Want To Work On A Canal Cruise In France?

Updated: April 23, 2020 | By | More

Maybe you’re a student looking for something unusual to do this summer? Maybe you want to improve your French? Or maybe you just know that a life of the (not so) open waves is for you?

Canal Cruise in France
Photo by elegantfrenchcruises.com

There are many reasons why you might be considering working on a barge in France and luckily for you there are normally a bunch of job opportunities every year as the French canals are an increasingly popular destination for tourists from all over the world to vacation, as well as the French themselves.

What Jobs Are There?

A cruising barge is normally sold as a slice of luxury, a bit like a hotel, so there is a wide range of jobs you could do:

  • Captain, Deck Officer or Deck Hand
  • Mechanic or Bus Driver
  • Host, Steward, Tour guide, Translator or Cabin staff
  • Chef, Barman or Waiter

Depending on your strengths there is sure to be one of these roles that leaps out at you. If you’re good at steering boats and look good in uniform, you might be the perfect captain. If you speak French and English well, are charming as the day is long and know your way around the canals and nearby vineyards, you are a perfect host or tour guide. If you’re scared of water, you may have to settle for being a bus driver that meets the boat at its scheduled stops to take people to attractions and on excursions.

Where Do You Find These Jobs?

Any website or agency that recruits staff for airlines, ferries and cruise liners will normally have a section just for canal cruise staff. Online is the obvious choice and a minimal amount of searching will quickly offer you several places to register. (Crewconnected.com is a suggestion.)

Alternatively you could just travel to the place where you want to work from (e.g. the south of France) at the beginning of the summer season and look for a cruise barge. Introduce yourself and you might get lucky.

What Will The Work Be Like?

It depends what job you’re doing but if you are a steward or a barman you will find that you spend much of your time living on the boat, tending to the guests and generally making everyone happy. You won’t be working 24/7 though and you will have days to spend time on dry land. The scenery should be typically lovely and if you’re there in the height of summer you can expect to get a good tan.

Sound like a life for you?

Jean Gaul is a French river cruises veteran. He started with a short canal cruise vacation in Burgundy 10 years ago and is now captain and owns his own fleet of luxury barges.

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Category: France, Travel Tips

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