Friday, January 2, 2015

France VNF vignette

For those cruising in France on their own vessel in 2015, it's time to think about ordering the vignette online.

For details go to:

Download the brochure (in French) which contains instructions for ordering online or at points of sale:

A discount of 17% is applied only on packages "Liberte" acquired by 31 March 2015. For packages "Liberte", the rates in year N are capped at 30% increase versus year N-1, for the same boat.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another reason to stop at Lyon

Adding to the already plentiful attractions at Lyon, France, the Musée des Confluences has recently opened. Located right at the narrow tip of the peninsula where the Rhone and Saone rivers merge, it is just a short walk from the Confluence Marina and the moorings along Quai Rambaud.

Read the entire article from the New York Times:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bought a Canal Boat!

I had an earlier version of your canal guide and somewhat recently bought your newer version. My wife and I devoured this info and we now have you to blame (or thank!) for our purchase of a boat!

We worked with the fine folks at H2O and settled on a well used ex-rental craft that we look forward to exploring France with.

We have lots to keep busy with here at home in Michigan, grand kids, etc. but still plan on spending 6-8 weeks in the spring and the same in the fall on the canals.

Thanks for all the great information you have put together, it really sparked our imaginations!

Best regards,


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

EuroCanals Guides Online Library revisions

I have just completed a major revision of the EuroCanals website, focusing on ease of use. Rather than the Online Libary index page containing forty small icons, there are now ten image links and six text links.
Click to view a demonstration page:

After a thorough review of readers' downloading habits, all canal or river guides for France have been consolidated into five regional guides. The images of these guides are intended to be large enough that a viewer can easily see which canals and rivers are included in that guide, then click on a selected image for download. The download system has also been changed, which allows much quicker downloading of a guide. The “EuroCanals Slideshows" image links to an index page from which you can select one of the available slideshows, viewed in a web browser.

In the coming months I intend to produce two regional guides for the Netherlands: “Heart of Holland” and “Friesland”. Slideshows for Southwestern France and Meuse canal/river are also coming soon.

However the primary winter-season project is to update and expand the Logs now shown on I have removed the logs from the PDF guides in the Online Library and will make all of those logs available on the Mobi website. If you are not familar with these logs, view a sample:

That page is in HTML language, so it is a single long page (8600 pixels vs 768 pixels on the EuroCanals Home page.) Scroll down to view all of it. It includes the map of that waterway, elevations, fuel locations and a km-by-km list of ports and locks, with details and comments. These log pages are much easier (and thus more likely) to keep updated throughout the year, even when I am traveling myself. I encourage user participation, to notify me of errors, omissions or new items.

The resources of the EuroCanals subscription should be used as partners; the Online Library is for planning, while the Mobi website should be used while cruising. The Online Library contains the full set of guides in PDF format while the Mobi website provides condensed data for viewing on tablets and smartphones, useful while cruising or for quicker access while at home. The Mobi website is optimized for tablets and smartphones but displays just as well on laptop and desktop computers, although it does look unusually large (not small, as one might expect) and thus very easy to read.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Reader review of "Massacre in the Seine"

Hello again Tom

It has taken me a bit longer than expected due to other commitments, but I finished "Massacre in the Seine" late last night - what a page turner!

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the book - it worked for me on multiple levels.

First, my great interest in European waterways (and French canals in particular) enhanced the reading experience as I could personally identify with some of the places encountered in your book.

Second, the plot was extremely well constructed with multiple twists and turns. The use of actual events, especially the Algerian situation, showed the quality of your research.

Thirdly, your writing style is compact and easy to follow. The excellent use of dialogue added greatly to developing your main characters.

Lastly, the book was very well paced. Even the quieter sections generated lots of interest, and as the climax built, it was riveting. Well done!

I hope you have another tale underway, or at least working on the screenplay for "Massacre". It would make a terrific movie.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

A ‘Cruising Thriller’ Novel by Tom Sommers

I am pleased to announce that, after 14 years of producing cruising guides for the waterways of Europe, I have now completed a novel, a virtual trip from Groningen, Netherlands, to the Mediterranean at Saintes Maries de la Mer and on to a destination at Toulouse. The book is written with my usual attention to accuracy of geography, history & place.

It's the story of Piet Roefs, a Dutchman has retired after 30 years on the Rotterdam Seaport Police and left a loveless marriage to seek a new life in the south of France. He travels on his Dutch tugboat from the far northern corner of the Netherlands south through Holland, Belgium, and France to the Med. He ends up in Toulouse, finding a new love, new friends and new experiences, but also becomes involved in a terrorist plot for revenge on the police of Paris.

Because of the French history that Piet learns about in Toulouse the novel is titled Massacre in the Seine and subtitled A Dutchman in Toulouse. You can view details of the book here:

Buyers will receive a copy signed by author if ordered from that web page. The book is also available in most countries on Amazon (paperback and Kindle versions) and Apple iBookstore; search by title or author.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Another Comment from a EuroCanals subscriber

Tom -

As someone who recently bought a canal boat and knows nothing about canal boating in Europe, I subscribed to your online library. Last night I spent about five hours reading about the Netherlands — where my boat is now — and parts of France. Your guides are providing me with exactly the kind of information that I've been looking for but not finding, or at least not finding in such a clear and understandable form, in other books on the subject. In particular, I love the suggested routes for each area, as they give order and clarity to what otherwise would be just be an overwhelming amount of information.

Thanks, Richard