We booked our barge trip through Remote Odysseys Worldwide, Post Office Box 579, Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, 83816; 1-800-451-6034, fax 1-208-667-6506; www.rowinc.com. It offers rentals from three companies, Locaboat www.locaboat.com, which rents Penichettes, a traditional style small barge; and Crown Blue Line www.crown-blueline.com and Connoisseur www.hausboote.com, which use boats that are more like cabin cruisers. Besides France, barge trips are available in Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Scotland and Italy.
Rates (set in dollars) for all these are about $810 to $4,000 a week (the typical rental period), depending on the season, the size of the boat and what's included in the various packages (fuel, insurance, etc.). Two-bedroom barges cost $1,025 to $1,875 a week this year.