Travel challenge: A barge holiday in France

Every week, we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a specified holiday. Today: a barging holiday in France in late June. Prices are for two people travelling together.

Afloat in France by Orient-Express

£7,090: Napoléon, Provence

Departs 20 June and includes six nights' all-inclusive accommodation in a double cabin aboard the luxury staffed river cruiser, sightseeing excursions and return Eurostar/TGV travel from London St Pancras.

" Napoléon is one of Europe's finest river cruisers. Guests have the chance to sample some of the finest wines in France. During the course of a cruise, guests will sample over 24 different cheeses and over 20 different wines," says Anna Nash at Orient-Express (0845 077 22 22; orient-express.com ).

Minervois Cruisers

£1,295: self-drive canal boat, Meilhan, Gers

Departs 28 June and includes a week on a four-berth cruiser, fuel and bicycle hire. Travel to France is not included. "Guests save the best part of £400 on the list price on this holiday. Canal-boat holidays provide a wonderful, stress-free holiday experience, especially when cruising on the sun-kissed southern French inland waterways. Great Bordeaux wine, food and culture is never far away," says Jonathan Webster at Minervois Cruisers (01926 811842; minervoiscruisers.com ).

French Boat Holidays

£971: self-drive "Capri" boat, Castelnaudary, Canal du Midi

Departs 26 June and includes a week in a two-berth cruiser, plus damage waiver. "Follow in Rick Stein's wake on a great, easily managed cruiser for two people," says Paul Killeen of French Boat Holidays (01204 595222; frenchboatholidays.com ).

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