While the Canal de la Meuse takes you through the lush pastures and verdant countryside of Lorraine as far as Verdun, the River Meuse itself loops romantically into the tangled hills of the Ardennes whose forests act as a great lung for Europe.
Home of wild boar, roe-deer and some of France's rarest birds, the Ardennes forests also shelter in their protected wetlands such fancies as orchids and the fly-catching sundew.
At Sedan don't miss a visit to Europe's largest fortress, while you can discover all about marionnettes at Charleville-Mezieres, world capital of the art.
If you decide to head for Belgium, you'll be struck by the very special character of the villages and towns of the Ardennes.
Protected by the mountainous terrain they have acted as a natural line of defence and have been scarcely touched by successive wars.
Close to Givet you can admire the ruins of Charlemont Castle, founded by Charles V.
The grand mountain scenery leads on to Namur and Dinant, perhaps the most lively and fascinating towns of the Belgian Ardennes.
One week cruises from Pont-a-Bar
- Pont-a-Bar, Charleville, Mezieres, Revin, Fumay, Givet, Pont-a-Bar
187 km; 42 locks; 5hr15 cruising per day
- Pont-a-Bar, Sedan, Mouzon, Verdun, Pont-a-Bar
217 km; 46 locks; 5hr45 cruising per day
Two week cruise
- Pont-a-Bar, Charleville,Mezieres, Fumay, Dinant, Namur, Pont-a-Bar
286 km; 62 locks; 3hr45 cruising per day
Three week cruise
- Pont-a-Bar,Berry au Bac, Reims, Vitry le Francois, Bar le Duc, Commercy, Verdun, Sedan, Pont-a-Bar
553 km; 214 locks; 5hr30 cruising per day