range of countryside, scenery, and historical perspective on life in the heart of rural Europe. Meeting experienced boaters, as well as complete novices, Kevin and Patty have racked up a wealth of anecdotes and memories, from watching the fall colors of the Burgundy forests to getting dug out of a mudbank by the French army.
‘I would say the relaxing mode of travel,’ says Kevin, explaining what he loves about boating in France. ‘You get into this rhythm where… I liken it to a beach vacation where you have something to do because it's not terribly taxing, but you have to keep alert. So you've got a challenge, if you will, of navigating the boat, navigating the locks…. And being out in the countryside on a nice day at the end of a maybe four or five-hour cruise. There's nothing like it.’
Join host, Jim Santos, as he meets Kevin McGoff in the latest episode of Bigger, Better World.
Read Kevin's full article in the June issue of the International Living Magazine: No Experience Required: Pilot a Boat on a French Canal.
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