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Three weeks on a canal boat in Alsace

For our first family holiday, we decided to rent a license-free boat with our one-year-old son and set off on an adventure on the canals of Alsace. Initially, we planned to follow the sauerkraut route, starting from Saverne, where we took possession of our canal boat, to reach Nancy via the Marne-Rhine Canal on the first leg. From there, we wanted to go up the Moselle to Metz, then to Konz. From Konz, we were supposed to go down the Saar to Sarreguemines, then we would take the coal canal.

After three days, we realised that this route was too ambitious for our crew of three. We then sailed an average of three to four hours a day, taking long lunch breaks and having enough time for excursions ashore with our son. In the end, we spent three wonderful weeks, sailing from Saverne to Saarlouis and then backtracking.

We opted for a license-free boat large enough for our three-week stay to avoid feeling claustrophobic. The Quattro Fly Green, 13 metres long, has a generous living space where our son could play. On the upper deck, we could barbecue, and there were even two air conditioners for hot days. Electricity supply was not a problem either; we only needed to recharge the batteries every two or three days without any issue. Overall, we felt very comfortable throughout the trip and had more than enough space. The Quattro Fly Green has two cabins at the front. A larger cabin would have been preferable to our needs, but it did not detract from this overall beautiful experience.


Day 1: Discovering the License-Free Boat in Saverne

Before taking over the boat, we started the day with a sightseeing tour of Saverne. Once we arrived at the Saverne base, all the features of the boat were explained to us in detail. We then did our shopping at the local supermarket as there are fewer options to stock up during the first stages of the boating holiday. In the evening, we enjoyed the beautiful sunset from our boat at the base marina.

Coucher de soleil Saverne



Day 2: From Saverne to Henridorff

From Saverne, we passed 13 locks and on to Henridorff, just before the inclined plane. There is a brewery right next to the canal and a docking and refueling station for our electric boat. We spent the night there and had dinner at the recommended Eclusiers brewery.

In the charming town of Lutzelbourg, we only had a short lunch break. We saved the visit to this charming Alsatian town and its castle for the return journey.



Day 3: From Henridorff to Houillons

Today, with a lunch break in Hesse (electric charging station available), we went to Houillons. We will not return to Hesse; the gravel surface of the port and a burnt bakery in the village were the only attractions. Only a bread machine is available on the pontoon. The Houillons port is not very welcoming either. Maybe the village is nicer. But we spent the night at the port's electric charging station.



Day 4: From Houillons to Mittersheim

Continuing with a lunch break in Albeschaux (electric charging station available) to Mittersheim. It was two good finds. The mooring location in Albeschaux is very natural, quiet, and shaded, and the port of Mittersheim is relatively new and lovingly landscaped. There is a small supermarket in the village that has everything a captain and crew need.



Day 5: From Mittersheim to Wittring

Today we sailed to Wittring via Harskirchen (last electric charging station), where we had lunch. We really liked the port of Sarralbe as it is relatively new. At first glance, the port of Wittring is managed by an association and is very well maintained. It has everything: water, electricity (normal, no charging station), and a highly recommended restaurant "Victoria" right next door. A short hike to the chapel led us to the hill opposite the port, offering a beautiful view of the village and the canal loop.



Day 6: From Wittring to Sarreguemines

We went directly from Wittring to Sarreguemines. The city's port is managed by the same association as Wittring's and is also lovingly maintained. Sarreguemines is definitely worth a visit and has all the shops you need; we particularly liked the cheese shop. There are also plenty of restaurants and bistros. The museum in the old stone mill for making stoneware is very beautiful. On-site, a large shaded garden with a café has been set up, where you can spend pleasant hours during the hot part of the day.



Day 7: From Sarreguemines to Grosbliederstroff

We continued to Grosbliederstroff, where a mooring dock is directly located in the park (no electricity or water). This idyllic setting is perfect for an end-of-day and overnight stay. In the village, there is a supermarket, two bakeries, and two butchers. Near the lock is a restaurant, and right next to the dock is a very nice café/bistro where you can also have dinner.



Day 8: From Grosbliederstroff to Saarbrücken

The goal of this stage was Saarbrücken. We spent two nights at the city's port because Saarbrücken is already worth a longer stay. Note that the charging stations only accept 1 euro coins.



Day 9: From Saarbrücken to Saarlouis

This stage took us to the northern-most point of our journey, Saarlouis. We also spent two nights at the city's jetty (no electricity, no water). From Saarlouis, we made two very nice day trips to the Saar loop and Saarburg by train. Saarlouis can be visited in an afternoon.

Of course, you can eat in Saarlouis, either in the city centre or directly at the jetty, in a Greek restaurant.

Bateau sans permis Alsace



Day 10: From Saarlouis to Völklingen

We started the return journey to Völklingen. The jetty (with electricity and water) is located directly next to the World Heritage site, the Völklingen Ironworks, which we of course visited.



Day 11: From Völklingen to Saarbrücken

After visiting the Völklingen Ironworks, we quickly returned to Saarbrücken Osthafen, a well-organized port with a harbor master, where there is also a self-service laundry. The city is logically a bit more difficult to reach from the secondary port than from the main port.



Days 12 & 13: From Saarbrücken to Hanweiler

Because we enjoyed it so much earlier during our boating holiday, we stopped again at Grosbliederstroff with its beautiful children's playground. We also made a little excursion to Kleinblittersdorf via the border bridge.

The next mooring was supposed to be in Hanweiler. But due to lack of space in the port, we returned to the familiar port of Wittring, where we immediately felt at ease.



Day 14: From Wittring to Sarralbe

This time, we chose Sarralbe as the destination for our fourteenth day. As it was cooler than on the outbound trip, the port was the right choice. With bakeries and bistros, Sarralbe also offers everything you need for dining.



Day 15: From Sarralbe to Albeschaux

As we liked the Albeschaux jetty very much, we spent the night there this time, ideal for getting away from the hustle and bustle of the cities.



Day 16: From Albeschaux to Xouaxange

With a short break in Gondrexange, which has a very good bakery, we stopped in Xouaxange. We found an idyllic jetty there that invites you to spend the night (without electricity or water).



Day 17: From Xouaxange to Lutzelbourg

For this penultimate stage, we chose Lutzelbourg, which had already enticed us previously. We crossed the two tunnels and the Arzviller lock again. We briefly stopped at the Eclusiers brewery and took a path along the abandoned lock staircase. Then we went to Lutzelbourg, a charming village in the Vosges. It is a must-stop!

There are plenty of mooring places, water, and electricity available. There are several dining options and a bakery. We also hiked to Lutzelbourg Castle and the "Rocher du Petit Moulin" viewpoint. From up there, you have a beautiful view of the valley and the village. Another benefit is that most of the trails are shaded by the forest.

Lutzelbourg castle



Day 18: From Lutzelbourg to Stambach

As we didn't want to spend the last night at the Saverne port again, we stopped at a rest area near Stambach (with an electric charging station). It's not very nice, and it's exposed to the sun, but it's so close to Saverne (1.5 hours) that we can be on time to return the boat to Saverne the next morning.



Day 19:

As all good things must come to an end, it's time for us to return to the Saverne base and return our canal boat. Thanks to the Saverne team for this comfortable boat and the welcome we received!


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