Charles Timoney is an English writer, with a French wife, living in France.
After showing a group of friends the rowing boat he has spent the last six months building, Charles - possibly unwisely - accepts a challenge to travel the entire length of the River Seine from source to the sea, using the boat where he can, to discover the true France.
But it proves rather more difficult than he imagined. Not all of the Seine is navigable by rowing boat, so he sets sail into an unvarnished France on a variety of craft, hitching lifts in everything from a converted Parisian tourist boat to a sailing boat with no mast. He even tries out an amphibious vehicle.
Along the way he encounters Stèphane (a carp fisherman with a very strange habit), grapples with rapids and stubborn cattle, rescues a couple when their sailing dinghy capsizes, and discovers that rowing in the dark is more frightening than he first thought.
Written by Charles Timoney
Abridged by Libby Spurrier
Reader: Mark Heap
Producer: Joanna Green
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4.