Above: The Belmond Hirondelle moored at Verdun-sur-le-Doubs

Exploring the backcountry of France counts among the great pleasures of life, and one of my favorite ways to do so is along the country’s extensive network of canals. Spending six nights aboard a converted 1920s-era cargo barge might sound like rather an ordeal, but in fact the best boats compare with any well-staffed luxury yacht.

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Above: The Belmond Hirondelle moored at Verdun-sur-le-Doubs

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