On the rivers, the distances are marked with PK (points km), it's 1 kilometre between each PK. Distances along the canal are marked in the number of metres between two points (eg. 3,300 = 3 km and 300 m).
There are 3 types of locks in France:
Unmanned manual locks: You must operate the locks by hand.
Unmanned electronic locks: The locks are either activated from the boat using a remote control or by pulling down on a rope which is hanging by a wire across the canal. At some places you need to go to a control console on the banks of the lock.
Locks operated by a lockmaster: Lock fees are included in the rental price. If you’d like to show a little extra appreciation you can leave a small tip or buy a bit of the lockmaster’s home-grown products. The lockmaster’s responsibility is solely to operate the locks, NOT to assist you with the boat and ropes.
The locks are normally closed between 12:00 and 13:00. The locks will also be closed on fixed holidays such as Easter Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, May 1st, and the French National Day, July 14th.
Along the way, you'll see on the river card so-called "barages", which is the French word for weirs. This is an artificial small waterfall or further damming of the river on one side, often associated with a lock. They are marked on the map with a heavy black line, designed either partially into the river/canal, or where the river/canal running along with a side river. Keep clear of these, since the water flow here can be somewhat stronger, follow the fairway. Keep some speed on the boat so it does not drift with the current. Should the engine stop, throw an anchor out quickly.
You can moor anywhere along the banks, if you don’t disturb the general traffic or the visibility. On board the boat you’ll find pegs and a peg hammer – put a peg in the ground and tie the boat to this.
By the locks you’ll often find a small mooring spot. These are NOT for staying overnight but for boats waiting to pass through the lock. The mooring spot can be used for very short stop.
Many small towns have a small jetty with room for a few boats that you can use for free. If you want to stay in an actual port or marina, you’ll have to pay a small fee per night depending on size of your boat.
It may require a little more patience to find a good place on the rivers, as there may be too shallow or vegetated along the banks.
Keep in mind, that the rope is not tied to a tree or otherwise going to bother cyclists and walkers on the paths along the canals when the boat is moored in the open. There must be a clear path for everyone, including the service and emergency assistance can arrive.
Shop names to keep in mind:
BOULANGERIE (bakery), BOUCHERIE (butcher), ÉPICERIE (grocery store) og SUPERMARCHÉ (supermarket)
Besides, several cities have the "Le Cave" or "Caveaux ", which is a small wine shop where you can buy wine from the barrel. Own bottles can be filled up with a "vin de table" (mainly one surprisingly good "common wine") - and always at a very reasonable price!
The shops have many different opening hours, and many are closed on Mondays. Generally, the shops are closed for lunch between 12.00-14.30. Ask at the base upon arrival.
Most cities - even small ones - have a weekly market, which can be a veritable wonderland for the ship's cook! Fresh vegetables, delicious cheeses, fish, meat and wine can be purchased from local producers.